Published online by Cambridge University Press: 19 September 2012
Bivitellobilharzia nairi was first recorded from an Indian elephant (Elephas maximus) in Berlin. Infections with this parasite have become increasingly important in E. maximus maximus populations in Sri Lanka. The present work is the first morphological description of this schistosome from Sri Lanka. A number of adult worms were recovered from a dead Asian elephant near the elephant orphanage, Pinnawala, in Sri Lanka. The observed clinical features of the infected elephant included emaciation, subventral oedema and anaemia. Post-mortem results indicated that the liver was enlarged and adult schistosomes were found in the blood vessels of the liver parenchyma. The total number of worms recovered from a portion of the liver was 129,870, which is an average of 22 worms per 100 g of liver. The present study uses both light microscopic and scanning electron microscope (SEM) techniques for the morphological and topographical characterization of this parasite and to permit comparison with other species of schistosomes. Morphologically, these worms correspond very well to the description of B. nairi by Dutt & Srivastava (1955). Moreover, it is clear that B. nairi is a distinctive species easily differentiated from other schistosomes. The SEM study of the tegument of male worms shows that the surface of B. nairi is smoother than in other schistosomes.