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Stichorchis subtriquetrus in a free-living beaver in Scotland
  1. R. Campbell-Palmer1,
  2. S. Girling1,
  3. R. Pizzi1,
  4. I. S. Hamnes2,
  5. Ø. Øines2 and
  6. J. Del-Pozo3
  1. 1Conservation Science and Living Collection Departments, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, 134 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh EH12 6TS, UK
  2. 2Parasitology Department, Norwegian Veterinary Institute, P.O.Box 750, Sentrum, Oslo N0106, Norway
  3. 3Pathology Department, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Easter Bush, Roslin, Midlothian EH25 9RG, UK
  1. E-mail for correspondence: rcampbellpalmer{at}

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The Eurasian beaver, Castor fiber, once threatened with extinction, has now largely recovered across much of its former range through various conservation measures (Nolet and Rosell 1998). Eurasian beavers were removed from Scotland by the 16th century, through hunting (Kitchener and Lynch 2000). The reintroduction of beavers to Britain has been a tangible concept for at least the last decade. A public consultation determined that the Scottish public would be receptive to beaver (Scottish Beaver Trial (SBT) 2007); however, concerns from some stakeholders resulted in a scientific trial reintroduction, the SBT, Mid-Argyll, which began in 2009 with beavers imported from Norway. Aside from this official trial reintroduction, an estimated 38 beaver groups thought to have originated from escapees from captive collections, are now living in the wild around the River Tay catchment on the east coast of Scotland (Campbell and others 2012).

During December 2010, a female beaver (∼ one year old) was trapped in the Tayside region and taken into captivity at Edinburgh Zoo where it died shortly afterwards. This individual was kept in isolation from other animals, including beavers, in an enclosure not previously used by beavers, with an independent water supply. A gross and histological postmortem examination was conducted to elucidate the cause of death at the veterinary pathology unit of the Royal Dick Veterinary School (Edinburgh, UK). During this examination, three adult trematode parasites were noted in the caecum of the beaver, with no associated pathological changes. These trematodes were fixed in 10 per cent neutral buffered formalin, processed for histology and stained with H&E, using standard methods.

For molecular analyses, DNA was extracted, and a 1882 bp region of the 18s gene amplified using primers Stich18sF (5′-CTAAGTACATACCTTTAAACGG-3′) and Stich 18sR (5′-CTCTAAATGATCAAGTTTGG-3′) which were designed on a reference sequence of Stichorchis subspecies from the …

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