JMIH 2016: Malarial Infection Rates Greater in Anolis carolinensis than Anolis sagrei in Central Florida

Cells infected with P. floridense (left and right) vs. healthy cells (middle)

Cells infected with P. floridense (left and right) vs. healthy cells (middle)

Brian Devlin, a graduate student from University of Central Florida, presented a poster on differential rates of malarial infection by Plasmodium floridense between two Anolis species in Central Florida. While both species exist in the area, A. sagrei is the more recent invader. Brian hypothesized that the infection rate would be higher in A. sagrei because A. carolinensis has coexisted with the parasite longer and might have developed some resistance to it.

Brian collected blood samples from both species and examined the cells under the microscopes to look for signs of malarial infection.  He actually found that the infection rates of P. floridense were significantly greater in A. carolinensis. Infection rate also did not correlate with SVL, sex, presence of tail autonomy, date or locality of the lizard. However, there is a higher rate of infection in the warmer months (May-July) possibly due to the in increase rainfall resulting greater mosquito presence. From these results, Brian hypothesized that the lower malarial infection rates in A. sagrei might have helped the species to outcompete A. carolinensis and successfully establish in Florida.

Brian's poster

Brian’s poster


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