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Gastrointestinal helminths of gaige's tropical night lizard, Lepidophyma gaigeae (Sauria: xantusiidae) from Hidalgo, Mexico.

Gaige's tropical night lizard, Lepidophyma gaigeae Mosauer, occurs in limestone crevices within pine-oak woodlands in the Mexican states of Hidalgo and Queretaro (Bezy 1984). To the author's knowledge, there are no reports of helminths from this lizard.

Fifty-five Lepidophyma gaigeae (mean snout-vent length, SVL = 54 mm [+ or -] 4.4 SD, range = 42-63 mm; 22 females, SVL = 53 mm [+ or -] 5.1, range = 42-63 mm; 33 males, SVL = 54 mm [+ or -] 3.8, range 45-62 mm) were collected at Durango, Hidalgo (20[degrees]54'N, 99[degrees]14'W) March 1999 to February 2000. Lizards were fixed in 10% formalin, preserved in alcohol and deposited in the herpetology collection of the Escuela Nacional de Estudios Profesionales Iztacala, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico: ENEPI 6978-6981, 6983-6985, 7003, 7062, 7116-7120, 7171, 7173, 7176-7180, 7205, 7207-7211, 7267-7269, 7271, 7298-7300, 7302, 7535, 7540-7543, 7547, 7548, 7572, 7574, 7577-7581, 7608, 7610-7612, 7614, 7617.

The abdominal cavity of each lizard was opened and the gastro-intestinal tract was excised by cutting across the esophagus and rectum. Each tract was slit longitudinally and examined under a dissecting microscope for helminths. When found, helminths were removed to a drop of undiluted glycerol on a glass slide for initial study.

One species of Cestoda, Bitegmen gerrhonoti (Telford 1965) and two species of Nematoda, gravid individuals of Spauligodon giganticus (Read & Amrein 1953) and larvae of Ascaridia sp. were found. Selected specimens were placed in vials of 70% ethanol and deposited in the United States National Parasite Collection (USNPC), Beltsville, Maryland (Table 1). Because there was no statistical difference for SVL between male and female lizards in the sample (Kruskal Wallis = 1.34, 1 df, P > 0.05) and because there was no statistical difference for infection by S. giganticus and Ascaridia sp. (only 1 male lizard infected with B. gerrhonoti) between male and female lizards ([chi square] = 1.35, 0.01, 1 df, P > 0.05, respectively), results are presented as a single data set. Prevalence, mean intensity, range and abundance as defined by Bush et al. (1997) are given in Table 1 for each helminth species.

Bitegmen gerrhonoti, originally described as Baerietta gerrhonoti by Telford (1965) from the southern alligator lizard, Elgaria multicarinata (= Gerrhonotus multicarinatus webbi), was reassigned to its current taxonomic position by Jones (1987). This is the second report of B. gerrhonoti in lizards; it is also known from the salamander Ensatina eschscholtzii from southern California (Goldberg et al. 1998). The life cycle of B. gerrhonoti is unknown, but Joyeux (1927) regards the life history of nematotaeniid cestoides to be direct; infection of a new host occurs through ingestion of eggs. Lepidophyma gaigeae is a new host record; Mexico is a new locality record.

Spauligodon giganticus is a common intestinal helminth of North American lizards, especially sceloporine lizards; additions to the host list provided by Bursey & Goldberg (1992) are presented in Goldberg et al. (2003). The life cycle of S. giganticus has not been studied; but the life cycles of other oxyurids are direct and infection is by an oral route (Anderson 2000). Goldberg & Bursey (1992) found eggs of S. giganticus in the digestive tracts of neonatal Sceloporus jarrovii indicating that infection takes place soon after birth; young lizards presumably acquire eggs by ingesting substrate. Lepidophyma gaigeae is a new host record and the first xantusiid known to harbor S. giganticus.

