ECTOPARASITE AND ENDOPARASITE OF WALL GECKO IN NIGERIA

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ECTO AND ENDO PARASITE OF WALL GECKO IN NIGERIA

ABSTRACT

Of seventy sacrificed wall geckos examined for ectoparasites, 18 (25.7%) were infested with soft ticks, 28 (40.0%) with hard ticks and 44 (62.9%) with mites, in mixed infestations of the affected reptiles. On the whole 49 (70.0%) of the geckos were infested with these acarines and except for their smaller size, parasites seen were morphologically indistinguishable from species of genera Argas, Aponoma, Margaropus and Trombicula, respectively. The ectoparasites were indeed all minute organisms measuring from 0.4×0.25 mm to 0.60×0.45 mm on the average. They were bloated in appearance, probably because they were apparently engorged, in host blood and fluid. The acarines seen were generally similar in appearance to the ectoparasites of higher vertebrates but differ in their small size, orange-red appearance and membranous tegument. The habitat of these parasites, in relation to their host abode however, pose a possible risk of zoonosis, if organisms are able to infest man and domestic animals. Feeding of parasites on the blood of gecko also points back to the evolutionary origin of the development of blood feeding habit by ectoparasitic acarine.

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