Studying the brown anole (Anolis sagrei) in Taiwan has presented me with numerous new opportunities, one of which is an introduction into parasitology.
The first parasites I found in A. sagrei in Taiwan were relatively large worm-like parasites that are often visible as a lump under the skin of the lizard. Unfortunately, my first samples were lost by the person I had sent them to for identification. But luckily, I found some more, and with the assistance of C.R. Bursey and S.R. Goldberg, the parasites were identified as the nymphs of the pentastome, Kiricephalus pattoni. Together we reported A. sagrei as a new host of this parasite in Taiwan (Norval et al., 2009).
In our most recent parasite related publication (Norval et al., 2011), another parasite, the nematode, Cyrtosomum penneri shed some more light on the history of A. sagrei in Taiwan. A study by Kolbe et al. (2004) showed that A. sagrei from Hawaii and Taiwan originated from Florida, but could not indicate if the introductions were related. Since the nematodes Cyrtosomum scelopori and Physaloptera squamatae were recorded in previous studies done on A. sagrei in Hawaii, but were absent from A. sagrei in our study, and because the dominant nematode (C. penneri) from our study, was not recorded in Hawaii, it seems that the introduction of A. sagrei in these two localities were isolated incidents (… and who said only a little bird can tell you something?).
However, now it must be determined if C. penneri can become established in native Taiwanese lizards, and at the same time it would be interesting to know if A. sagrei will acquire any more of the native parasites.