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Rangoon, Myanmar

Lynsdale C.L.,University of Sheffield | dos Santos D.J.F.,University of Lisbon | Hayward A.D.,University of Edinburgh | Mar K.U.,University of Sheffield | And 4 more authors.
International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife | Year: 2015

The quantitative assessment of parasite infection is necessary to measure, manage and reduce infection risk in both wild and captive animal populations. Traditional faecal flotation methods which aim to quantify parasite burden, such as the McMaster egg counting technique, are widely used in veterinary medicine, agricultural management and wildlife parasitology. Although many modifications to the McMaster method exist, few account for systematic variation in parasite egg output which may lead to inaccurate estimations of infection intensity through faecal egg counts (FEC). To adapt the McMaster method for use in sampling Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), we tested a number of possible sources of error regarding faecal sampling, focussing on helminth eggs and using a population of over 120 semi-captive elephants distributed across northern Myanmar. These included time of day of defecation, effects of storage in 10% formalin and 10% formol saline and variation in egg distribution between and within faecal boluses. We found no significant difference in the distribution of helminth eggs within faecal matter or for different defecation times, however, storage in formol saline and formalin significantly decreased egg recovery. This is the first study to analyse several collection and storage aspects of a widely-used traditional parasitology method for helminth parasites of E.maximus using known host individuals. We suggest that for the modified McMaster technique, a minimum of one fresh sample per elephant collected from any freshly produced bolus in the total faecal matter and at any point within a 7.5h time period (7.30am-2.55. pm) will consistently represent parasite load. This study defines a protocol which may be used to test pre-analytic factors and effectively determine infection load in species which produce large quantities of vegetative faeces, such as non-ruminant megaherbivores. © 2015 The Authors. Source


Mumby H.S.,University of Sheffield | Chapman S.N.,University of Sheffield | Crawley J.A.H.,University of Sheffield | Mar K.U.,University of Sheffield | And 4 more authors.
BMC Evolutionary Biology | Year: 2015

Background: The growth strategy of a species influences many key aspects of its life-history. Animals can either grow indeterminately (throughout life), or grow determinately, ceasing at maturity. In mammals, continued weight gain after maturity is clearly distinguishable from continued skeletal growth (indeterminate growth). Elephants represent an interesting candidate for studying growth because of their large size, long life and sexual dimorphism. Objective measures of their weight, height and age, however, are rare. Results: We investigate evidence for indeterminate growth in the Asian elephant Elephas maximus using a longitudinal dataset from a semi-captive population. We fit growth curves to weight and height measurements, assess sex differences in growth, and test for indeterminate growth by comparing the asymptotes for height and weight curves. Our results show no evidence for indeterminate growth in the Asian elephant; neither sex increases in height throughout life, with the majority of height growth completed by the age of 15 years in females and 21 years in males. Females show a similar pattern with weight, whereas males continue to gain weight until over age 50. Neither sex shows any declines in weight with age. Conclusions: These results have implications for understanding mammalian life-history, which could include sex-specific differences in trade-offs between size and reproductive investment. © 2015 Mumby et al. Source

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