Regional surveillance and seasonal variation of eyeworm (Oxyspirura petrowi) and caecal worm (Aulonocephalus pennula) infection in northern bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus) of Rolling Plains, TX



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The northern bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus) has declined throughout its native range. As a highly popular gamebird, this has concerned many avid hunters and wildlife enthusiasts. The Rolling Plains Ecoregion of Texas, considered a stronghold of bobwhite, has also experienced this decline. While the decline in this Ecoregion has been attributed to habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, and land use, there is also now the concern of parasites as another variable with the widespread prevalence of the eyeworm (Oxyspirura petrowi) and caecal worm (Aulonocephalus pennula) in bobwhite. The high persistence of these parasites has generated studies focusing on examination of their prevalence, pathology, and phenology. However, little is known about the factors influencing their infection dynamics among bobwhite throughout the Rolling Plains. In order to assess infection of eyeworm and caecal worm in bobwhite populations at a regional level, a surveillance system is necessary to allow detection of infection of eyeworm and caecal worm while simultaneously monitoring possible factors influencing infection dynamics. To accomplish this, my research objectives include 1) develop and optimize a mobile research laboratory platform that allows for nonlethal detection of eyeworm and caecal worm infection of bobwhite populations throughout the Rolling Plains and 2) assess eyeworm and caecal worm intensity and reproduction in bobwhite in response to temperature and precipitation.

This thesis won 2nd Place in the Texas Tech University Outstanding Thesis and Dissertation Award, Biological Life Sciences, 2019.

Embargo status: Restricted until June 2024. To request an access exception from the author, click on the PDF link to the left.



Bobwhite, Caecal, Eyeworm, Parasite, Surveillance, qPCR