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Physiological and behaviour changes in common lizards parasitized by haemogregarines

  • A. Oppliger (a1), M. L. Célérier (a1) and J. Clobert (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 April 2009

The effect of haemoparasites on the physiology and behaviour traits of their hosts was examined using Haemogregarina sp., a parasite of the common lizard, Lacerta vivipara, from the south of France. Infection with haemogregarines was associated with a reduced haemoglobin concentration and an increased number of immature red blood cells. Parasitized individuals also showed a reduced oxygen consumption at rest and a lower locomotor speed. We also found that the multiplication rate of the parasite depended on the temperature at which the lizard was maintained. Between 21 and 28 °C the multiplication rate of the parasite was significantly lower than between 29 and 35 °C. This suggests that the parasites may suffer reproductive costs when hosts reduce their body temperature.

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