Synopsis of the helminth communities of the lacertid lizards from the Balearic and Canary Islands

  • Vicente Roca Departament de Zoologia, Facultat de Ciències Biològiques, Universitat de València. Dr. Moliner 50, 46100 Burjassot, Spain;
  • Fátima Jorge
  • Miguel Ángel Carretero


Helminth communities of reptiles have usually been considered as depauperate and isolationist, with low abundance and species richness when compared to other vertebrates. Nevertheless there are some insular reptile populations in which this general rule is not fulfilled. In this study, we compare helminth faunas from two groups of lizards living in two different archipelagos and having different feeding habits. Lacertid lizards from Canary Islands, belonging to the endemic genus Gallotia, showed by contrast with other lacertids, a tendency to high consumption of plant matter and to rich and diverse helminth communities. Differences were found even between the lizards living in different islands, being the “giant lizard” G. stehlini the most herbivorous and G. atlantica the most carnivorous. Podarcis spp. from Balearic Islands showed lower tendency to herbivory which was not mirrored in their helminth communities. The composition and structure of helminth communities of lacertid lizards from both archipelagos are related to the conditions of insularity and the phylogeny of the hosts.

Research Papers