Parasitic worm in moose brains adds to species decline | Science & Technology

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A parasitic worm that can infest the brains of moose appears to be playing a role in the decline of the iconic animal in some regions of North America, researchers report.

Moose populations have been dwindling for years across the country due to many contributing factors, but new research shows the impact of Eleaophora schneideri, also known as the arterial worm, has likely been underestimated.

The researchers examined recently deceased Shiras moose in Idaho between March 2020 and July 2022. While the parasitic roundworm E. schneideri was not detected in any of the animals found in north Idaho, it was present in 10 of the 20 adult moose studied in the southeastern portion of the state. Nine of the infected not only had adult worms in their major arteries but their brains were littered with microfilariae, the microscopic early life stage of the worm.

“The microfilaria are just scattered throughout their…


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