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Molecular characterization of Fasciola jacksoni from wild elephants (Elephas maximus maximus) of Sri Lanka: a taxonomic evaluation

  • R. P. V. J. Rajapakse (a1), S. P. Lawton (a2), K. J. K. Karunathilake (a1), B. V. P. Perera (a3), N. T. B. Nguyen (a4) and T. H. Le (a4) (a5)...


Fasciola jacksoni is a significant contributor to the health and mortality of Asian elephants, particularly those in Sri Lanka. Despite the impact of fascioliasis on elephant populations, it is a neglected veterinary disease with limited taxonomic understanding. Molecular characterization and phylogenetic analysis of F. jacksoni were carried out to evaluate its suggested basal position in the Fasciolidae. Adult worms were collected during post-mortem of elephants, and eggs were collected from living elephants in National parks across Sri Lanka. Using the mitochondrial genes nicotinamide dehydrogenase subunit 1 (nad1) and cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (cox1), and a partial 28S ribosomal DNA (28S rDNA), DNA sequences were generated from the F. jacksoni adult and egg material. Maximum likelihood (ML) phylogenetic analyses did not resolve F. jacksoni to be basal to the Fasciolidae. Furthermore, the ML analyses showed that the genus Fasciola was not monophyletic and that F. jacksoni was a sister species to the deer liver fluke Fascioloides magna. A clear framework is required to determine the taxonomic status of F. jacksoni and this current study provides the first detailed application of molecular techniques from multiple hosts across Sri Lanka with the production of reference DNA sequences for this important parasite.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: S. P. Lawton, E-mail:


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Rajapakse et al. supplementary material
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Rajapakse et al. supplementary material
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