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Redescription of Eimeria sceloporis (Apicomplexa: Eimeriidae) from a new host Sceloporus jarrovii (Sauria: Phrynosomatidae).

The Yarrow's spiny lizard, Sceloporus jarrovii Cope, 1875, inhabits rocky outcroppings in mountainous woodlands in southern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico and northern Mexico (Stebbins, 1985). It has recently been placed in the family Phrynosomatidae (Frost and Etheridge, 1989). Previous parasitological studies on this lizard have examined gastrointestinal helminths (Goldberg and Bursey, 1990, 1992; Bursey and Goldberg, 1991a, b, 1992); malaria (Telford, 1970a; Mahrt, 1987; 1989) and ectoparasites (Goldberg and Holshuh, 1992, 1993; Goldberg and Bursey, 1993). Recently, we had an opportunity to examine this host for coccidian parasites.

We collected six S. jarrovii during June, 1989, near the Southwestern Research Station, Chiricahua Mountains, Cochise County, Arizona (31[degrees] 53'N, 109[degrees] 12'W, 1645 m elevation). Two of these were placed in the herpetology collection of the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) (134218-134219). Thirty additional specimens, collected October, 1991, were examined from Kitt Peak, Baboquivari Mountains, Pima County, Arizona (31[degrees] 95'N, 111[degrees] 59'W, 1889 m elevation). Twenty of these were placed in the herpetology collection of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (LACM) (140490-140509). Lizards were sacrificed and intestinal contents from each lizard were placed in individual vials of 2.5% (w/v) aqueous potassium dichromate solution. Oocysts were concentrated by flotation in sucrose solution (specific gravity 1.30) and examined using Nomarski interference-contrast optics. Twenty-five parasites were used for each measurement, which were made with a calibrated ocular micrometer and are presented as means in micrometers ([micro]m), followed by the ranges in parentheses.

Coccidian oocysts were found in 2/6 (33%) S. jarrovii from the Chiricahua Mountains and 9/30 (30%) animals from Kitt Peak. The overall prevalence was 11/36 (31%) S. jarrovii passing oocysts. No other species of coccidian was found. Because we noted several morphologic details not reported in the original description, we present a description of this coccidian from this new host: Oocysts are ellipsoidal, 28.6 X 23.2 (25.6-31.2 X 20.0-27.2); shape index (length/width) 1.24 (1.03-1.50). Wall smooth, bilayered, 1.2-1.4 thick; outer layer 0.8-1.0; inner layer ca. 0.4. Micropyle, oocyst residuum, and polar granule absent, although numerous highly refractile granules of various sizes representing remnants of polar granules sometimes present and scattered among sporocysts. Sporocysts ellipsoidal, 10.1 X 7.9 (8.8-11.2 X 6.4-8.8); shape index 1.29 (1.10-1.47); wall smooth, single-layered, 0.5-0.6 thick. Stieda and substieda bodies absent. Irregular to ellipsoidal sporocyst residuum present, 5.5 X 3.9 (4.0-8.0 X 2.4-6.4), as compact mass composed of granules of various sizes. Sporozoites vermiform, tapered anteriorly, 10.0 X 3.1 (8.0-12.0 X 2.4-4.0) in situ, normally arranged head-to-tail in sporocyst with posterior ends reflexed. Spherical to subspherical anterior refractile body present, 1.9 X 1.7 (1.2-2.4 X 1.0-2.4); ellipsoidal posterior refractile body present, 3.5 X 2.5 (2.4-5.0 X 1.6-3.2). Nucleus situated between refractile bodies.

Oocysts of the coccidian reported herein are morphologically indistinguishable from those reported originally for E. sceloporis by Bovee and Telford (1965). We found sporocyst mean length to be slightly higher than in the original description, but this difference most likely represents measurements of many sporocyst length measurements taken from end-on views in the original description. We noted both anterior and posterior refractile bodies, not presented in the original description.

Eimeria sceloporis appears to have little species specificity within the genus Sceloporus as it has been reported previously to infect Sceloporus clarki Baird and Girard, 1852 from Mexico, S. occidentalis Baird and Girard, 1852 from southern California and central Washington, S. magister Hallowell, 1854, from southern California, and S. variabilis Wiegmann, 1834 from Mexico (Telford and Bovee, 1964; Bovee and Telford, 1965; Telford, 1970b; Clark and Colwell, 1973; Matuschka and Bannert, 1987; McAllister and Upton, 1989). Sceloporus occidentalis also harbors Eimeria ahtanumensis, which thus far has only been reported from Ahtanum Canyon, Yakima County, Washington (Clark, 1970; Clark and Colwell, 1973). This species is easily distinguished from E. sceloporis by its longer and more cylindrical oocysts.

