Obliterative endophlebitis in mute swans (Cygnus olor) caused by Trichobilharzia sp. (Digenea: Schistosomatidae) infection.
Schistosome infections in mammals cause chronic proliferative vascular lesions associated with the presence of adult parasites in the lumen of mesenteric and portal veins. In birds, however, this has never been reported. In this study, we found obliterative endophlebitis associated with the presence of adult schistosomes (Trichobilharzia sp., probably Trichobilharzia filiformis) as the main pathologic finding in five of eight mute swans (Cygnus olor). On histologic examination, the intestinal and portal veins of these swans showed moderate to severe, diffuse, hyperplastic endophlebitis, characterized by myointimal hyperplasia, often with obliteration of the vascular lumen. In addition, moderate to severe lymphocytic and granulocytic enteritis occurred in all eight swans associated with the presence of schistosome eggs in the intestinal mucosa. Other findings included hepatic and splenic hemosiderosis and high hepatic copper levels. The vascular lesions associated with Trichobilharzia sp. infection may have contributed to the emaciation and death of those mute swans by obstruction of venous return in the intestinal and portal veins. (+info)
Identification and characterization of avihepadnaviruses isolated from exotic anseriformes maintained in captivity.
Five new hepadnaviruses were cloned from exotic ducks and geese, including the Chiloe wigeon, mandarin duck, puna teal, Orinoco sheldgoose, and ashy-headed sheldgoose. Sequence comparisons revealed that all but the mandarin duck viruses were closely related to existing isolates of duck hepatitis B virus (DHBV), while mandarin duck virus clones were closely related to Ross goose hepatitis B virus. Nonetheless, the S protein, core protein, and functional domains of the Pol protein were highly conserved in all of the new isolates. The Chiloe wigeon and puna teal hepatitis B viruses, the two new isolates most closely related to DHBV, also lacked an AUG start codon at the beginning of their X open reading frame (ORF). But as previously reported for the heron, Ross goose, and stork hepatitis B viruses, an AUG codon was found near the beginning of the X ORF of the mandarin duck, Orinoco, and ashy-headed sheldgoose viruses. In all of the new isolates, the X ORF ended with a stop codon at the same position. All of the cloned viruses replicated when transfected into the LMH line of chicken hepatoma cells. Significant differences between the new isolates and between these and previously reported isolates were detected in the pre-S domain of the viral envelope protein, which is believed to determine viral host range. Despite this, all of the new isolates were infectious for primary cultures of Pekin duck hepatocytes, and infectivity in young Pekin ducks was demonstrated for all but the ashy-headed sheldgoose isolate. (+info)
Surveillance of amyloidosis and other diseases at necropsy in captive trumpeter swans (Cygnus buccinator).
The purpose of this study was to characterize the incidence and diagnostic features of amyloidosis and other diseases found at necropsy in captive trumpeter swans (Cygnus buccinator). A search of Iowa State University's Department of Veterinary Pathology and Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory databases yielded 31 trumpeter swan (C. buccinator) necropsy cases from captive swans in protected habitats. Eleven of the 31 birds had amyloid deposition most commonly in the spleen (8 of 11), liver (7 of 11), and kidney (6 of 11) and less often in the pancreas (2 of 11) and adrenal gland (2 of 11). Amyloid deposition effaced normal tissue with adjacent necrosis and hemorrhage in severe cases. Amyloidosis was most often diagnosed in February and March. Other disease diagnoses in the trumpeter swans included aspergillosis (5 of 31, 16%); bacterial infection (5 of 31, 16%); lead toxicosis (3 of 31, 10%); gout (2 of 31, 6%); parasitic infection (2 of 31, 6%); vitamin E deficiency (1 of 31, 3%); trauma (1 of 31, 3%); and ventricular foreign body (1 of 31, 3%). Histopathologic, toxicologic, and microbiologic analyses did not define an etiologic diagnosis in the deaths of 9 trumpeter swans. In these cases, necropsy lesions included emaciation (5 of 9), enteritis (1 of 9), pulmonary hemorrhage (1 of 9), and no lesions (3 of 9). The number of trumpeter swan case submissions was greatest in January and February. This study provides a reference for veterinary diagnosticians concerning incidence and diagnostic features of amyloidosis and other diseases in captive trumpeter swans of the midwestern United States. (+info)
Cost of reproduction in a long-lived bird: incubation effort reduces immune function and future reproduction.
Life-history theory predicts that increased current reproductive effort should lead to a fitness cost. This cost of reproduction may be observed as reduced survival or future reproduction, and may be caused by temporal suppression of immune function in stressed or hard-working individuals. In birds, consideration of the costs of incubating eggs has largely been neglected in favour of the costs of brood rearing. We manipulated incubation demand in two breeding seasons (2000 and 2001) in female common eiders (Somateria mollissima) by creating clutches of three and six eggs (natural range 3-6 eggs). The common eider is a long-lived sea-duck where females do not eat during the incubation period. Mass loss increased and immune function (lymphocyte levels and specific antibody response to the non-pathogenic antigens diphtheria and tetanus toxoid) was reduced in females incubating large clutches. The increased incubation effort among females assigned to large incubation demand did not lead to adverse effects on current reproduction or return rate in the next breeding season. However, large incubation demand resulted in long-term fitness costs through reduced fecundity the year after manipulation. Our data show that in eiders, a long-lived species, the cost of high incubation demand is paid in the currency of reduced future fecundity, possibly mediated by reduced immune function. (+info)
Age-dependent genetic variance in a life-history trait in the mute swan.
