Parasites and blood profile of Nile monitor lizards (Varanus niloticus) in Ibadan, Nigeria
Parasitic burden in wildlife species is becoming a major concern in the human-wildlife interface. Faecal and blood samples were collected from 40 captured Nile monitor lizards (Varanus niloticus) in Ibadan, and examined for gastrointestinal and blood parasites, as well as haemotological parameters. Parasitic ova were quantified using Mcmaster counting technique, while haemoparasites were identified under the light microscope after staining. About 97% of the monitor lizards were positive for either or both blood and gastrointestinal parasites. Strongyloides spp. was the most prevalent 90% (95% CI: 76.3-97.2) of the GIT parasites, while Haemoproteus spp. had the highest prevalence 42.5% (95% CI: 27.0-59.1) of the haemoparasites. There was significant effect of Microfilaria on the packed cell volume (PCV), haemoglobin (Hb), red blood cells (RBC), platelet, basophils, and MCHC while Plasmodium and Haemoproteus spp. had significant effect on creatinine. The presence of heavy parasitic burden in Nile monitor lizard suggests that wildlife species may play a significant role in transmission or persistence of these pathogens in the domestic cycle.
Keywords: Varanus niloticus; haemoparasites; GIT parasites; wildlife.