New species of Eimeria found in mourning doves in Kentucky

By Staff

A UGA-led research team discovered a new species of the parasite Eimeria in fecal samples from a Kentucky population of mourning doves, which is one of the most abundant birds in North America and one of the most harvested game birds in the United States. 

Michael J. Yabsley, MS, PhD, an associate professor of parasitology and wildlife diseases appointed to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, led the team, which sampled intestinal tracts from 100 legally harvested mourning doves collected on a private farm southwest of Georgetown, Kentucky. The team’s discovery of Eimeria lyoni marks the third description of an Eimeria species from the genus Zenaida and the first report of Eimeria in the mourning dove. The team’s findings were published in the July issue of Comparative Parasitology (Vol. 82, issue 2, 2015).

Yabsley is jointly appointed to the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. Coauthors on the report include Yabsley’s graduate student, Karen Bailey, who is also the founder and president of the Kentucky Wildlife Center; and, baccalaureate student Henry C. Adams of UGA’s Odum School of Ecology.

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