Parasitology Research

, Volume 111, Issue 4, pp 1689–1699 | Cite as

Enteric coccidiosis in the brown kiwi (Apteryx mantelli)

  • K. J. MorganEmail author
  • M. R. Alley
  • W. E. Pomroy
  • I. Castro
  • L. Howe
Original Paper


Enteric coccidiosis may cause significant morbidity and mortality in juvenile brown kiwi (Apteryx mantelli). Morphology of sporulated oocysts indicates that at least two Eimeria species are able to infect the brown kiwi. A histological study of the endogenous stages of coccidia was undertaken in the intestinal tracts of ten naturally infected young kiwi. Sequential sectioning of the entire intestinal tract allowed identification and recording of the distribution of the various coccidial life stages. Macromeronts measuring 268 × 162 μm when mature were found mainly within the lamina propria of the proximal one third of the small intestine. A smaller form of lamina propria meront was also identified (8.7 × 6.4 μm) with a similar distribution to the macromeronts. Small meronts (4.4 × 3.8 μm) were also identified in mucosal epithelial cells, with the overall peak in distribution within the intestinal tract being distal to the lamina propria meronts. Three morphologically distinctive gametocytes were identified. Type A gametocytes contained within epithelial cells shared the same distribution as the epithelial meronts. Polyps containing large numbers of type B gametocytes within the distal intestinal tract were found in two cases, and type C gametocytes were identified throughout the entire intestinal tract in one case only. The observational nature of this study precludes complete knowledge of the parasite life cycles using histology alone. However, it is likely that each of the three morphologically distinct gametocytes represents a separate species of enteric coccidia.


Lamina Propria Intestinal Tract Coccidiosis Asexual Stage Eimeria Species 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Thanks to the Kiwi Encounter, the Department of Conservation, and the Whangarei Native Bird Recovery Centre for supplying the samples used in this study and to both Dr. Brett Gartrell and Clare Green for their contributions to the original necropsies of these birds. Thanks also to Assoc. Prof. Tony Charleston and Dr. Peter Stockdale for their comments on the results in this manuscript; to Barbara Adlington, Anne Tunnicliffe and Evelyn Lupton for parasitological and histological technical support; and to the Chamberlain family for allowing access to the kiwi on their property.

Financial assistance

The authors would like to thank the Pacific Vet Avian Research Fund, the IVABS McGeorge and the Lewis Fitch research funds, and the IVABS post-graduate research fund for financial assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. J. Morgan
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. R. Alley
    • 1
  • W. E. Pomroy
    • 1
  • I. Castro
    • 2
  • L. Howe
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, Massey UniversityPalmerston NorthNew Zealand
  2. 2.Institute of Natural Resources, Massey UniversityPalmerston NorthNew Zealand

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