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Vet Parasitol. 2013 Oct 18;197(1-2):74-84. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2013.04.025. Epub 2013 Apr 21.

The pathology and pathogenicity of a novel Haemoproteus spp. infection in wild Little Penguins (Eudyptula minor).

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School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, Murdoch University, South Street, Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia.

Erratum in

  • Vet Parasitol. 2014 Sep 15;205(1-2):416.


One hundred and thirty four Little Penguin (Eudyptula minor) carcases found since 2004 in south west Australia were necropsied. The livers and spleens from ten of the penguins exhibited varying degrees of multifocal, randomly scattered areas of necrosis and varying numbers of parasites were associated with these areas. Hepatomegaly and splenomegaly were noted in many of these ten cases. Necrosis and parasites were also observed in the cardiac muscle of four of the cases and in the lung tissue in one of the penguins. Using PCR, the parasites were positively identified in four of the cases as Haemoproteus spp. and morphologically identical tissue stage parasites associated with histopathological changes were observed in all ten dead penguins. This is the first study to demonstrate both the in situ presence of the Haemoproteus parasite in any member of the Sphensicidae family and mortality due to its presence. We postulate the involvement of anomalous environmental conditions in a potential increase in local vectors.


Haemoproteus; Haemosporidian parasites; Little Penguins; Wildlife

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