Disease in Spheniscus penguins: Feather-loss disorder and Avian Pox
Woods, Olivia Jessica
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Avian pox and a previously undiscovered feather-loss disorder affect Spheniscus penguins. Avian pox is an enveloped doublestranded DNA virus that is mechanically transmitted via arthropod vectors or mucosal membrane contact with infectious particles or birds. Avian pox outbreaks primarily affected chicks, often resulted in death, and were not associated with handling, rainfall, or temperature. The Avipoxvirus identified in Magellanic Penguins in Argentina was phylogenetically similar to an Avipoxvirus found in Black-browed Albatross (Thalassarche melanophrys) from the Falkland Islands in 1987. This phylogentic proximity suggests a long-term circulation of seabird Avipoxviruses in the southwest Atlantic. The feather-loss disorder in captive African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) chicks and wild Magellanic Penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus) chicks is new, rare, and more common in a rehabilitation center in Africa than in the wild. The cause of the feather loss is unknown, but the disorder results in slower growth, smaller ﬂedglings, and appears to increase mortality in Magellanic Penguin chicks in the wild.
- Biology