Yuck! Maggots in the Mouth

In the Dominican countryside, it is widely rumored that you can get worms from the bite of the salta cocote (a.k.a. a crown giant anole belonging to the ricordii group).  It’s easy to see how this rumor might have gotten started when you look in the mouth of a salta cocote!  The A. ricordii in the photo above had a large cluster of maggots in its mouth, as did other individuals from the same locality.  These maggots have some narly teeth that they seemingly use to dig into the flesh on the back of the lizards throat.  We’re taking measures to identify these larvae now, but perhaps somebody can save us the trouble of doing this work ourselves – have these buggers been described?

About Rich Glor

Assistant Professor of Biology at the University of Rochester and longtime anole enthusiast.
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10 Responses to Yuck! Maggots in the Mouth

  1. marthamunoz says:

    Interesting! But what about the other half of the rumor? Locals warned me (unsuccessfully) to keep out of the trees because these anoles jump out of them and bite you on the neck.

  2. Joe Burgess says:

    Do you know if it is Parasitism or Parasitiodism?

  3. bfalk says:

    I think this is really interesting. I also observed maggot-mouth earlier this year, but in Anolis barahonae. It was only in a single individual, so I assumed it was anomalous at the time. This makes me wonder if this is yet another unique Anolis host/parasite relationship… keep us updated!

  4. Kat says:

    Well I can add some more observations of this for Anolis cybotes, although I rarely saw more than 1 maggot per specimen.

  5. Kat says:

    I forgot to add, that the cybotes maggots were larger than the ones you show on the picture. Also, they weren’t rare at all at some sites (I have a pretty good idea of the inside of their mouths, as they usually hiss at me before they bite me).
    Now I wonder whether mom fly was suicidal or just has a long oviposition structure…

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  7. Marta Lopez-Darias says:

    It is not an Anolis exclusive. I just discovered the same thing inside the mouth of Leiocephalus carinatus from Abaco (Bahamas).

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  9. William says:

    Has anyone found an ID on the maggots that they found?

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