Research Article

Physiological and behaviour changes in common lizards parasitized by haemogregarines

A. Oppligera1, M. L. Célériera1 and J. Cloberta1 c1

a1 Laboratoire d'Ecologie, URA 258, CNRS, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Bât A, 7ème étage, case 237, 7 quai St-Bernard, 75252 Paris Cedex 05, France


The effect of haemoparasites on the physiology and behaviour traits of their hosts was examined using Haemogregarina sp., a parasite of the common lizard, Lacerta vivipara, from the south of France. Infection with haemogregarines was associated with a reduced haemoglobin concentration and an increased number of immature red blood cells. Parasitized individuals also showed a reduced oxygen consumption at rest and a lower locomotor speed. We also found that the multiplication rate of the parasite depended on the temperature at which the lizard was maintained. Between 21 and 28 °C the multiplication rate of the parasite was significantly lower than between 29 and 35 °C. This suggests that the parasites may suffer reproductive costs when hosts reduce their body temperature.

(Received February 26 1996)

(Revised May 29 1996)

(Accepted May 29 1996)


c1 Corresponding author. Tel: + 33 1 44272545. Fax: + 33 1 44273516. E-mail: