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Article contents

Ecto- and endoparasites of the King's skink (Egernia kingii) on Penguin Island

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 May 2020

Karina Stampe
Affiliation:
Department of Biology, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230Odense M, Denmark
Ole Næsbye Larsen
Affiliation:
Department of Biology, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230Odense M, Denmark
Stephanie S. Godfrey*
Affiliation:
College of Science, Health, Engineering and Education, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia Department of Zoology, University of Otago, 340 Great King Street, Dunedin9016, New Zealand
*
Author for correspondence: Stephanie S. Godfrey, E-mail: Stephanie.Godfrey@otago.ac.nz

Abstract

Wildlife species are often host to a diversity of parasites, but our knowledge of their diversity and ecology is extremely limited, especially for reptiles. Little is known about the host-parasite ecology of the Australian lizard, the King's skink (Egernia kingii). In spring of 2015, we carried out a field-based study of a population of King's skinks on Penguin Island (Western Australia). We documented five species of parasites, including two ectoparasitic mites (an undescribed laelapid mite and Mesolaelaps australiensis), an undescribed coccidia species, and two nematode species (Pharyngodon tiliquae and Capillaria sp.). The laelapid mite was the most abundant parasite, infesting 46.9% of the 113 captured lizards. This mite species increased in prevalence and abundance over the course of the study. Infection patterns of both mites varied with lizard life-stage; sub-adults were more commonly infested with laelapid mites than adults or juveniles, and sub-adults and adults were infested by more laelapid mites than juveniles. By contrast, adults had a higher prevalence of M. australiensis than juveniles or sub-adults. Among the gastrointestinal parasites, P. tiliquae was relatively common among the sampled lizards (35.3%). These results give new important information about reptiles as parasite hosts and what factors influence infection patterns.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press

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