A Preliminary Study On The Gastrointestinal Helminth Parasites Of Toads (Amietophyrnus Regularis)

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A Preliminary Study On The Gastrointestinal Helminth Parasites Of Toads (Amietophyrnus Regularis)


A preliminary study of helminth parasites of toad in Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria, was investigated between July and August, 2017. A total of 32 Toads were examinedfor helminth parasites, 28 (87.5%) toads were infected, while 4 (12.5%) were uninfected. Helminth parasites recovered were 358, comprising of 1 Cestode: Baerietta jaegerskioeldi (6.3%) and 3 Nematodes: Amplicaecum africanum (78.1%), Cosmocerca ornata(37.5%) and Physaloptera spp. (28.1%). Nematodes had the highest occurrence with A. africanum as the most prevalent. The cestode, B. jaegerskioeldi and the nematode, C. ornata exhibited specific sites of infection, being found in the large intestine/rectum and small intestine, respectively. Small intestine of hosts harboured the highest number of parasites. Although infection increased with the size of hosts examined, there was no significant difference in the infection of size categories. Similarly, there was no significant difference in the infection of male and female toad hosts (p>0.05). Multiple infections were recorded in several of the toad hosts, an indication of the rich parasitic fauna of Amietophyrnus regularis in Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.

Chapter One


Amietophyrnus regularis a synonym of Bufo regularis is an amphibian in the family Bufonidae. Amietophyrnus regularis is commonly known as the African common toad in English (IUCN, 2012). The species which are also called true toads have fat bodies with warts, and can live in drier climates while most frogs usually live in or near water (Nworah and Olorunfemi, 2011). They are widespread in the tropics, especially in Savannas, montane, grassland, forests and are beneficial animals to have in the home garden, as well as on farms. Toads play roles in nutrients cycles and as environmental indicators. Nutrients are recycled from aquatic systems to terrestrial when the toads enter the land after metamorphosis. Tadpoles, the swimming larval forms of toads and frogs that hatch from fertilized eggs in water, are important food source for fish and other aquatic organisms (Towle, 1989; New World Encyclopaedia, 2008).

Amphibian parasitology has attracted the attention of many scientists in the recent past due to the declining amphibian populations (Heyer et al., 1994). Guthelminth parasites cause damage of the intestinal mucosa, as they attack the sensitive epithelium, resulting in ulcers, severe enteritis and extensive connective tissue proliferation which may lead to morbidity and eventual death (Egusa, 1992). The presence of parasites in large numbers may also cause obstruction in the digestive tracts. Within Sudan, Amietophyrnusregularis is found in the northern parts; inhabits local farms, gardens and orchards, and is well adapted to anthropogenic areas. It is mainly nocturnal and feeds on small invertebrates such as spiders, beetles and other insects. It is well known that amphibians have a rich parasite fauna, including viruses, protozoans and helminths (Canning et al., 1964; Hyatt et al., 2000; Duszynski etal., 2007; Rahman et al., 2008; Sulieman and Pengsakul, 2015). Several studies have been carried out on the protozoan and helminth parasites of Amphibia (Mcallister et al., 1995; Dare et al., 2008; Santos et al., 2013).

1.1 Justification of Study

This study was carried out to investigate the helminthes parasite of toad in Nnamdi Azikiwe University. Studies on various aspects of amphibian biology are on the increase in Nigeria. This is largely due to the global knowledge of amphibian declines and deformations (Blaustein and Wake, 1995). Some researchers have reported on the causes of amphibian declines in the country (Akani and Luiselli, 2001; 2002; Amuzie, 2017). Most other reports have concentrated on the parasitic fauna of different amphibian species in Nigeria (Aisien et al., 2015; 2003; 2004a; Ayodele and Akinpelu, 2004; Nworah and Olorunfemi, 2011; Iyaji et al., 2015) and on the influence of various environmental factors on the community structure of the parasite species (Aisien et al., 2004b; 2009; 2011; 2015).

There are some other studies on the ecotoxicological effects of h eavy metals on amphibians (Ezemonye and Enuneku, 2006; 2011; Tyokumbor and Okorie, 2011; Idowu et al., 2014). This paper examined the variability in the prevalence of parasites in toad species collected from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.

1.2 Aim and Objectives

The aim of this research is to determine the prevalence of intestinal helminthsof toads (Amietophyrnus regularis) in Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.

The objectives of this study were to;

  1. To identify intestinal helminths of toad in Nnamdi Azikiwe University.
  2. To determine the prevalence of helminths of toad with respect to sex of the

Chapter Five

Discussion and Conclusion

5.1 Discussion

Amietophyrnus regularis from the three localities in Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka were found with large number of parasites involving two parasite taxa and four parasites species.

The infections with nematode parasites were quite common in the three localities but prevalence varied while the cestode infected hosts only from two localities. For instance, the nematodes Amplicaecum africanum, Cosmocerca ornata and Physaloptera sp. were common in the three localities but Amplicaecum africanum had the highest prevalence. This may be due to the fact that tropical zone experiences high rainfall and its vegetation consist mainly of tall trees, grassland and also for its biotic and abiotic factors, it is expected that the prevailing ecological conditions may affect the amphibian faunal composition of this area as well as influence the parasites infecting the anuran resident there (Aisien et al., 2001).

The overall parasites infection of 87.5% prevalence in this study compared favourably with 99% recorded in 162 of the same host species examined in Ile-Ife (Ayodele and Akinpelu, 2004) and also with 71% recorded in 100 samples examined in Awka (Nworah and Olorunfemi, 2011). According to Hudson et al. (2006) and Lafferty (2008), parasites may play a role in promoting biodiversity and function as indicators of ecosystem productivity and resilience. Among the parasites taxa recovered, nematodes had the highest infection rate. The high infection rate of nematode worms in Amplicaecum regularis is in conformity with other findings in Ile-Ife and Awka (Ayodele and Akinpelu, 2004; Nworah and Olorunfemi, 2011). Imasuen et al. (2012) reported that anurans serve as intermediate hosts of vertebrates’ parasites especially those that they inhabit the same habitat.

Nworah and Olorunfemi (2011), reported on the kinds of food materials recovered from the stomach of the amphibian investigated (snails, beetles, earthworms and mainly insect varieties). These invertebrates they eat serve as intermediate hosts to the amphibians, they ingest eggs evacuated from anuran hosts while the intermediate hosts are in turn ingested by the anuran hosts like A. regularis where they grow into adult or larval stages in the host.

The cestode parasite recovered occurred in a very low prevalence of 6.3% affecting more females than the males, which is similar to the reports of Ayodele and Akinpelu (2004) where the same host species were examined but in contrast to Nworah and Olorunfemi (2011) where no cestode was recovered from the same kind of species examined.

There was no evidence of the influence of sex on parasitic infection of Amietophyrnus regularis, both sexes were highly infected. A similar result was reported by Nworah and Olorunfemi (2011). The level of multiple infections and the number of worms recovered in this study was an indication of the rich parasitic fauna of Amietophyrnus regularis in Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.

5.2 Conclusion

This study has shown that there is high level of parasitic infection in African common toads in Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka which is contributing to the ongoing declines in amphibian populations in the environment. These findings have opened the door for further research on amphibian parasitism, its threats to human health as they may infect frogs and fish in water, since they play vital role in the balancing of food chains and webs in the ecosystem.

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