Health evaluation of wild gentoo penguins (pygoscelis papua) in the antarctic peninsula

Daniel González-Acuña, Jorge Hernández, Lucila Moreno, Bjorn Herrmann, Ricardo Palma, Alejandra Latorre, Gonzalo Medina-Vogel, Mike J. Kinsella, Nicolas Martín, Karolina Araya, Iván Torres, Nicolás Fernandez, Bjorn Olsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Historically wildlife conservation was based on habitat protection and exploitation control. Only recently have diseases been considered an important issue. However, pathogens are usually described during or after disease outbreaks, but to determine which pathogens may be emerging, surveys of wildlife health are critical in a given time. This study deals with the health status of gentoo penguins Pygoscelis papua in two localities at the Antarctica Peninsula and one at Ardley Island off the South Shetland Islands. Cloacal swaps, fresh fecal samples, ectoparasites, and blood smears were collected. We examined and dissected 14 penguin corpses found dead. Fecal samples were positive for Campylobacter, Escherichia coli and in the carcasses four endoparasitic species were found: Diphyllobothrium sp. and Parorchites zederi, Corynosoma shackletoni and Stegophorus adeliae. The tick Ixodes uriae occurred in five of the examined penguins, and the louse Austrogoniodes gressitti on six birds. From the colony grounds, we collected 1,184 I. uriae. We recorded antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as E. coli, in ecosystems where gentoo penguins breed. Cloacal samples (300) were negative for Chlamydia, as well as for Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. coli, Newcastle and Influenza viruses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1749-1760
Number of pages12
JournalPolar Biology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2013


  • Antarctica
  • Ectoparasites
  • Endoparasites
  • Gentoo penguins
  • Health
  • Pathogens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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