Molecular detection of Murshidia linstowi in a free-ranging dead elephant calf

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Sourabh Ranjan Hota
Sonali Sahoo
Manojita Dash
Avishek Pahari
Bijayendranath Mohanty
Niranjana Sahoo


Gastrointestinal helminths are ubiquitous in both domestic and wild animals. Infections are often sub-clinical except in circumstances of destabilization of host-parasite equilibrium by innate or environmental factors. The present case deals with microscopic and molecular diagnosis of Murshidia linstowi recovered from an elephant. A post-mortem examination of a free-ranging juvenile male elephant calf that had died of electrocution in Athagarh Wildlife Division revealed the presence of slender, whitish nematodes in the stomach. No gross lesions were noticed either in the site of predilection or any other internal organs. The average length of the parasites was 3.8cm.  These parasites were collected for further gross as well as microscopic examination following routine parasitological techniques. Temporary mounts prepared after cleaning the nematodes in lactophenol were observed under a microscope. Morphological features such as a well-developed mouth collar, large and globular buccal capsule with fine tubercles, cone shaped oesophageal funnel, short bursa having indistinctly divided lobes and closely apposed ventral rays and stout spicules with club shaped tips bent dorsally corroborated with that of M.linstowi (male). Amplification of the rDNA from the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region using universal nematode primers NC2 and NC5 revealed a product size of 870bp. The PCR product was subjected to sequencing followed by NCBI-BLAST which revealed 98% homology with M. linstowi. A phylogenetic study showed a maximum similarity with M.linstowi recovered from elephants in Kenya. This particular nematode species belonging to the family Strongylidae and sub-family Cyathostominae appears to be the first documented report in India.

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Hota, S.R., Sahoo, S., Dash, M., Pahari, A., Mohanty, B. and Sahoo, N. 2020. Molecular detection of Murshidia linstowi in a free-ranging dead elephant calf. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 12, 3 (Feb. 2020), 15359–15363. DOI:
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