Genetic variance in characters under natural selection in natural populations determines the way those populations respond to that selection. Whether populations show temporal and/or spatial constancy in patterns of genetic variance and covariance is regularly considered, as this will determine whether selection responses are constant over space and time. Much less often considered is whether characters show differing amounts of genetic variance over the life-history of individuals. Such age-specific variation, if present, has important potential consequences for the force of natural selection and for understanding the causes of variation in quantitative characters. Using data from a long-term study of the mute swan Cygnus olor, we report the partitioning of phenotypic variance in timing of breeding (subject to strong natural selection) into component parts over 12 different age classes. We show that the additive genetic variance and heritability of this trait are strongly age-dependent, with higher additive genetic variance present in young and, particularly, old birds, but little evidence of any genetic variance for birds of intermediate ages. These results demonstrate that age can have a very important influence on the components of variation of characters in natural populations, and consequently that separate age classes cannot be assumed to be equivalent, either with respect to their evolutionary potential or response. (+info)
Quantitative genetics of age at reproduction in wild swans: support for antagonistic pleiotropy models of senescence.
Why do individuals stop reproducing after a certain age, and how is this age determined? The antagonistic pleiotropy theory for the evolution of senescence predicts that increased early-life performance should be accompanied by earlier (or faster) senescence. Hence, an individual that has started to breed early should also lose its reproductive capacities early. We investigate here the relationship between age at first reproduction (AFR) and age at last reproduction (ALR) in a free-ranging mute swan (Cygnus olor) population monitored for 36 years. Using multivariate analyses on the longitudinal data, we show that both traits are strongly selected in opposite directions. Analysis of the phenotypic covariance between these characters shows that individuals vary in their inherent quality, such that some individuals have earlier AFR and later ALR than expected. Quantitative genetic pedigree analyses show that both traits possess additive genetic variance but also that AFR and ALR are positively genetically correlated. Hence, although both traits display heritable variation and are under opposing directional selection, their evolution is constrained by a strong evolutionary tradeoff. These results are consistent with the theory that increased early-life performance comes with faster senescence because of genetic tradeoffs. (+info)
Identification of a novel bile acid in swans, tree ducks, and geese: 3alpha,7alpha,15alpha-trihydroxy-5beta-cholan-24-oic acid.
By HPLC, a taurine-conjugated bile acid with a retention time different from that of taurocholate was found to be present in the bile of the black-necked swan, Cygnus melanocoryphus. The bile acid was isolated and its structure, established by (1)H and (13)C NMR and mass spectrometry, was that of the taurine N-acyl amidate of 3alpha,7alpha,15alpha-trihydroxy-5beta-cholan-24-oic acid. The compound was shown to have chromatographic and spectroscopic properties that were identical to those of the taurine conjugate of authentic 3alpha,7alpha,15alpha-trihydroxy-5beta-cholan-24-oic acid, previously synthesized by us from ursodeoxycholic acid. By HPLC, the taurine conjugate of 3alpha,7alpha,15alpha-trihydroxy-5beta-cholan-24-oic acid was found to be present in 6 of 6 species in the subfamily Dendrocygninae (tree ducks) and in 10 of 13 species in the subfamily Anserinae (swans and geese) but not in other subfamilies in the Anatidae family. It was also not present in species from the other two families of the order Anseriformes. 3alpha,7alpha,15alpha-Trihydroxy-5beta-cholan-24-oic acid is a new primary bile acid that is present in the biliary bile acids of swans, tree ducks, and geese and may be termed 15alpha-hydroxy-chenodeoxycholic acid. (+info)
Regulation of stroke pattern and swim speed across a range of current velocities: diving by common eiders wintering in polynyas in the Canadian Arctic.
Swim speed during diving has important energetic consequences. Not only do costs increase as drag rises non-linearly with increasing speed, but speed also affects travel time to foraging patches and therefore time and energy budgets over the entire dive cycle. However, diving behaviour has rarely been considered in relation to current velocity. Strong tidal currents around the Belcher Islands, Nunavut, Canada, produce polynyas, persistent areas of open water in the sea ice which are important habitats for wildlife wintering in Hudson Bay. Some populations of common eiders Somateria mollissima sedentaria remain in polynyas through the winter where they dive to forage on benthic invertebrates. Strong tidal currents keep polynyas from freezing, but current velocity can exceed 1.5 m s(-1) and could influence time and energy costs of diving and foraging. Polynyas therefore provide naturally occurring flume tanks allowing investigation of diving strategies of free ranging birds in relation to current velocity. We used a custom designed sub-sea ice camera to non-invasively investigate over 150 dives to a depth of 11.3 m by a population of approximately 100 common eiders at Ulutsatuq polynya during February and March of 2002 and 2003. Current speed during recorded dives ranged from 0 to 1 m s(-1). As currents increased, vertical descent speed of eiders decreased, while descent duration and the number of wing strokes and foot strokes during descent to the bottom increased. However, nearly simultaneous strokes of wings and feet, and swim speed relative to the moving water, were maintained within a narrow range (2.28+/-0.23 Hz; 1.25+/-0.14 m s(-1), respectively). This close regulation of swim speed over a range in current speed of 1.0 m s(-1) might correspond to efficient muscle contraction rates, and probably reduces work rates by avoiding rapidly increasing drag at greater speeds; however, it also increases travel time to benthic foraging patches. Despite regulation of average swim speed, high instantaneous speeds during oscillatory stroking can increase dive costs due to drag. While most diving birds have been considered either foot or wing propelled, eider ducks used both wing and foot propulsion during descent. Our observations indicate that the power phase of foot strokes coincides with the transition between upstroke and downstroke of the wings, when drag is greatest. Coordinated timing between foot and wing propulsion could therefore serve to maintain a steadier speed during descent and decrease the costs of diving. Despite tight regulation of stroke and swim speed patterns, descent duration and total number of foot and wing strokes during descent increase non-linearly with increasing current velocity, suggesting an increase in energetic costs of diving. (+info)