Parasite in peril? A new species of mite in the genus Ophiomegistus Banks (Parasitiformes: Paramegistidae) on an endangered host, the pygmy bluetongue lizard Tiliqua adelaidensis (Peters) (Squamata: Scincidae)

Bonnie T Derne, Mark N Hutchinson, Philip Weinstein, Michael G Gardner, Bruce Halliday

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)420-432
Number of pages13
JournalAustral Ecology
Volume44
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

Keywords

  • co-extinction
  • host-parasite
  • Ophiomegistus
  • parasite
  • Tiliqua adelaidensis

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