Sighting

Matthew Connors 7 Aug 2017

Pentastomid Gecko Parasite

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Sighted 16 Mar 2017
1 James Cook Dr, Douglas QLD 4814, Australia

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Identifications

  • Ken Walker 8 August 2017
    Waddycephalus
    (genus)
    Taxonomy: Animalia: Arthropoda: Maxillopoda: Porocephalida: Sambonidae: Waddycephalus
    Ken Walker says

    The identification was made by a colleague at Melbourne University. It's a Crustacean nymph parasite of all things. Pentastomiasis (also known as Porocephalosis) is a disease caused by infection with pentastomids. Pentastomids or Rallietellids are endoparasites of the respiratory system of vertebrates, maturing primarily in carnivorous reptiles (eg. snakes). Adult and larval pentastomids can cause severe pathology resulting in the death of their intermediate and definitive hosts. These parasites have an indirect life cycle involving one of more intermediate host. A closely related parasite genus Raillietiella was found to use frogs as an intermediate host in frog eating snakes. Nymphs of Waddycephalus have been recorded in numerous taxa (e.g. dasyurids, elapids, geckos, skinks, frogs, and owls) but it is unclear whether these animals are viable intermediate hosts or accidental hosts in which the parasite will not develop further or will transfer to other hosts. Considering the diet of known definitive hosts of Waddycephalus, frogs and/or lizards are the most plausible intermediate host for these parasites. For more information, see: https://www.wildlifehealthaustralia.com.au/Portals/0/Documents/FactSheets/Reptiles/Pentastomiasis%20in%20Australian%20snakes%20Jul%202014%20(1.1).pdf

    2 votes
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Notes

  • Matthew Connors 7 August 2017
    Tagged With unknown parasite
    Matthew Connors says

    I have absolutely no idea what this parasite is - I wouldn't even be able to say what phylum it belongs to! An Asian House Gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus) had made its way into my kitchen one evening and when I caught it to take it outside I realised that it had an open wound on its leg. As I looked closer, something within the leg began to move, and this strange worm-like creature began crawling out (could it have been attracted by my body heat??). It had no visible features but was segmented and had a clear 'head' end that was thinner than the back portion, and it crawled around slowly once completely outside the gecko. I released both of them outside, although I doubt the parasite would have survived outside its host, and washed my hands thoroughly! I cannot find any information online about this sort of parasite in geckos or any other reptiles, and I'm completely at a loss as to what it could be - in terms of overall shape it looks somewhat like a leech, but that's really just a wild stab in the dark, as I've never heard of a leech like this before. Can anyone help?

    1 votes
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  • Matthew Connors 8 August 2017
    Tagged With wow
    Matthew Connors says

    Wow, thanks Ken! I'm continually amazed at how strange crustaceans are

    0 votes
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