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PROJECT TOPIC: A STUDY ON THE GASTROINTESTINAL HELMINTH PARASITES OF TOADS (AMIETOPHYRNUS REGULARIS)

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CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION

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). Gut helminth 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, Amietophyrnus regularis 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 et al., 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.


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