The northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) and scaled quail (Callipepla squamata) are in decline across their ranges in Texas. The cause of these declines has long been thought to be habitat loss and fragmentation. However, there is speculation that factors such as parasites may play a role in the decline of bobwhite populations. South Texas, a region with some of the highest bobwhite densities in the state, has had limited studies on quail parasites. The objective of this study was to determine relationships of helminth infections to host age, sex, mass, and season of collection. Nine helminth species were documented in bobwhites (n = 209) and 7 in scaled quail (n = 23). The cecal nematode Auloncephalus pennula was numerically dominant and had the greatest prevalence, abundance, and intensity in bobwhites and scaled quail. The prevalence and abundance of A. pennula was higher in adult bobwhites than juveniles. The abundance of A. pennula was also higher in bobwhites with greater mass within each age cohort. Host sex was not a significant factor. Prevalence of A. pennula was higher during the 2012– 2013 hunting season than the 2013–2014 season. This research provides insight regarding helminth infections in quails from South Texas.
January 13, 2017
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