Hormonal alteration and reproductive inhibition in male fence lizards (Sceloporus occidentalis) infected with the malarial parasite Plasmodium mexicanum
- K. D. Dunlap, J. J. Schall
- Physiological Zoology
Ecological characteristics and environmental variation influence both host species composition and parasite abundance. Abiotic factors such as rainfall and temperature can improve parasite development and increase its reproduction rate. The comparison of these assemblages between different environments may give us a more refined analysis of how environment affects the variation of helminth parasite abundance. The aim of the present study was to evaluate how temporal variation, host size, sex and reproduction affect helminth abundance in the Tropidurus hispidus lizard in Caatinga, Restinga and Atlantic Forest environments. Overall, larger-sized lizards showed higher helminth abundance. We found a monthly variation in the helminth species abundance in all studied areas. In the Caatinga area, monoxenic and heteroxenic parasites were related to the rainy season and to the reproductive period of lizards. In Restinga, monoxenic and heteroxenic helminth species were more abundant during the driest months. In the Atlantic Forest, the rainy and host reproductive season occurred continuously throughout the year, so parasite abundance was relatively constant. Nevertheless, heteroxenic species were more abundant in this area. The present results showed that the temporal variation, body size, sex, reproductive period and habitat type influence the abundance and composition of helminth species in T. hispidus.