The cavity of the pharynx and hyoid bone of the shoebill (Balaeniceps rex) were examined by using the three dimensional computed tomography image analysis. The pharynx and the cranial part of the esophagus were extraordinarily bilaterally enlarged. The unfixed flexible hyoid bone and degenerated tongue were discerned. We suggest that these morphological characteristics functionally enable the species to receive the large prey item peculiar to the feeding behavior of the shoebill. The structure of the pharynx region may totally act as a flexible pouch to pass the large food to the alimentary tract. The bilateral asymmetry was also confirmed in the hyoid bone, cavities of the pharynx and cranial esophagus. We think that these asymmetrical forms may also contribute to the deglutition of large prey fish in the shoebill.
As a zoogeographical research, an analysis was made on the helminth fauna of Japanese common toads Bufo japonicus formosus introduced to Hokkaido Island in Japan, and 3 nematode and 1 acanthocephalan species were obtained from the toads captured at Asahikawa City between 2010 and 2011. Although these helminth species have been reported from the toads of Honshu, this is the first helminthological record of the toad on Hokkaido.
A helminthological survey was performed on 75 individuals of Tancho, Grus japonensis, from Hokkaido, Japan. A total of seven helminth species, including five nematode (Baruscapillaira sp., Contracaecum sp., Paracuaria adunca, Syncuaria sp., Viktorocara sp.) and two trematode (Echinostoma gotoi, Apatemon gracilis) species were obtained from 57.3% of the cranes, and E. gotoi was the most common encountered. Among the above helminths, all helminths except for E. gotoi were the first host records for G. japonensis worldwide, and Syncuaria sp. was the first geographical record from Japan. Since the acuariid nematodes including the genera Paracuaria, Syncuaria and Viktorocara are known to cause ulcerative ventriculitis and/or enteritis in bird alimentary tracts, monitoring of helminths is recommended in this endangered crane species.