International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 463–475 | Cite as

Gastrointestinal Parasites of Savanna Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) in Ugalla, Tanzania

  • Barbora KalousováEmail author
  • Alexander K. Piel
  • Kateřina Pomajbíková
  • David Modrý
  • Fiona A. Stewart
  • Klára J. Petrželková


Understanding variability in patterns of parasite infections requires studies of multiple populations inhabiting a variety of habitats. Gastrointestinal parasites of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) have been studied extensively at several forested sites, but the parasite fauna of chimpanzees living in dry, open habitats is less well known. We studied the parasites of savanna chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) living in the Issa Valley, Ugalla (Tanzania). We examined 119 fresh fecal samples using standard coproscopical methods. We detected protozoans including Blastocystis sp., Entamoeba coli, E. histolytica/dispar, Iodamoeba buetschlii, Troglodytella abrassarti, and Troglocorys cava, but only two types of spirurid nematodes among the helminths. The parasites of the Ugalla chimpanzees differ from those of forest chimpanzees in the absence of Strongyloides sp. and strongylid nematodes and a high prevalence of spirurids. Strongylids and Strongyloides sp. have thin-shelled eggs and larvae, which develop in the external environment; thus they may not be able to survive for prolonged periods in the extreme environment of Ugalla. The Ugalla chimpanzees also live at a lower population density and exhibit a larger home range than forest chimpanzees, factors that may lead to lower exposure to infective nematode larvae. Spirurid eggs, however, have thick shells and a life cycle dependent on intermediary hosts, making their survival and transmission in such extreme conditions more feasible. These differences between parasite fauna of closed and open forest chimpanzees contribute to our understanding of the ecology of infectious disease, and have the potential to contribute to conservation policies and practices.


Hominoid Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii Gastrointestinal parasites Savanna Spirurids Transmission Ugalla Tanzania 



This publication is an outcome of the HPI-lab/Laboratory for Infectious Diseases Common to Human and Non-Human Primates. We thank the following granting agencies for their generous support of this research. Research in Czech Republic was supported by the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic (206/09/0927), grant of the Internal Grant Agency of UVPS (no. 1230-21-IG121231) and by institutional support of Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (RVO:68081766). Research at Ugalla has been supported by the Carnegie Trust of Scotland, LSB Leakey Foundation, National Science Foundation, Royal Anthropological Institute, Wenner Gren Foundation, and the Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA), University of California, San Diego. We express our gratitude to the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology, and all Ugalla Primate Project field assistants for support and assistance with sample collection. A. K. Piel and F. A. Stewart also express their gratitude to Jim Moore and Adriana Hernandez-Aguilar for their continued collaboration in and support of research at Issa, Ugalla. We thank Hideo Hasegawa for advice in identification and Kathryn A. Shutt for her valuable help and constructive criticism during the writing of the paper. We thank Jessica M. Rothman, Joanna Setchell, and all reviewers for valuable advice and significant improvement of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbora Kalousová
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Alexander K. Piel
    • 3
    • 4
  • Kateřina Pomajbíková
    • 1
    • 5
  • David Modrý
    • 1
    • 5
  • Fiona A. Stewart
    • 4
  • Klára J. Petrželková
    • 1
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of Pathology and Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, and CEITEC-Central European Institute of TechnologyUniversity of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical SciencesBrnoCzech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Botany and ZoologyMasaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic
  3. 3.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of CaliforniaLa JollaUSA
  4. 4.Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, Division of Biological AnthropologyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeU.K.
  5. 5.Institute of ParasitologyAcademy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicČeské BudějoviceCzech Republic
  6. 6.Institute of Vertebrate BiologyAcademy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, v.v.i.BrnoCzech Republic
  7. 7.Liberec ZooLiberecCzech Republic

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