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Fire Ecology, 2012
Volume 8, Issue 3

Time Since Fire Affects Ectoparasite Prevalence on Lizards in the Florida Scrub Ecosystem
Authors: Earl D. McCoy, Joseph M. Styga, Carol E. Rizkalla, and Henry R. Mushinsky
Pages: 32-40
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0803032

Prevalence of parasites can be an indicator of individual and population health of hosts. Populations of parasites can be affected by habitat management practices, however, which in turn can affect prevalence on hosts. We assessed the influence of varying fire histories on the prevalence of ectoparasites, primarily chiggers (mite larvae of the genus Eutrombicula), on the three most common lizard species resident in the Florida scrub ecosystem. Few individuals of the Florida sand skink (Plestiodon reynoldsi) harbored ectoparasites. The Florida scrub lizard (Sceloporus woodi) and the six-lined racerunner (Aspidoscelis sexlineata) had the highest prevalence of ectoparasites in recently burned (within 3 years) plots. Change in habitat structure or increased mobility of hosts following a recent burn may increase the host-parasite encounter rate.

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