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Does the African native host explain the African origin of the parasite? The Maltese Geckobia estherae n. sp. parasitic on Tarentola mauritanica (Acari: Raphignathoidea: Pterygosomatidae)

Bertrand, M. ; Pfliegler, W.P. and Sciberras, A.

2012 - Volume: 52 Issue: 4 pages: 353-366


Geckobia Pteygosomatidae Tarentola Gekkonidae parasites host-parasite relationship adaptation biogeography


As in other geographic situations, Maltese populations of the common Mediterranean wall gecko, Tarentola mauritanica, were found to be simultaneously infested by two species of geckobians, Geckobia loricata and Geckobia estherae n.sp.. The latter species exhibits modified scale-like setae. The geckobians, protected ventrally by such scale-like setae, are widely distributed: in and around the Mediterranean Basin, these species were described notably on Phyllodactylidae (Tarentola). Most of them belong to the group I defined by Jack (1964) considering the leg chaetotaxy. The distribution of geckobians allied to the new species is discussed and correlated to the most recent knowledge on the genus Tarentola. The host being primarily African, the possible African origin and the dispersion by wall geckoes of these geckobians is discussed. As far as we know, such scaly species are not present in South or North America. The acquisition of this adaptation should therefore date from the early Cenozoic. The authors conclude that new investigations are necessary to examine this hypothesis on the Mediterranean gekkotans. Three identification keys are provided, a general key for the genera, one improved key for the identification of the groups of species of the geckobians, and the third for the described species with scale like setae.

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2012 Bertrand, M.; Pfliegler, W.P. and Sciberras, A.
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