Survival and development of chicken ascarid eggs in temperate pastures

Parasitology, Cambridge University Press (CUP), ISSN 1469-8161

Volume 144, 9, 2017

DOI:10.1017/s0031182017000555, Dimensions: pub.1085225186, PMID: 28482946,



  1. (1) University of Copenhagen, grid.5254.6, KU






Eggs of chicken ascarids (Ascaridia galli and Heterakis spp.) are believed to be hardy and survive for long periods. However, this has not been evaluated quantitatively and our study therefore aimed to determine development and recovery of chicken ascarid eggs after burying in pasture soil. Unembryonated eggs were mixed with soil, placed in sealed nylon bags and buried at 7 cm depth in pasture plots April (spring, n = 72) and December 2014 (winter, n = 72). Eight randomly selected bags per season were used to estimate pre-burial egg recovery [0 week post-burial (wpb)]. Eight random bags were removed at 5, 12, 23, 38, 52, 71 wpb per season and additionally at 104 wpb for spring burial. The content of each bag was analysed for numbers and development stages of eggs. Eggs buried in spring were fully embryonated within 12 wpb. In contrast, eggs buried in winter were developing between 23 and 38 wpb, so that all viable eggs seemed to be fully developed by 38 wpb. About 90% eggs disappeared within 23 wpb (spring) and 38 wpb (winter). Small proportions (2-3%) of seemingly viable and infective eggs were still recovered up to 2 years after deposition. In conclusion, most eggs buried in temperate pasture soil seem to experience a heavy mortality within a few months after the deposition, especially during warm periods. However, a small proportion of eggs may survive and remain infective for at least 2 years.

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