First Report of Co-invasion by the Reptile Nematode Ozolaimus megatyphlon (Nematoda: Pharyngodonidae) with Invasive Green Iguanas (Iguana iguana) in the Asia–Pacific
Co-invasion of naïve ecosystems by non-native parasites is a serious threat to global biodiversity, though such events are difficult to detect early in the invasion process. Green iguanas (Iguana iguana) are an emerging invasive species and have colonised several countries in the Asia–Pacific. A survey was undertaken to determine whether parasites of the green iguana had co-invaded naïve ecosystems with their introduced host.
Over a 10-month period, wild green iguanas were trapped and euthanised in Singapore. All animals were necropsied and sampled for parasites. Parasites were then identified morphologically and subsequently characterised molecularly at the cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) locus.
The reptile nematode Ozolaimus megatyphlon was found in 38% of the sampled green iguanas, with burdens of 100 + worms in all infected animals. This represents the first recorded co-invasion of this species with wild green iguanas in the Asia–Pacific. Based on the molecular characterisation of the cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) locus, the first DNA barcode is provided for O. megatyphlon.
For the first time, the reptile nematode Ozolaimus megatyphlon is shown to be invasive and to have colonised the Asia–Pacific region with its introduced host, the green iguana. The DNA barcode provided here will facilitate future monitoring programmes as O. megatyphlon invades new habitats and countries.
KeywordsInvasive parasite Invasive species Pet trade Exotic pets Pinworm Singapore
The authors also thank the two anonymous reviewers for valuable comments which greatly enhanced this manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
On behalf of all the authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.
All applicable international, national and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. All animals in this study were wild-caught invasive pest species euthanised in accordance with the guidelines set out in the animal welfare and ethics policy of Wildlife Reserves Singapore.
- 6.Chew I, Low M-R (2017) Roadkill green iguana at Upper Thomson. Singapore Biodiversity Records. 2017:5Google Scholar
- 7.Chua EK (2007) Feral iguana attacks Varanus salvator at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. Biawak 1(1):35–36Google Scholar
- 16.Gibbons JW, Scott DE, Ryan TJ, Buhlmann KA, Tuberville TD, Metts BS, Greene JL, Mills T, Leiden Y, Poppy S, Winne CT (2000) The global decline of reptiles, Déjà Vu Amphibians: reptile species are declining on a global scale. Six significant threats to reptile populations are habitat loss and degradation, introduced invasive species, environmental pollution, disease, unsustainable use, and global climate change. AIBS Bull 50(8):653–666CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 20.Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG), IUCN (2015). The Global Invasive Species Database. Version 2015.1. www.iucngisd.org/gisd/speciesname/Iguana+iguana. Accessed 22nd Apr 2019
- 23.Khoo MDY (2016) Green iguanas at Kranji Reservoir. Singapore Biodiversity Records 2016:185Google Scholar
- 25.Krysko KL, Enge KM, Donlan EM, Seitz JC, Golden EA (2007) Distribution, natural history, and impacts of the introduced green iguana (Iguana iguana) in Florida. Iguana 3(1):2–17Google Scholar
- 28.Kwak ML (2017) The first record of the introduced flea Spilopsyllus cuniculi (Dale, 1878) (Siphonaptera: Pulicidae) from the invasive red fox in Australia, with a review of the fleas associated with the red fox in Australia. Aust Entomol 44(4):289–292Google Scholar
- 34.Leussink JA (1958) Nematodes of the genus Ozolaimus in West Indian iguanas. Stud Fauna Curacaoand Other Caribbean Islands 8(1):127–145Google Scholar
- 37.Leray M, Yang JY, Meyer CP, Mills SC, Agudelo N, Ranwez V, Boehm JT, Machida RJ (2013) A new versatile primer set targeting a short fragment of the mitochondrial COI region for metabarcoding metazoan diversity: application for characterizing coral reef fish gut contents. Front Zool 10(1):34PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 38.Lim KS, Gardener D (1997) Birds: an illustrated field guide to the birds of Singapore. Sun Tree Publishing Ltd, SingaporeGoogle Scholar
- 39.Lim KKP, Lim FLK (2002) guide to the amphibians and reptiles of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre, SingaporeGoogle Scholar
- 41.Low MR, Bickford DP, Tan M, Neves LC (2016) Malayopython (Python) reticulatus diet. Herpetol Rev 17(1):148Google Scholar
- 42.Lymbery AJ, Morine M, Kanani HG, Beatty SJ, Morgan DL (2014) Co-invaders: the effects of alien parasites on native hosts. Int J Parasitol: Parasites Wildl 3(2):171–177Google Scholar
- 47.Ng BC, Lim KKP (2015) Green iguana at Sungei Tengah. Singapore Biodiversity Records 2015:51Google Scholar
- 49.Ng TH, Yeo DC (2012) Non-indigenous frogs in Singapore. Nat Singapore 5:95–102Google Scholar
- 50.Ortlepp RJ (1933) Ozolaimus megatyphlon (Rud., 1819) a little known helminth from Iguana tuberculata. Onderstepoort J Vet Res 1(1):93–96Google Scholar
- 51.Ratnasingham S, Hebert PD (2007) BOLD: the barcode of life data system (http://www.barcodinglife.org). Mol Ecol Notes 7(3):355–364
- 52.Tay JB (2015) Green iguana at Burgundy Crescent. Singapore Biodiversity Records 2015:188Google Scholar
- 57.Yeo JWL (2014) Green iguana at Kovan. Singapore Biodivers Rec 2014:119Google Scholar