Montezuma quail.

Histopathology of Quails in Trans-Pecos, Texas

Trey Johnson, Ryan Luna, Dale Rollins, Carlos Gonzalez

Populations of quails in Texas have declined over the past few decades due primarily to habitat loss. However, the role that parasites may play in such declines has been largely dismissed. To help address this, we collected scaled quail (Callipepla squamata), Gambel’s quail (Callipepla gambellii), and Montezuma quail (Cyrtonyx montezumae) from across the Trans-Pecos ecoregion of Texas via hunter-harvest, funnel trapping, and nightlighting.

Quail samples were then necropsied to determine the occurrence of various endoparasites, especially eyeworms (Oxyspirura petrowi) and cecal worms (Aulonocephalus pennula). Individual quail organs were submitted to the Texas A&M University Veterinary Medicine Diagnostic Lab (TVMDL), where histopathological analyses were conducted to gain information on parasite-related tissue damage and to document other pathogenic factors.

From this, we determined that host tissues were exhibiting immune responses to O. petrowi. We also identified several parasites that had not been documented in the quails of the Trans-Pecos ecoregion of Texas. This study was the first to document Dispharynx nasuta, Mycobacterium sp., and Sarcocystis sp. in scaled quail, Subulura sp. and Physaloptera sp. in Montezuma quail, and O. petrowi and A. pennula in Gambel’s quail.

Funding source: Park Cities Quail Coalition.