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Ectoparasites in the endangered Utila spiny-tailed iguana (Ctenosaura bakeri)

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Ectoparasites of adult spiny-tailed iguanas (Ctenosaura bakeri) from Isla de Utila, Honduras, an endemic lizard listed as Critically Endangered under IUCN criteria, were studied for the first time. Three ectoparasitic species were identified: Amblyomma dissimile, Ornithodorus talaje, and Hirstiella boneti; the latter two are reported from Honduras for the first time. Of 125 iguanas examined, 60% were infested: A. dissimile occurred on 2.4%, O. talaje (larvae only) on 43.2% and H. boneti on 40% of individuals. Preferred attachment sites of H. boneti were the ear openings (18.4%) and the limbs (16%), while the nidicolous O. talaje larvae occurred only in the nostrils. Male iguanas were significantly more often infested than females when considering all three parasites (77.2% and 45.6%, respectively), O. talaje (61.4% and 28%, respectively) and H. boneti (56.1% and 26.5%, respectively); infestation prevalence of both species increased significantly with body size in males. Heavily infested animals or visual evidence for direct pathogenic effects in C. bakeri were not observed, suggesting that ectoparasites currently do not pose a serious risk to this endangered iguana.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2012

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