The guest playing host: colonization of the introduced Mediterranean gecko, Hemidactylus turcicus, by helminth parasites in southeastern Louisiana. Academic Article uri icon


  • Parasite surveys of exotic hosts offer the opportunity to examine parasite colonization on different scales (i.e., host individual, host population, host species, and new geographic locality). Ten helminths (Macracanthorhynchus ingens, Mesocestoides lineatus, Oochoristica javaensis, Haematoloechus varioplexus, Mesocoelium monas, Telorchis corti, Cosmocercoides variabilis, Oswaldocruzia leidyi, Skrjabinoptera sp., and a larval acuariid nematode) were recovered from the exotic Mediterranean gecko Hemidactylus turcicus, in southeastern Louisiana. Only 1 exotic parasite, O. javaensis, colonized a new geographic locality, but 7 local helminths colonized a new host species. Helminth communities of H. turcicus were similar in structure to what has been hypothesized or observed for lizards. Thus, communities were composed of generalists and were depauperate (i.e., colonization of individual geckos or host populations was rare for most of the helminths); however, there was significant variation in community structure among local habitats. Although the gecko's behavioral and physiological attributes predict colonization by monoxenous helminths, only 2, C. variabilis and O. leidyi, were recovered. Eight heteroxenous helminths, 2 of which (the acuariid and O. javaensis) were the most widely distributed and abundant, were the better colonizers. The gecko's generalist diet may have exposed it to a diverse parasite fauna and thus been important in determining the helminths that could colonize.

published proceedings

  • J Parasitol

author list (cited authors)

  • Criscione, C. D., & Font, W. F.

citation count

  • 35

complete list of authors

  • Criscione, CD||Font, WF

publication date

  • December 2001