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Absence of haemoparasite infection in the fossorial amphisbaenian Trogonophis wiegmanni



Blood parasites such as haemogregarines and haemosporidians have been identified in almost all groups of vertebrates. However, very little is known about biodiversity of these parasites and their effects on some major groups of reptiles such as amphisbaenians, a distinctive group with many morphological and ecological adaptations to fossorial life. Conditions of the fossorial environment might also affect host–parasite relationships. We investigated the presence and the potential prevalence of three genera of haemoparasitic aplicomplexan blood parasites (Hepatozoon, Plasmodium and Haemoproteus) in the amphisbaenian Trogonophis wiegmanni, a fossorial worm lizard species from North West Africa. Blood parasite infection was not detected in T. wiegmanni, both in visual surveys of blood smears and using molecular methods to detect DNA of such parasites in the blood of the potential amphisbaenian hosts. We discuss how conditions of the fossorial environment might affect blood parasitaemias in amphisbaenians as well as in other fossorial reptiles.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Departamento de Ecología Evolutiva, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, CSIC, José Gutiérrez Abascal 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain. E-mail:


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Absence of haemoparasite infection in the fossorial amphisbaenian Trogonophis wiegmanni



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