US Fish & Wildlife Service


Date of this Version



Key to Acanthocephala Reported in Waterfowl By Malcolm E. McDonald, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE Resource Publication 173. Washington, D.C. • 1988


U.S. government work


This is the third part of a continuing series on helminths reported in waterfowl (McDonald 1974, 1981). Coots and moorhens (in Family Rallidae, Order Gruiformes) are included with the Anatidae of Anseriformes. The goal of these studies is complete coverage of waterfowl helminths of the world, although the original incentive-inadequate knowledge of the parasites of North American waterfowl- is less true now. World coverage is desirable because the world distribution of the family, tribes, and even many species of waterfowl often results in world distribution of parasites. The format of this key follows that of the others in the series: a checklist of species, a general key to families and genera, a guide to identification of species, and keys to species of each genus that has more than one species reported in waterfowl. This group is the smallest of the series, with 52 species, of which 11 may be considered accidental, normally belonging in birds of other orders (two also normally mature only in marine mammals-although recorded in many birds-and one in freshwater rodents). One species is reported only from domestic waterfowl and one only experimentally from domestic ducklings, whereas six other species have been reported from both wild and domestic waterfowl. The frequency of occurrence and status of hosts in the checklist have been based on the literature. All Acanthocephala in waterfowl are found in the small intestine (usually in the posterior portion) and the large intestine.