Journal for Veterinary Medicine, Biotechnology and Biosafety Volume 5, Issue 4, 2019
ISSN 2411-0388 (online) 2411-3174 (print) 15
UDC 619:616.99:636.98:598.112.21 DOI 10.36016/JVMBBS-2019-5-4-4
PARASITES OF PANTHER CHAMELEONS (FURCIFER PARDALIS)
GROWN IN CAPTIVITY AND BROUGHT FROM THE WILD
Stets O. V.
National University of Life and Environmental Sciences
of Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine, е-mail: email@example.com
Summary. Reptile parasites imported from the wild differ from those grown in captivity. Thus, captive-grown reptiles
tolerate the process of disadaptation better than imported wild animals, even under proper conditions of keeping and
feeding. It should be noted that determining the origin of reptiles is sometimes difficult or impossible. For this, special
methods are needed. In this regard, the purpose of research was to confirm or refute the theory, in reptiles from different
places of residence, various parasites are found. We studied panther chameleons (Furcifer pardalis) imported from the
wild and raised in captivity. To determine the parasites in the laboratory, methods of native smear, sequential washing
and flotation were used. 10 species of intestinal parasites were found in panther chameleons imported from the wild, in
particular Trematoda gen. sp. 1, Tremaitoda gen. sp. 2, Cestoda gen. sp., Spinicauda freitasi (Olfers, 1919), Hexametra
angusticaecoides (Chabaud et Brygoo, 1960), Pharyngodonidae gen. sp., spirurates of the genus Thubunaea sp., larvae of
the family Rhabdiasidae gen. sp., flagellates from the series Kinetoplastida gen. sp. and Eimeria sp, with prevalence
87.56%. In panther chameleons grown in captivity only Pharyngodonidae gen. sp. was found, prevalence was 94.05%. It
is noted that under appropriate conditions of keeping and feeding in captive panther chameleons, a small number of
parasites with a direct development cycle and their insignificant toxic effect on the body can develop
Keywords: intestinal parasites, panther chameleons, prevalence, invasion
Introduction. Reptiles are becoming more common in
zoos and private collections. The incredible variety of
them makes it possible to create terrariums with different
biotopes. Some reptiles need arid terrariums with sand or,
conversely, moist, dense vegetation, as well as rocky and
water-filled bottoms. However, the problem is that not all
reptiles can be purchased at pet stores or specialty
nurseries (Vas il ’ev, 2005).
Many species of reptiles are brought from the wildlife.
Reptiles imported from the wild still have many different
ailments. Most of these diseases are chronic. At the same
time, chronic illnesses are exacerbated by the stress that
occurs during trapping and transportation. Up to 60% of
reptiles died during disadaptation (Cowan, 1980).
In Slovenia Rataj et al. (2011) found Hexametra
angusticaecoides ascarids in Yemeni chameleons
(Chamaeleo calyptratus Duméril et Bibron, 1851). In
addition, these studies indicate a high infestation of snake
parasites from the wild, in particular prevalence was
In Poland Okulewicz et al. (2015) also found
Parapharyngodon sp., Pharyngodon sp., Eimeria sp.,
Isospora sp., Nyctotherus sp., Balantidium sp.
In the reptiles of the Kiev Zoo infection with
nematodes (ascarids and oxyurises) was also observed, in
particular in bearded agamas (Pogona barbata) with
prevalence 53.6% (Dashchenko and Semenko, 2017).
It should also be noted that the capture of reptiles from
the wild can also affect the ecology of the area, lead to
population decline and even the extinction of the species
itself. This is why it is forbidden in some countries to
export endemic animals (Stoyanov and Stoyanova, 2018).
Reptiles that have been bred in captivity under
appropriate conditions of retention have significantly
fewer infectious diseases. Nor do they affect the number
of animals in the wild. For sales, even abroad, it is legally
easier to draw up captive reptile documents. In general,
captive reptile farming is more profitable than catching,
transporting and quarantining wild reptiles (Jacobson,
Most terrarium holders still want to get an animal that
was bred in captivity. At the same time, there are not
enough techniques to check the origin of reptiles.
Parasitological research methods come to the rescue. It
should be noted that the retention of reptiles in terrariums
and the feeding of specially grown fodder facilities
eliminates the possibility of transmitting a number of
pathogens. Therefore, using parasitological studies can
determine the origin of certain reptiles (Vas i l’ev, 2005).
The purpose of the study is to confirm or refute the
theory that different parasites are found in reptiles from
Material and methods. The studies were performed in
the laboratory of the Department of Parasitology and
Tropical Veterinary Medicine on Faculty of Veterinary
Medicine of the National University of Life and
Environmental Sciences of Ukraine (Kyiv, Ukraine)
during 2016–2018. Fecal samples from panther
chameleons (Furcifer pardalis Cuvier, 1829) were used.