Larvae of Ascaridia sp. were found encysted on the outer wall of the digestive tract. Moravec & Kaiser (1995) reported encystment by larvae of similar description in species of Eleutherodactylus collected in Dominica and Tobago, West Indies. Species of Ascaridia are common parasites of gallinaceous birds; eggs and larvae can be harbored by earthworms (Anderson 2000). This is the first report of Ascaridia sp. in a lizard species and may represent an accidental infection which could occur in any vermivore.
Table 1. Accession number, prevalence, mean intensity, range and
abundance for helminth species from Lepidophyma gaigeae from Hidalgo,

Helminth USNPC # Prevalence Mean intensity Range
 [+ or -] SD

 Bitegmen gerrhonoti 91755 2% 3 -

 Spauligodon giganticus 91756 76% 8.1 [+ or -] 5.9 1-26
 Ascaridia sp. 91757 24% 8.3 [+ or -] 13.6 1-51

Helminth Abundance

 Bitegmen gerrhonoti 0.05

 Spauligodon giganticus 6.20
 Ascaridia sp. 1.96


Anderson, R. C. 2000. Nematode parasites of vertebrates: their development and transmission., 2nd edit., CABI, Wallingford, Oxon, United Kingdom, xx + 650 pp.

Bezy, R. L. 1984. Systematics of xantusiid lizards of the genus Lepidophyma in northeastern Mexico. Cont. Sci. Nat. Hist. Mus., Los Angeles County, 349:1-16.

Bursey, C. R. & S. R. Goldberg. 1992. Monthly prevalences of Spauligodon giganticus (Nematoda, Pharyngodonidae) in naturally infected Yarrow's spiny lizard Sceloporus jarrovii jarrovii (Iguanidae). Am. Midl. Nat., 127(1):204-207.

Bush, A. O., K. D. Lafferty, J. M. Lotz & A. W. Shostak. 1997. Parasitology meets ecology on its own terms: Margolis et al. revisited. J. Parasitol., 83(4):575-583.

Goldberg, S. R. & C. R. Bursey. 1992. Prevalence of the nematode Spauligodon giganticus (Oxyurida: Pharyngodonidae) in neonatal Yarrow's spiny lizards, Sceloporus jarrovii (Sauria: Iguanidae). J. Parasitol., 78(3):539-541.

Goldberg, S. R., C. R. Bursey & J. L. Camarillo-Rangel. 2003. Gastrointestinal helminths of seven species of sceloporine lizards from Mexico. Southwest. Nat., (in press).

Goldberg, S. R., C. R. Bursey & H. Cheam. 1998. Composition and structure of helminth communities of the salamanders, Aneides lugubris, Batrachoseps nigriventris, Ensatina eschscholtzii (Plethodontidae), and Taricha torosa (Salamandridae) from California. J. Parasitol., 84(2):248-251.

Jones, M. K. 1987. A taxonomic revision of the Nematotaeniidae Luhe, 1910 (Cestoda: Cyclophyllidea). Syst. Parasitol., 10(3):165-245.

Joyeux, C. 1927. Recherches sur la faune helminthologique Algerienne (cestodes et trematodes). Arch. Inst. Pasteur Algerie, 5:509-528.

Moravec, F., & H. Kaiser. 1995. Helminth parasites from West Indian frogs, with descriptions of two new species. Carib. J. Sci., 31(3-4):252-268.

Telford, S. R., Jr. 1965. A new nematotaeniid cestode from California lizards. Jap. J. Exp. Med., 35(4):301-303.

Stephen R. Goldberg, Charles R. Bursey and Jose L. Camarillo-Rangel

Department of Biology, Whittier College

Whittier, California 90608

Pennsylvania State University, Shenango Campus

Department of Biology, Sharon, Pennsylvania 16146 and Laboratorio y Coleccion de Herpetologia

Escuela Nacional de Estudios Profesionales Iztacala

Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, A.P. 314, Tlalnepantla

Estado de Mexico, Mexico

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Author:Goldberg, Stephen R.; Bursey, Charles R.; Camarillo-Rangel, Jose L.
Publication:The Texas Journal of Science
Geographic Code:1MEX
Date:Aug 1, 2002
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