Journal of Parasitic Diseases

, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 382–390 | Cite as

Gastrointestinal parasites of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus L. 1798) in south Wayanad forest division, Kerala, India

  • T. V. Abhijith
  • Mohanarangan AshokkumarEmail author
  • Rons Thampy Dencin
  • Chandy George
Original Article


Microscopic-coprological examination of Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus L., 1798) dung piles (n = 55) in South Wayanad Forest Division from March to August, 2017 revealed 74.5% prevalence of parasites in elephants. Ancylostoma sp. Anoplocephala sp., Strongyle type egg and Strongyloides sp. were the major parasites recorded. Strongyloides sp. and Strongyle type egg were observed more frequently (58.1%). Ancylostoma sp. and Anoplocephala sp. were constituted 1.8% each; mixed parasitic species infections were recorded. The frequency distribution of parasitic load in elephants showed skewed distribution of propagules. Centrifugal sedimentation and floatation methods of fecal examination of outer and inner regions of dung did not show significant difference in number of propagules. The highest number of parasitic propagules was recorded in floatation method. The number of propagules varied among dung samples of different herds collected from different localities. There were no relation between the parasitic load and age of elephants. The mean density of parasite eggs was higher in solitary animals (214.3 ± 155.4 epg) than herd elephants (147.78 ± 111.1 epg). Though parasitic load was higher in solitary males, based on the occurrence of parasites using logistic regression it was found that females had 1.83 times higher occurrence for parasitic infection than males. Both length and width of parasite egg size classes were used to classify into different taxonomic groups using discriminate function analysis. Three distinct size clusters were identified. Nematode and Cestode eggs were classified correctly with 95.7% accuracy. Since, the egg size was similar in nematode group separation into genus was difficult. Further, inclusion of stages of development of egg and larvae enable better separation.


Asian elephant Elephas maximus South Wayanad Forest Division Gasterointestinal parasites Strongyloides sp. Anoplocephala 



We thank the Chief Wildlife Warden of Kerala Forest Department for granting permission to conduct research within South Wayanad Forest Division of Kerala (Ref No. WLW-47755/2016 dated 17-10-2016) and District forest officer for his support at the time of sampling. We thank Dr. Reghu Ravindran for his help in identification of parasite species.

Author Contributions

TVA: this work is part of Abijith master dissertation of MS (Wildlife Studies). He conceived idea and collected field samples and microscopic examination of samples. MA: developed theory and performed computation and prepared manuscript. RTD: assisted in the field sample collection and preparation of manuscript. GC: Supervised the work and revision of manuscript. All authors discussed the results and contributed to the final manuscript


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Copyright information

© Indian Society for Parasitology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Wildlife StudiesKerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences UniversityPookode, WayanadIndia

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