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Comparison of blood values and health status of Floreana Mockingbirds (Mimus trifasciatus) on the islands of Champion and Gardner-by-Floreana, Galapagos Islands


Deem, S L; Parker, P G; Cruz, M B; Merkel, J; Hoeck, P E A (2011). Comparison of blood values and health status of Floreana Mockingbirds (Mimus trifasciatus) on the islands of Champion and Gardner-by-Floreana, Galapagos Islands. Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 47(1):94-106.

Abstract

The Floreana Mockingbird (Mimus trifasciatus) is one of the rarest bird species in the world, with an estimated 550 individuals remaining on two rocky islets off the coast of Floreana, Galapagos, Ecuador, from which the main population was extirpated more than 100 yr ago. Because they have been listed in critical danger of extinction, a plan to reintroduce this species to Floreana has been initiated. Determining the health status of the source mockingbird populations is a top priority within the reintroduction plan. We report the health status, over the course of 4 yr, of 75 Floreana Mockingbirds on Champion Island and 160 Floreana Mockingbirds on Gardner-by-Floreana, based on physical examinations, hematology, hemolysis hemagglutination assay, exposure to selected infectious disease agents, and ecto- and endoparasite counts. Birds on Gardner-by-Floreana had higher body condition index scores, packed cell volumes, total solids, and lymphocyte counts. Additionally, Gardner-by-Floreana birds had lower heterophil counts, eosinophil counts, and heterophil:lymphocyte ratios. No Chlamydophila psittaci DNA or antibodies to paramyxovirus-I, adenovirus-II, or Mycoplasma gallisepticum were found in any of the mockingbirds tested. Ectoparasites were present on birds from both islands, although species varied between islands. A coccidian species was found in eight of the 45 fecal samples from birds on Gardner-by-Floreana, but none of 33 birds examined from Champion. Birds on Gardner-by-Floreana were classified as healthier than those on Champion based on clinical and laboratory findings. These health data will be analyzed in conjunction with genetics, population structure, and disease presence on Floreana for developing recommendations for the Floreana Mockingbird reintroduction plan.

Abstract

The Floreana Mockingbird (Mimus trifasciatus) is one of the rarest bird species in the world, with an estimated 550 individuals remaining on two rocky islets off the coast of Floreana, Galapagos, Ecuador, from which the main population was extirpated more than 100 yr ago. Because they have been listed in critical danger of extinction, a plan to reintroduce this species to Floreana has been initiated. Determining the health status of the source mockingbird populations is a top priority within the reintroduction plan. We report the health status, over the course of 4 yr, of 75 Floreana Mockingbirds on Champion Island and 160 Floreana Mockingbirds on Gardner-by-Floreana, based on physical examinations, hematology, hemolysis hemagglutination assay, exposure to selected infectious disease agents, and ecto- and endoparasite counts. Birds on Gardner-by-Floreana had higher body condition index scores, packed cell volumes, total solids, and lymphocyte counts. Additionally, Gardner-by-Floreana birds had lower heterophil counts, eosinophil counts, and heterophil:lymphocyte ratios. No Chlamydophila psittaci DNA or antibodies to paramyxovirus-I, adenovirus-II, or Mycoplasma gallisepticum were found in any of the mockingbirds tested. Ectoparasites were present on birds from both islands, although species varied between islands. A coccidian species was found in eight of the 45 fecal samples from birds on Gardner-by-Floreana, but none of 33 birds examined from Champion. Birds on Gardner-by-Floreana were classified as healthier than those on Champion based on clinical and laboratory findings. These health data will be analyzed in conjunction with genetics, population structure, and disease presence on Floreana for developing recommendations for the Floreana Mockingbird reintroduction plan.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:18 Nov 2011 10:02
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:06
Publisher:Wildlife Disease Association
ISSN:0090-3558
Official URL:http://www.jwildlifedis.org/content/47/1/94.full
Other Identification Number:ISI:000287280200010

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