There is little information on the prevalence of E. sceloporis. Clark and Colwell (1973) reported (72%) 101/140 adult and (82%) 31/38 juvenile S. occidentalis from Washington were infected with E. sceloporis. McAllister and Upton (1989) reported (100%) (2/2) prevalence for E. sceloporis in S. variabilis from Veracruz, Mexico.


Bovee, E. C., and S. R. Telford, Jr. 1965. Eimeria sceloporis and Eimeria molochis spp. n. from lizards. J. Parasitol., 51:85-94.

Bursey, C. R., and S. R. Goldberg. 1991a. Thubunaea intestinalis n. sp. (Nematoda: Spiruroidea) from Yarrow's spiny lizard, Sceloporus jarrovii (lguanidae), from Arizona, U.S.A. Trans. Amer. Microsc. Soc., 110:269-278.

______. 1991b. Monthly prevalences of Physaloptera retusa in naturally infected Yarrow's spiny lizard. J. Wild. Dis., 27:710-715.

______. 1992. Monthly prevalences of Spauligodon giganticus (Nematoda, Pharyngodonidae) in naturally infected Yarrow's spiny lizard Sceloporus jarrovii jarrovii (lguanidae). Amer. Midl. Nat., 127:204-207.

Clark, G. W. 1970. Eimeria ahtanumensis n. sp. from the northwestern fence lizard Sceloporus occidentalis in central Washington. J. Protozool., 17:526-530.

Clark, G. W., and D. A. Colwell. 1973. Incidence of eimerians in Sceloporus occidentalis from Central Washington. J. Parasitol., 59:931-932.

Frost, D. R., and R. Etheridge. 1989. A phylogenetic analysis and taxonomy of iguanian lizards (Reptilia: Squamata). Univ. Kansas Mus. Nat. Hist. Misc. Publ., 81:1-65.

Goldberg, S. R., and C. R. Bursey. 1990. Gastrointestinal helminths of the Yarrow spiny lizard, Sceloporus jarrovii jarrovii. Amer. Midl. Nat., 124:360-365.

______. 1992. Prevalence of the nematode Spauligodon giganticus (Oxyurida: Pharyngodonidae) in neonatal Yarrow's spiny lizards, Sceloporus jarrovii (Sauria: lguanidae). J. Parasitol., 78:539-541.

______. 1993. Duration of attachment of the chigger, Eutrombicula lipovskyana (Trombiculidae) in mite pockets of Yarrow's spiny lizard, Sceloporus jarrovii (Phrynosomatidae) from Arizona. J. Wild. Dis., 29:142-144.

Goldberg, S. R., and H. J. Holshuh. 1992. Ectoparasite-induced lesions in mite pockets of the Yarrow's spiny lizard, Sceloporus jarrovii (Phrynosomatidae). J. Wild. Dis., 28:537-541.

______. 1993. Histopathology in a captive Yarrow's spiny lizard, Sceloporus jarrovii (Phrynosomatidae), attributed to the mite Hirstiella sp. (Pterygosomatidae). Trans. Amer. Microsc. Soc., 112:234-237.

Mahrt, J. L. 1987. Lizard malaria in Arizona: island biogeography of Plasmodium chiricahuae and Sceloporus jarrovii. Southwestern Nat., 32:347-350.

______. 1989. Prevalence of malaria in populations of Sceloporus jarrovii (Reptilia: lguanidae) in southeastern Arizona. Southwestern Nat., 34:436-438.

Matuschka, F.-R., and B. Bannert. 1987. New eimeriid coccidia from the Canarian lizard, Gallotia galloti Oudart, 1839. J. Protozool., 34:231-235.

McAllister, C. T., and S. J. Upton. 1989. Redescription of the oocyst of Eimeria boveroi (Apicomplexa: Eimeriidae) from a house gecko, Hemidactylus mabouia (Sauria: Gekkonidae), with new host record for E. sceloporis. Trans. Amer. Microsc. Soc., 108:92-95.

Stebbins, R. C. 1985. A field guide to western reptiles and amphibians. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 2nd ed., 336 pp.

Telford, S. R., Jr. 1970a. Plasmodium chiricahuae sp. nov. from Arizona lizards. J. Protozool., 17:400-405.

______. 1970b. A comparative study of endoparasitism among some southern California lizard populations. Amer. Midl. Nat., 83:516-554.

Telford, S. R., Jr. and E. C. Bovee. 1964. An eimerian coccidian from lizards of western North America. J. Protozool., 11 (supplement 109):35.


Division of Biology, Ackert Hall, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506 (RRM, SJU), Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045 (RLM), and Department of Biology, Whittier College, Whittier, CA 90608 (SRG)
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:GENERAL NOTES
Author:Mitschler, Ralene R.; Morrison, Randall L.; Goldberg, Stephen R.; Upton, Steve J.
Publication:The Texas Journal of Science
Geographic Code:1U8NM
Date:Nov 1, 1993
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