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Gastrointestinal parasites in Chinstrap Penguins from Deception Island, South Shetlands, Antarctica


Knowledge about parasites of Antarctic birds is fragmented and scarce. The aim of this work is to contribute to the knowledge of gastrointestinal parasites of the Chinstrap Penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica) from Deception Island (South Shetlands, Antarctica). Gastrointestinal tracts of 64 fresh dead individuals (61 chicks and three adults) were collected from December 2006 to February 2009 and examined for macroparasites. Three adult parasite species were found: two Cestoda species (Parorchites zederi and Tetrabothrius pauliani) and one Nematoda species (Stegophorus macronectes). Also, immature acanthocephalans (Corynosoma sp.) were found in one penguin. The low parasite richness observed could be related to the stenophagic and pelagic diet of the host species. False negatives were found in coprological studies.

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This study has been funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation projects CGL2004-01348, POL2006-05175, and CGL2007-60369 and by the European Regional Development Fund. VV was supported by a Ph.D. grant from the Spanish Council of Scientific Research and the European Social Fund (JAEPre08-01053). MJP was supported by a Ph.D. grant from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (BES2005-8465). JID is partially supported by PICT309 and N628. We would like to thank the Spanish Antarctic Research base “Gabriel de Castilla,” the Spanish Polar Ship “Las Palmas,” the Argentinean Antarctic Institute and the Maritime Technology Unit (UTM-CSIC) for both logistical support and transport. Thanks also to Lucas Garbin for the English revision of the manuscript. Permission to work in the study area and to collect samples was given by the Spanish Polar Committee. This is a contribution to the International Polar Year project 172 BirdHealth and to the PINGUCLIM project. We also thank an anonymous referee who made helpful suggestions that very much improved an earlier version of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to V. Vidal.

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Vidal, V., Ortiz, J., Diaz, J.I. et al. Gastrointestinal parasites in Chinstrap Penguins from Deception Island, South Shetlands, Antarctica. Parasitol Res 111, 723–727 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00436-012-2892-z

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  • Parasite Species
  • Prevalent Parasite
  • South Shetland Island
  • Gastrointestinal Parasite
  • Chinstrap Penguin