European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 54, Issue 2, pp 373–377 | Cite as

Microbiological survey for selected bacterial pathogens in European storm petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus, Linnaeus 1758) from Grosa Island (Murcia, Southeastern Spain)

  • Mónica G. CandelaEmail author
  • Gonzalo G. Barberá
  • Angel Sallent
  • Luis León
Short Communication


The current work shows the first step in the knowledge on the health status of European storm petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus) colony inhabiting Grosa Island (Murcia, SE Spain). We performed a screening about the bacterial pathogens carried by them (among the infectious agents checked, bacteria of the orders Mollicutes and Chlamydiales, and the genera Salmonella are of main interest) and compare these results with similar works performed in Larus species because most of the breeding colonies of storm petrel share habitats with gull colonies, and these could become pathogen reservoirs to petrels. Our results show the European storm petrels sampled have absence of pathogens of main interest and low levels of opportunistic pathogens. No Mycoplasma species were isolated, and no Chlamydophila psittaci were demonstrated by lipopolysaccharide antigen immunodetection. The commensal bacteria were isolated in higher frequencies than the previous [Staphylococcus epidermidis (5/15), Staphylococcus hominis (2/15) and Staphylococcus aureus (1/15)]. The rate of isolation of Gram-negative was lower than in the previous Gram-positive bacteria [Pasteurella sp. (1/15) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (1/15)], and no Enterobacteriaceae were isolated. The absence of pathogen carriers on European storm petrel is the main conclusion of this survey; it is an evidence that the bacterial infectious pathogens described in gulls may not be an important selective force on their survival.


Chlamydophila Mycoplasma Salmonella Larus Pasteurella Infection Epidemiology 



This study was supported by the LIFE programme of the EU, project LIFE 03 NAT/E/000061 “Conservation of Larus audouinii on Grosa Island, Murcia, Spain” and complies with the current laws regarding animal welfare and bioethics of Spain. The authors acknowledge the collaboration of the General Directorate of the Natural Environment of the Government of the Region of Murcia, especially the team of the LIFE project that made possible the conditions to carry out scientific and conservation studies in the island.


