Patterns of infestation by chigger mites in four diurnal lizard species from a restinga habitat (Jurubatiba) of Southeastern Brazil

Padrões de infestação por ácaros em quatro espécies de lagartos diurnos em um ambiente de restinga (Jurubatiba) no Sudeste do Brasil

We studied the parasitism by larvae of the chigger mite Eutrombicula alfreddugesi on the lizard community of Restinga de Jurubatiba, Rio de Janeiro State, Southeastern Brazil. We investigated the patterns of infestation (prevalence and intensity) of chigger mites in four sympatric lizards: Tropidurus torquatus, Mabuya agilis, M. macrorhyncha and Cnemidophorus littoralis. All lizards collected were checked for the presence of mites, which were counted under stereomicroscope. We tested the relationship between intensity of infestation and lizard body size for each species using regression analysis. The prevalences and mean intensities (+ one standard deviation) of infestation on each host species were, respectively: 100%; 86.4 + 94.6 in T. torquatus (n = 62); 100%; 20.9 + 9.3 in M. agilis (n = 7); 100%; 11.1 + 13.1 in M. macrorhyncha (n = 12); and 95.2%; 19.1 + 16.8 in C. littoralis (n = 21). Only for C. littoralis did body size significantly affect the intensity of infestation (r = 0.27, p = 0.02). For all lizard species, the body parts where chiggers occurred with the highest intensity were those of skin folds and joint regions.

chigger mite; parasitism; lizard; restinga habitat

Instituto Internacional de Ecologia R. Bento Carlos, 750, 13560-660 São Carlos SP - Brasil, Tel. e Fax: (55 16) 3362-5400 - São Carlos - SP - Brazil