Spatio-temporal variation in diet and its association with parasitic helminths in ameivula pyrrhogularis (Squamata: Teiidae) from northeast Brazil

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We investigated the spatial and temporal variation of the diet of the Brazilian whiptail Ameivula pyrrhogularis using lizards sampled in four Caatinga locations, during the rainy and dry seasons 2015-2016. We also evaluated the importance of diet in the transmission of helminths, considering that changes in the environment can influence the diet and can be one important factor in the transmission of parasites. The predominant food items consumed were insects of Isoptera, Coleoptera, and Lepidoptera. We observed only spatial diet variations what may be a reflection of changes in the foraging strategies of the lizard influenced by environmental pressures, whether due to local characteristics or human activities. As for parasitism, we found 43% overall prevalence of a helminth, distributed among Cestoda, Acanthocephala, and Nematoda. In the analysis of the association between diet and helminth fauna, there was a positive correlation of adult insects of Coleoptera with the abundance of the cestode Oochoristica travassosi. Although the biological cycle of O. travassosi is unknown, given this correlation, it is possible that these prey are intermediate hosts of this cestode. The present study can help to understand the relative importance of diet and foraging strategies of A. pyrrhogularis in Caatinga environments. In addition, the interaction of invertebrates and parasites is extremely relevant to comprehend the biological cycle of helminths with a heteroxenous cycle and their transmission mechanisms.




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Herpetological Conservation and Biology, v. 14, n. 2, p. 325-336, 2019.

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