, Volume 94, Issue 4, pp 290-293
Date: 11 Sep 2004

Prevalence and intensity of haemogregarinid blood parasites in a population of the Iberian rock lizard, Lacerta monticola

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Abstract

The study of the effect of parasites on their host populations is essential for understanding their role in host population dynamics and ecology. We describe the general field population biology of haemogregarines in the Iberian rock lizard, Lacerta monticola, examining the factors that determine the prevalence and intensity of infection. Prevalence and infection intensity were higher in adults than in juvenile lizards. The prevalence rate was higher in larger lizards, probably because they were also older and had been more often in contact with parasites during their lifetime. During the mating season, the intensity of parasite infection was greater in males than in females, probably due to immunosuppressive effects of testosterone. The parasite load had a negative effect on the body condition during the reproductive season. The results suggest that the interactions between parasites and hosts are not stable in this lizard population.