July 11, 2017
Texas Tech's Wildlife Toxicology Lab recently unveiled a new tool in the fight against quail parasitism. The university's Mobile Parasite Lab (MPL) is, as its name suggests, a self-contained laboratory on wheels that can be deployed to areas where game managers suspect quail have been infected with eyeworms or cecal worms, with results given almost immediately.
The lab's rollout took place June 27 at the famed Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch in Roby, Texas. The MPL features a complete molecular laboratory capable of detecting the DNA of eyeworms and cecal worms in quail. When an outbreak is suspected, a game manager can contact the toxicology lab, and the MPL will be directed to the area. Once there, researchers can examine fecal samples from the quail—alive or dead—and verify whether the parasites are present.