The reptiles were kept at the Nature Center ‘Bion’ (Kyiv,
Fecal samples were collected with tweezers, which were
washed and disinfected in 70% alcohol after each sample
was taken. The feces were placed in a disposable plastic
Part 1. Veterinary medicine
bag, signed and logged in to register primary studies. The
test material was transported to the study site in a cold bag
with a temperature of 4–9 °C. The studies were carried out
on the day of fecal sampling and not later than three hours
after their selection (Tret’yakov, Yevdokimov and Shabaev,
2006; Zajac and Conboy, 2012).
Each sample of reptile feces was investigated using the
methods of native smear, sedimentation and flotation
according to Fülleborn (Kotel’nikov, 1983). Data from
three studies were summarized and analyzed. The
identification of eggs, larvae and oocysts of the parasites
was performed using atlases of Jacobson (2007), Vas i l’ev
(2005), Stoyanov and Stoyanova (2018).
646 panther chameleons were examined, among those
410 were imported from the wild and 236 were captive-
bred, aged from 4 to 10 months (4–6 months — 152 and
6–10 months — 84 chameleons). 1938 laboratory tests
Results and discussions. In the panther chameleons
imported from the wild, 10 species of intestinal parasites
were recorded, including two species of trematodes
(Trematoda gen. sp. 1 and Trematoda gen. sp. 2), one
species of cestodes (Cestoda gen. sp.), five nematode
species (Spinicauda freitasi (Olfers, 1919), Hexametra
angusticaecoides (Chabaud et Brygoo, 1960),
Pharyngodonidae gen. sp., Thubunaea sp., and larvae
Rhabdiasidae gen. sp.), flagellates from the series
Kinetoplastida gen. sp. and oocysts of Eimeria sp.
According to the research, prevalence of invasion was
87.56%. The prevalence by various species of parasites in
panther chameleons imported from the wild is shown in
the Tabl e .
Table — Prevalence of invasion in panther chameleons
imported from the wild
Trematoda gen. sp. 1
Trematoda gen. sр. 2
Cestoda gen. sp.
Pharyngodonidae gen. sp.
Rhabdiasidae gen. sp.
Kinetoplastida gen. sр.
The most commonly recorded eggs were Trematoda
gen. sp. 2. Slightly less eggs of S. freitasi and oocysts of
Eimeria sp. were found. Eggs of Pharyngodonidae gen. sp.
met less frequently. Very few flagellates Kinetoplastida
gen. sp., H. angustiaecoides and Trematoda gen. sp. 1 were
recorded. The larvae of the family Rhabdiasidae gen. sp.,
eggs of cestodes and spirurata of the genus Thubunaea sp.
were rarely noted.
The causative agents of the intestinal invasion of the
panther chameleons grown in captivity were only
Pharyngodonidae gen. sр.
The prevalence of invasion by oxyurises in panther
chameleons grown in captivity in the age group of
4–6 months is 68.42%, and in the age group of
6–10 months — 94.05%. Research shows that with age, the
prevalence of invasion of panther chameleons grown in
The data obtained show that the prevalence of invasion
in reptiles imported from the wild is lower than in those
raised in captivity. Thus, in panther chameleons imported
from the wild, it is 87.56%, in those grown in captivity —
94.05% for 6–10 months of their life. It should be noted
that the toxic effect of oxygenates on the body panther
chameleons is considered insignificant. At the same time,
the pathogenic effect of the detected trematodes,
nematodes and protozoa is much stronger (Vas il ’ev, 2005).
It should also be noted that the prevalence of the
invasion by the oxyurises of Pharyngodonidae gen. sp.
reptiles imported from the wild are much lower (19.02%)
than those grown in captivity (87.56%). This can be
explained by the competition of parasites among
themselves for the space and resources of the host
organism (Jacobson, 2007).
Conclusions. Studies have shown that panther
chameleons (Furcifer pardalis) imported from the wild are
most often affected by Trematoda gen. sp. 2 (44.15%),
Spinicauda freitasi (35.12%), Eimeria sp. (28.54%); slightly
less oxyurises Pharyngodonidae gen. sр. (19.02%),
flagellates Kinetoplastida gen. sр. (18.78%), Hexametra
angusticaecoides (16.34%), Trematoda gen. sр. 1 (12.93%),
Rhabdiasidae gen. sр. (6.59%), Cestoda gen. sp. (5.12%)
and а little — Thubunaea sр. (2.19%). While panther
chameleons, raised in captivity, are infected only with
Pharyngodonidae gen. sр.
Therefore, under appropriate conditions of keeping
and feeding, panther chameleons grown in captivity are
infected by nematodes with a simple cycle of development
and those that do not have a significant negative impact on
the body. Parasites with a complex developmental cycle
cannot infect these reptiles in a closed terrarium system.
Therefore, researching reptiles on parasitic diseases can
determine their origin.
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