  1. Blanco G, Gajón A, Doval G, Martínez F (1998) Absence of blood-parasites in Griffon vultures from Spain. J Wildl Dis 34:640–643PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Cizek A, Literak I, Hejlicek K, Treml F, Smola J (1994) Samonella contamination of the environment and its incidence in wild birds. Zentralbl Veterinarmed Reihe B 41(5):320–327Google Scholar
  3. Forero MG, Tella JL, Gajón A (1997) Absence of blood-parasites in the red-necked nightjar. J Field Ornithol 68:575–579Google Scholar
  4. Hajek V, Balusek J (1988) Biochemical properties and differentiation of coagulase-positive staphylococci from rooks and gulls. Res Vet Sci 44(2):242–246PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Holt JG, Krieg NR, Sneath PH, Stanley JT, Williams ST (1994) Bergey’s manual of determinative bacteriology, 9th edn. Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore, LondonGoogle Scholar
  6. John Barnes H (1991) Miscellaneous bacterial diseases. Introduction. In: Calnek BW, John Barnes H, Beard CW, Reid WM, Yoder HW Jr (eds) Diseases of poultry, 9th edn. Wolfe Publishing Ltd. Iowa State University Press, Ames, Iowa. USA, pp 289–293Google Scholar
  7. Jovani R, Tella JL, Blanco G, Bertellotti M (2002) Absence of haematozoa on colonial white storks Ciconia ciconia throughout their distribution range in Spain. Ornis Fenn 79:41–44Google Scholar
  8. Kaleta EF, Taday EM (2003) Avian host range of Chlamydophila spp. based on isolation, antigen detection and serology. Avian Pathol 35(5):435–462CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kaperud G, Rosef O (1983) Avian wildlife reservoir of Campylobacter fetus subsp. jejuni, Yersinia spp., and Salmonella spp. in Norway. Appl Environ Microbiol 45(2):375–380Google Scholar
  10. Karaguzel A, Koksal I, Baki A, Ucar F, Gok I, Cirav Z (1993) Salmonella and Shigella carriage by gulls (Larus sp.) on the east Black Sea region of Turkey. Microbios 74(29):77–80PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Krieg NR, Holt JG (1984) Bergey’s manual of systematic bacteriology, vol.1. Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore, MarylandGoogle Scholar
  12. Lee KA (2006) Linking immune defenses and life history at the level of the individual and the species. Integr Comp Biol 46(6):1000–1015CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Martín LB, Zachary MW, Nelson RJ (2006) Refining approaches and diversifying directions in ecoimmunology. Integr Comp Biol 46(6):1030–1039CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Martínez-Abraín A, Urios G (2002) Absence of blood parasites in nestlings of the Eleonora’s Falcon (Falco eleonora). J Raptor Res 36:139–141Google Scholar
  15. Martínez-Abraín A, Esparza B, Oro D (2004) Lack of blood parasites in birds species: does absence of blood parasite vectors explain it? Ardeola 351(1):225–232Google Scholar
  16. Massa B, Merne OJ (1997) Hydrobates pelagicus. In: Hagemeijer WJM, Blair MJ (eds) The EBCC Atlas of European breeding birds. Their distribution and abundance. T and AD Poyser, London, pp 24–25Google Scholar
  17. May RM (1995) Disease and the abundance and distribution of bird populations: a summary. Ibis 37(Suppl):85–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mc Clave JT, Sincich T (2000) Statistics, 8th edn. Prentice-Hall, N. JGoogle Scholar
  19. McNamara JM, Houston AI (1996) State-dependent life histories. Nature 380:215–221PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Merino S, Mínguez E (1998) Absence of haematozooa in a breeding colony of the storm-petrel Hydrobates pelagicus. Ibis 140:180–181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mínguez E (2004) Paíño Europeo Hydrobates pelagicus. In: Madroño A, González C, Atienza JC (eds) Libro Rojo de las Aves de España. SEO/BIRDLIFE and Ministerio de Medio Ambiente, Madrid, pp. 55–57Google Scholar
  22. Muniesa M, Jofre J, Lucena F (1999) Occurrence and numbers of bacteriophages and bacterial indicators in faeces of yellow-legged seagull (Larus cachinnans). Lett Appl Microbiol 29(6):421–423PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Palmgren H, Aspan A, Broman T, Bengtsson K, Blomquist L, Bergstrom S, Sellin M, Wollin R, Olsen B (2006) Salmonella in Black-headed gulls (Larus ridibundus); prevalence, genotypes and influence on Salmonella epidemiology. Epidemiol Infect 134(3):635–644PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Pedersen K, Dietz HH, Jorgensen JC, Christensen TK, Bregnballe T, Andersen TH (2003) Pasteurella multocida from outbreaks of avian cholera in wild and captive birds in Denmark. J Wildl Dis 39(4):808–816PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Petermann S, Glunder G, Heffels-Redmann U, Hinz KH (1989) The diseased or dead guillemots (Uria algae), three-toed gulls (Rissa trydactyla), silver gulls (Larus argentatus) and laughing gulls (Larus ridibundus) found in the area of the German Bay, 1982–1985. Dtsch tierärztl Wochenschr 96(5):271–277PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Rhoades KR, Rimler RB (1991) Fowl cholera. In: Calnek BW, John Barnes H, Beard CW, Reid WM, Yoder HW Jr (eds) Diseases of poultry, 9th edn. Wolfe Publishing, Iowa State University Press, Ames, Iowa, USA., pp 145–162Google Scholar
  27. Ricklefs RE (1992) Embryonic development period and the prevalence of avian blood parasites. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 89:4722–4725PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Sixl W, Karpiskova R, Hubalek Z, Halouzka J, Mikulaskova M, Salava J (1997) Campylobacter spp. and Salmonella spp. in black-headed gulls (Larus ridibundus). Cent Eur J Public Health 5(1):24–66PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Skeeles JK (1991) Staphylococcosis. In: Calnek BW, John Barnes H, Beard CW, Reid WM, Yoder HW Jr (eds) Diseases of poultry, 9th edn. Wolfe Publishing, Iowa State University Press, Ames, Iowa, USA, pp 293–299Google Scholar
  30. Tella JL, Forero MG, Gajón A, Hiraldo F, Donazar JA (1996) Absence of blood-parasitization effects on Lesser Kestrel fitness. The Auk 113:253–256Google Scholar
  31. Thibault JC, Zotier R, Guyot I, Bretagnolle V (1996) Recent trends in breeding marine birds of the Mediterranean region with special reference to Corsica. Colon Waterbirds 19:31–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Weimerskirch H (2002) Seabird demography and its relationship with the marine environment. In: Schreiber EA, Burger J (eds) Biology of marine birds. CRC, Boca Ratón, Florida, USA, pp 115–135Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mónica G. Candela
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gonzalo G. Barberá
    • 2
    • 3
  • Angel Sallent
    • 3
  • Luis León
    • 1
  1. 1.Infectious Diseases, Department of Animal Health, Veterinary Medicine FacultyMurcia UniversityMurciaSpain
  2. 2.Water and Soil Conservation DepartmentCEBAS-CSICMurciaSpain
  3. 3.Asociación de Naturalistas del Sureste (ANSE)MurciaSpain

Personalised recommendations