Implications of treating parasitic infection in northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) on overall helminth life cycle

Hannah N. Suber, Jeremiah Leach, Katelyn A. Conley, Regan Rivera, James Surles, Ronald Kendall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study was conducted to determine how reducing the parasite burden in a definitive host may affect the prevalence in intermediate hosts. Here we used the eyeworm Oxyspirura petrowi and cecal worm Aulonocephalus pennula as model species. Northern bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus) were provided an anthelmintic medicated feed in wild systems because of convincing evidence that these parasites were suppressing their populations. Eyeworm and cecal worm prevalence were measured in Orthopterans, which act as intermediate hosts, using polymerase chain reaction. Individuals were collected from a control site, a site treated for 2 yr, and a site treated for 5 yr. Orthopteran community composition was significantly different among the sites; however, an interaction between subfamily and site was not significant for the eyeworm. There was a significant reduction in eyeworm-infected Orthopterans on the 5-yr site compared with the other 2, suggesting that treatment of a definitive host may indeed affect the prevalence of eyeworms during other life-cycle stages. There was an interaction between the Orthopteran subfamily and the site for the cecal worm, so results were analyzed within each subfamily. A significant reduction in the prevalence of cecal worms was only found in the Cyrtacanthacridinae subfamily on the 5-yr site when compared with the other sites. However, the greatest prevalence in the Gomphocerinae and Oedipodinae subfamilies across all 3 sites was 4.1%. This indicates an unknown degree of cecal worm host specificity. Therefore, conclusions could not be made through the simple assessment of prevalence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Parasitology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 18 2024


  • Aulonocephalus pennula
  • Cecal worm
  • Conservation
  • Eyeworm
  • Helminths
  • Insect host
  • Intermediate host
  • Nematode epidemiology
  • Northern bobwhite
  • Orthoptera
  • Oxyspirura petrowi
  • PCR


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