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Diplotriaena obtusa (Nematoda: Diplotriaenidae) from barn swallows (Hirundo rustica) and cliff swallows (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) collected during mortality events in the Upper Midwest, USA

July 29, 2021

Several mortality events involving barn swallows (Hirundo rustica) and cliff swallows (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) were reported in the Upper Midwestern states in 2017 and 2018. Barn swallow mortality followed unseasonal cold snaps, with the primary cause of death being emaciation with concurrent air sac nematodiasis. Lesions in cliff swallows were consistent with blunt force trauma from suspected car impacts. Examination of air sac nematodes from both bird species revealed morphological characters consistent with Diplotriaena obtusa. Sequence analysis of the partial 18S rRNA gene indicated the samples clustered with other species in the genus Diplotriaena. These nematodes provide a link between morphological specimens and DNA sequence data for D. obtusa.