DISEASE SUMMARY PAGE

Bots (Gastric Myiasis) in Elephants

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Summary Information
Diseases / List of Parasitic Diseases / Disease summary
Alternative Names
  • Gastric myiasis
  • Cobboldiasis
  • Elephant throat bot fly infection
  • Elephant stomach bot fly infection

See also:

Disease Agents Specifically recorded for Elephas maximus - Asian Elephant:
  • Cobboldia elephantis (B24, B212.w33, B336.53.w53, J24.26.w1, J381.64.w1, P64.1.w3, P502.1.w5) (= Oestrus elephantis Steel, 1978 = Gastrophilus elephantis Cobbold, 1882) (J377.13.w1) 
    • In the stomach, pharynx, oesophagus, passing down the intestines, and occasionally e.g. in the frontal sinuses. (B212.w33)
    • These have been recorded in Asian elephants in India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia and Malaysia. (J381.64.w1)
    • In the intestine at necropsy of an elephant calf which died in the Thekkady forest area in Kerala, India. (J324.18.w2)

Specifically recorded for Loxodonta africana - African Elephant:

  • Cobboldia loxodontis (B24, J62.38.w2) "Blue Elephant Stomach Bot Fly" = Platycobboldia loxodontis Zumpt, 1958 = Cobboldia parumspinosa Gedoelst, 1915. (J377.13.w1) Platycobbodia loxodontis (B336.53.w53, B453.7.w7, J377.13.w1) is a common parasite of African elephants. All three larval stages may be found in the stomach. Mature larvae leave the elephant via the mouth. Eggs are found attached to the tusk base. These have been found widespread in Africa, including in South Africa, Rhodesia, Zambia, Mozambique, Ghana and Ivory Coast. (J377.13.w1)
  • Cobboldia chysidiformis (J62.38.w2) = Rodhainomyia chysidiformis Zumpt, 1958 = Rodhainomyia roverei Zumpt, 1865; "Green Elephant Stomach Bot Fly" in the stomach. (J377.13.w1)
  • Cobboldia roverei Gedoelst = Cobboldia roverei Gedoelst, 1915 = Rodhainomyia roverei Zumpt, 1965 = Rodhainomyia chysidiformis Rodhain and Bequaert, 1915. (J377.13.w1)
  • Pharyngobolus africanus (Oestridae - (Family)) the "African Elephant Throat Bot Fly". In the pharynx and possibly the upper oesophagus; mature larvae are sneezed out through the trunk. (B24, B336.53.w53, B453.7.w7, B455.w7, J377.13.w1)

Specifically recorded for Loxodonta cyclotis - Forest Elephant:

  • Cobboldia loxodontis in the stomach of a freshly dead elephant at Gobounga Bai, Central African Republic. (J381.71.w1)
    • This bot appears to be found throughout the range of elephants in Africa. (J381.71.w1)
  • Cobboldia roverei in the stomach of a freshly dead elephant at Gobounga Bai, Central African Republic. (J381.71.w1)
    • The original descriptions were also from the Congo, therefore it is possible that this parasite is specific to the Forest elephant. (J381.71.w1)

Further information on Disease Agents has only been incorporated for agents recorded in species for which a full Wildpro "Health and Management" module has been completed (i.e. for which a comprehensive literature review has been undertaken). Only those agents with further information available are linked below:

Infectious Agent(s)
Non-infectious Agent(s) --
Physical Agent(s) --
General Description

In Elephants:

  • Bots have been found in captive and wild elephants. (B24, B212.w33, B336.53.w53, J24.26.w1, J377.13.w1, P64.1.w3, P502.1.w5)
  • Usually there are no associated clinical signs. (B212.w33)

Clinical signs:

  • Anorexia. (B336.53.w53)
  • Reluctance to drink. (P502.1.w5)
  • Colic. (B336.53.w53)
  • Dullness, anorexia, colic and loose faeces. (P64.1.w3)
Further Information

Found in both wild and captive elephants in India. (P64.1.w3)

Gross pathology:

  • Bots are frequently found in the trunk, mouth, pharynx, oesophagus and stomach. (B212.w33, B453.7.w7, J62.38.w2)
    • A group of as many as 100 may be found. (B212.w33)
  • In the oesophagus, small white spots, vesicles and erosions caused by the parasite may be found. (J62.38.w2)
  • Eggs may be found on the teeth and the base of the tusks. (J62.38.w2)
  • The second and third stage larvae of Pharyngobolus africanus may be found in the pharynx and possibly the upper oesophagus of Loxodonta africana - African Elephant. (B455.w7, J377.13.w1)

Histopathology:

  • In the oesophagus (Cobboldia chysidiformis infection): (J62.38.w2)
    • Vesicles resembled micro-mucocoeles; some were suppurative, with neutrophils and cocci present. In a few early vesicles, epithelial cells were noted to show hydropic or ballooning changes. (J62.38.w2)
    • Erosions, with mixed cell reactions in the propria. (J62.38.w2)
    • Some submucosal glands had ducts dilated with accumulated mucous secretion. (J62.38.w2)

Diagnosis/Investigations:

  • Detecting the presence of bots in living elephants may be difficult. (B212.w33)
  • Bots may be found in the faeces. (B212.w33)
  • Post mortem findings (bots, associated lesions). (B453.7.w7, J62.38.w2)
  • Eggs may be found on the teeth and the base of the tusks. (B455.w7, J62.38.w2, J377.13.w1)
  • Third instar larvae may be found in the enclosure. (B455.w7)

Treatment:

  • Avermectins, e.g. Ivermectin or moxidectin, given orally. (B455.w7)
  • Tetramisole hydrochloride (see Levamisole) 4 mg/kg, (route of administration not specified) has been used. (P502.1.w5)
  • Tetramisole hydrochloride (see Levamisole), 4 mg/kg orally. (P64.1.w3)

Control:

  • Faecal examination for parasites should be performed at least once a year. More frequent examinations are recommended in endemic areas. (B450.5.w5)
Associated Techniques
Host taxa groups /species Further information on Host species has only been incorporated for species groups for which a full Wildpro "Health and Management" module has been completed (i.e. for which a comprehensive literature review has been undertaken).

(List does not contain all other species groups affected by this disease)

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