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Does haemosporidian infection affect hematological and biochemical profiles of the endangered Black-fronted piping-guan (Aburria jacutinga)?

Author(s): Rafael Otávio Cançado Motta | Marcus Vinícius Romero Marques | Francisco Carlos Ferreira Junior | Danielle de Assis Andery | Rodrigo Santos Horta | Renata Barbosa Peixoto | Gustavo Augusto Lacorte | Patrícia de Abreu Moreira | Fabíola de Oliveira Paes Leme | Marília Martins Melo | Nelson Rodrigo da Silva Martins | Érika Martins Braga

Journal: PeerJ
ISSN 2167-8359

Volume: 1;
Start page: e45;
Date: 2013;
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Keywords: Avian malaria | Plasmodium | Haemoproteus | Captive | Conservation

Infectious diseases can cause deleterious effects on bird species, leading to population decline and extinction. Haemosporidia can be recognized by their negative effects on host fitness, including reproductive success and immune responses. In captivity, outbreaks of haemosporidian infection have been observed in birds in zoos and aviaries. The endemic Brazilian Atlantic rainforest species Aburria jacutinga is one of the most endangered species in the Cracidae family, and wild populations of this species are currently found mainly in conservation areas in only two Brazilian states. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the effects of avian haemosporidia on hematological and biochemical parameters in two captive populations of A. jacutinga. Forty-two animals were assessed, and the haemosporidian prevalence was similar for males and females. The occurrence of haemosporidian infection in captive A. jacutinga observed in this study was similar to results found in other captive and wild birds in Brazil. We found three different lineages of haemosporidia. Two lineages were identified as Plasmodium sp., one of which was previously detected in Europe and Asia, and the other is a new lineage closely related to P. gallinaceum. A new third lineage was identified as Haemoproteus sp. We found no significant differences in hematological and biochemical values between infected and non-infected birds, and the haemosporidian lineage did not seem to have an impact on the clinical and physiological parameters of A. jacutinga. This is the first report on an evaluation of natural haemosporidian infections diagnosed by microscopic and molecular methods in A. jacutinga by hematology, blood biochemistry, and serum protein values. Determining physiological parameters, occurrence and an estimation of the impact of haemosporidia in endangered avian species may contribute to the management of species rehabilitation and conservation.

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