Information and Technology Report 1999-0001



The phylum Acanthocephala contains parasitic worms referred to as thorny-headed worms because both the larval and adult parasites have a retractable proboscis or a tubular structure at the head, which has sharp, recurved hooks or spines. Much like the cestodes or tapeworms, they lack digestive tracts and absorb nutrients from the bird’s intestinal canal. This may weaken the bird and may make it more susceptible to other diseases and to predation.

Adult acanthocephalans are found in a variety of bird species and in other vertebrates. More than 50 species of acanthocephalans have been reported in waterfowl, but reevaluations of acanthocephalan taxonomy are resulting in revised speciation. Nevertheless, numerous species within the phylum are found in birds.

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Title Acanthocephaliasis
Series title Information and Technology Report
Series number 1999-0001
Year Published 1999
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) National Wildlife Health Center
Description 3 p.
Larger Work Type Report
Larger Work Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Larger Work Title Field manual of wildlife diseases: General field procedures and diseases of birds
First page 241
Last page 243
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