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Halla, Ursula (2015): Untersuchungen zum Blutparasitenstatus importierter Reptilien: Blood parasites in reptiles imported to Germany. Dissertation, LMU München: Tierärztliche Fakultät



Though international trade is increasing, the significance of imported reptiles as carriers of pathogens with relevance to animal and human health is largely unknown. Reptiles imported to Germany were therefore investigated for blood parasites using light microscopy and the detected parasites were morphologically characterized. 410 reptiles belonging to 17 species originating from eleven Asian, South American and African countries were included. Parasites were detected in 117 (29 %) of individual reptiles and in twelve species. Haemococcidea (Haemogregarina, Hepatozoon, Schellackia) were found in 84 % of snakes (Python regius, Corallus caninus), 20 % of lizards (Acanthocercus atricollis, Agama agama, Kinyongia fischeri, Gekko gecko) and 50 % of turtles (Pelusios castaneus). Infections with Hematozoea (Plasmodium, Sauroplasma) were detected in 14 % of lizards (A. atricollis, A. agama, Agama mwanzae, K. fischeri, Furcifer pardalis, Xenagama batillifera, Acanthosaura capra, Physignathus cocincinus), while Kinetoplastea (Trypanosoma) were found in 9 % of snakes (P. regius, C. caninus) and 25 % of lizards (K. fischeri, A. capra, G. gecko). Nematoda including filarial larvae parasitized in 10 % of lizards (A. agama, A. mwanzae, K. fischeri, F. pardalis, P. cocincinus). Light microscopy mostly allowed diagnosis of the parasites’ genus, while species identification was not possible because of limited morphological characters available for parasitic developmental stages. The investigation revealed a high percentage of imported reptiles being carriers of parasites while possible vectors and pathogenicity are largely unknown so far. The spreading of hemoparasites thus represents an incalculable risk for pet reptiles, native herpetofauna and even human beings.