The parasites of Anolis lizards in the northern Lesser Antilles - I. Patterns of distribution and abundance

A. P. Dobson, S. V. Pacala, J. D. Roughgarden, E. R. Carper, E. A. Harris

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82 Scopus citations


The helminth communities from ten species of lizard on seven islands in the Caribbean were sampled by collecting one hundred specimens of each species. Nine genera of parasites were identified; these included six nematodes, two digeneans and an acanthocephalan. No relationship was discernible between parasite density or abundance and island area or altitude, although dry islands tend to have fewer species of parasites. Anolis lizards of the bimaculatus and wattsi series share similar parasites with four out of nine species common to both series. The parasite community of lizards on these islands is depauperate with respect to similar surveys on the larger islands of the Greater Antilles. On three of the islands lizards were sub-sampled by collecting from moist woodland and more xeric habitats. These data suggest that differences between habitats are as significant as differences between islands in determining parasite burdens. Worm burdens of the commonest parasite species, T. cubensis, increased monotonically with host body size and no evidence was found to suggest that these parasites affect either host survival or fecundity. The sex-ratio of this species correlated with mean abundance of the parasite, with females the dominant sex on islands or in habitats where the parasite was common. This pattern may reflect haplodiploid sexual determination in this species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-117
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


  • Anolis
  • Islands
  • Lizards
  • Parasites


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