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Ecological release in lizard endoparasites from the Atlantic Forest, northeast of the Neotropical Region

  • Adonias A. Martins Teixeira (a1), Pablo Riul (a1), Samuel Vieira Brito (a2), João A. Araujo-Filho (a1), Diêgo Alves Teles (a1), Waltécio de Oliveira Almeida (a3) and Daniel Oliveira Mesquita (a1)...


We compared lizard endoparasite assemblages between the Atlantic Forest and naturally isolated forest enclaves to test the ecological release hypothesis, which predicts that host specificity should be lower (large niche breadth) and parasite abundance should be greater for parasites from isolated forest enclaves (poor assemblages) than for parasites from the coastal Atlantic Forest (rich assemblages). Parasite richness per specimen showed no difference between the isolated and non-isolated areas. Parasite abundance did not differ between the isolated and non-isolated areas but showed a positive relationship with parasite richness considering all areas (isolated and non-isolated). Furthermore, host specificity was positively related to parasite richness. Considering that host specificity is inversely proportional to the host range infected by a parasite, our results indicate that in assemblages with greater parasite richness, parasites tend to infect a smaller range of hosts than do those in simple assemblages. In summary, our study partially supports the ecological release hypothesis: in assemblages with greater parasite richness, lizard parasites from Atlantic Forest are able to increase their parasite abundance (per host), possibly through facilitated infection; however, the amplitude of infected hosts only expands in poor assemblages (lower parasite richness).


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Adonias A. Martins Teixeira, E-mail:


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Ecological release in lizard endoparasites from the Atlantic Forest, northeast of the Neotropical Region

  • Adonias A. Martins Teixeira (a1), Pablo Riul (a1), Samuel Vieira Brito (a2), João A. Araujo-Filho (a1), Diêgo Alves Teles (a1), Waltécio de Oliveira Almeida (a3) and Daniel Oliveira Mesquita (a1)...


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