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J Zoo Wildl Med. 2000 Sep;31(3):322-8.

Gastrointestinal parasites of mountain gorillas (Gorilla gorilla beringei) in the Parc National des Volcans, Rwanda.

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Colorado State University, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Fort Collins 80523, USA.


Ninety-eight fecal samples were collected from 74 free-living mountain gorillas (Gorilla gorilla beringei) from the Parc National des Volcans, Rwanda, between July 1995 and January 1997 and examined for parasites by Sheather's sugar and zinc sulfate flotation methods, trichrome staining, and larval cultures. All samples contained at least one parasite. Seventeen endoparasites were identified, including eight protozoa, seven nematodes, one cestode, and one trematode. Two species of arthropod mite were also recovered from the fecal samples. Parasites observed on fecal examinations included strongyle/trichostrongyle-type eggs (72/74) (representing Oesphagostomum sp., Trichostrongylus sp., Hyostrongylus spp., and possibly Murshidia sp.), Strongyloides sp. (1/74), Trichuris trichiura (2/74), Probstmayria sp. (7/74), Anoplocephala sp. (63/74), Entamoeba hartmanni cysts and trophozoites (19/70), Endolimax nana cysts (31/70), Iodamoeba buetschlii cysts (11/70), Endolimax nana or Iodamoeba buetschlii trophozoites (63/70). Entamoeba coli cysts and trophozoites (14/70), Entamoeba histolytica trophozoite (1/70), Chilomastix sp. cysts and trophozoites (31/70), and Giardia sp. cysts (2/70). In addition, one ascarid and one trematode egg were seen. There were no significant differences in the prevalence of parasites between males and females and between age groups: however, infants and juveniles appeared to have a lower prevalence of Anoplocephala gorillae, and the silverbacked males appeared to have a higher prevalence of Probstmayria sp. Parasite prevalence was consistent among the five social groups studied except Susa group had a significantly lower prevalence of Anoplocephala gorillae. Trichuris trichiura, Strongyloides sp., Chilomastix sp., and Endolimax nana were identified for the first time in this population, and it is possible that these parasites were of human origin. Although there were no obvious clinical effects due to the presence of these parasites, six parasites identified (Trichuris trichiura, Strongyloides sp., Oesphagostomum sp., Trichostrongylus sp., Entamoeba histolytica, and Giardia sp.) could potentially be pathogenic. Some of the parasite products and cultured larvae could not be speciated.

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