Host-parasite relationships are generally understudied in wild populations but have a potential to influence host population dynamics and the broader ecosystem, which becomes particularly important when the host is endangered. Herein we describe a new species of parasitic mite from the genus Ophiomegistus (Parasitiformes: Mesostigmata: Paramegistidae) of an endangered South Australian skink; the pygmy bluetongue lizard (Tiliqua adelaidensis). Adult mites were observed on lizard hosts in three different host populations, among which prevalence varied. No temporal trend in prevalence was evident over two spring-summer seasons of monitoring. We hypothesise that the reliance on burrows as refuges by T. adelaidensis may be essential for the completion of the mite life cycle and also for horizontal transmission. The conservation implications of not only its effect on the host, but also its potential status as an endangered species itself, are considered.
- Tiliqua adelaidensis