Birds

Exotic Bird Flukes

In concert with the Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center and the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Texas A&M University, my lab is collaborating with zoos and other bird holding facilities worldwide to study problematic parasite species that infect the livers (dicrocoeliids), lungs, and body cavities (cyclocoelids) of birds. These flukes appear to be accidentally introduced through newly-acquired birds to many aviaries and bird breeding facilities around the globe. These invasive cyclocoelids and potentially invasive dicrocoeliids have established their life cycles and now are resulting in many health problems, including high death rates, among the resident bird populations in these facilities. We have developed a fully illustrated guide to assist veterinarians at bird holding facilities to detect, monitor, and design control measures for invasive problem species of parasites that is being piloted at Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, USA. My lab is also working with the Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center to determine the complete life cycles of these flukes, study their histopathology, and provide background information for the development of possible detection methods and facilitate the design of better control measures. Additionally, we are interested in the biodiversity and zoogeography of helminthic bird endoparasites worldwide, including species of cyclocoelids and dicrocoeliids.

List of Bird Species Affected:

Bearded Barbet, Grey-winged Trumpeter, Indian Hill Myna, White-necked Myna, Blue-crowned Motmot, Fairy Bluebird, Abyssinian Woodpecker Toucan, Hornbill Trumpeter & Green Aracari

Selected publications and abstracts from this project:

  1. Dronen, N. O., T. Craig and K. Gamble. 2014. Detection of cyclocoelids in their molluscan hosts in bird holding facilities. Book: technical manual being used at Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago and will be distributed to more zoos and bird breeding facilities when new edition finished.
  2. Dronen, N. O. 2014. Detection of cyclocoelid and dicrocoeliid intra-molluscan stages in terrestrial snails from bird holding facilities. Presented at the Schubot Exotic Bird Foundation Annual Meeting, College Station, Texas, March 2014.
  3. Dronen, N. O., E. C. Greiner, D. M. Ialeggio, and T. J. Nolan, 2009. Circumvitellatrema momota gen., n. sp. (Digenea: Cyclocoelidae: Cyclocoelinae) from a captive-hatched blue-crowned motmot, Momotus momota (Momotidae), being maintained in quarantine at the Animal Health Center of the Philadelphia Zoo in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. Zootaxa. 2161: 60–68.
  4. Hammond, E. H., D. Zimmerman, D. Reavill, B. Okimoto, E. Greiner, T. M. Craig, and N. O. Dronen. 2007. More than just a fluke: is the air sac trematode (Family Cyclocoelidae) more prevalent in zoological aviaries than previously thought? Presented at the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Annual Meeting, Knoxville, Tennessee, October 2007.

For more publications, please visit the publications tab.

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Funded by the Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center.

 

 

 

Texas Gulf Coast Birds

My laboratory has maintained a long, extensive interest in the parasites of birds, particularly those species that frequent aquatic habitats. Our studies have encompassed biogeography, systematics and taxonomy, parasite comparative development, parasite life cycles and epidemiology, ecology, community structure, trophic structure utilization by helminthic parasites, and genetics. We have produced significant additions, taxonomic changes and larger-scale revisions of many trematode taxa (e.g., Cyclcoelidae; Dicrocoelidae; Diplostomatidae; Echinostomatidae; Philophthalmidae), and continue these dynamic studies today.

List of Bird Species Studied:

Roseate Spoonbill, White Pelican, Brown Pelican, Little Blue Heron, White Ibis, Long-billed Curlew, Willet, Clapper Rail, Double-crested Cormorant, Black-neck Stilt, American Oystercatcher, Mottled Duck, Northern Gannet, Royal Tern & Wilson’s Snipe (formerly Common Snipe)

Selected publications and abstracts from this project:

  1. Dronen, N. O. 2014. Key to the species of Athesmia Loss, 1899 (Digenea: Dicrocoeliidae), with the description of a new species from the clapper Rail, Rallus longirostris Boddaert (Guiformes: Rallidae) from Galveston, Texas, U.S.A. Zootaxa. 3815, 342–352.
  2. D’Amelio, S., S. Cavallero, N. O. Dronen, N. B. Barros and L. Paggi. 2012. Two new species of Contracaecum Railliet & Henry (Nematoda:Anisakidae), Contracaecum fagerholmi n. sp. and Contracaecum rudolphii F from the brown pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, from the northern Gulf of Mexico. Systematic Parasitology, 81:1–16.
  3. Dronen, N. O. 2009. Austrodiplostomum ostrowskiae n. sp. (Digenea: Diplostomidae: Diplostominae) from the double-crested cormorant, Phalacrocorax auritus (Phalacrocoracidae) from the Galveston Texas area of the Gulf of Mexico, U.S.A. Comparative Parasitology 76: 34–39.
  4. Dronen, N. O., J. E. Badley, M. R. Tehrany , and W. J. Wardle. 1998. Endocotyle bushi (Trematoda: Microphallidae) from willets, Catoptrophorus semipalmatus from Galveston, Texas. Journal of Parasitology. 84: 1278–1279.
  5. Dronen, N. O., G. G. Schmidt, B. Allison, and J. W. Mellen. 1988. Some parasitic helminths from the American oystercatcher, Haematopus palliatus from the Texas gulf coast and the common pied oystercatcher, H. ostralegus from New Zealand, including Dildotaenia macroovarium gen. et. sp. n. (Cestoda: Hymenolepididae). Journal of Parasitology.887 74: 864–887.
  6. Dronen, N. O. and J. E. Badley. 1979. Helminths of shorebirds from the Texas gulf coast. I. Digenea from the long-billed curlew, Numineus americanus. Journal of Parasitology 65: 645–649.

For more publications, please visit the publications tab.

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Funded by the Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center.

 

 

 

Attwater’s Prairie Chicken

In keeping with the lab’s interest in the parasites of endangered and threatened host species, we have previously worked with other professors in the Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences Department to study diseases and parasites of many bird species, including the endangered Attwater’s Prairie Chicken. This particular project is considered complete, however if you are interested in a new collaboration, please contact me.

Selected publications and abstracts from this project:

  1. Purvis, J. R., M. J. Peterson, N. O. Dronen, J. R. Lichtenfels, T. L. Lester, and N. J. Silvy. 1997. Northern bobwhites as disease reservoirs for the Attwater’s prairie chicken. Journal of Wildlife Diseases. 34: 348–354.
  2. Peterson, M. J., J. R. Purvis, N. O. Dronen, N. J. Silvy, T. M. Craig, and J. R. Lichtenfels. 1997. Serologic and parasitologic survey of the endangered Attwater’s prairie chicken. Journal of Wildlife Diseases. 34: 137–144.
  3. Purvis, J. R., M. J. Peterson, N. O. Dronen, and N. J. Silvy. 1995. Geese and quail as disease reservoirs for the Attwater’s prairie chicken. Presented at the South Dakota Chapter of the Wildlife Society Annual Meeting, Pierre, South Dakota, March 1995.
  4. Purvis, J. R., N. O. Dronen, M. J. Peterson, and N. J. Silvy. 1994. Disease/parasitism and the Attwater’s prairie chicken. Presented at the Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society Annual Meeting, Nacogdoches, Texas, February 1994.

For more publications, please visit the publications tab.

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