Assessing reptile health on Christmas Island

Date: 01, Dec, 2019
Author(s):   Agius, J.
Publisher: Ecological Society of Australia

Infectious diseases are an increasing threat to wildlife populations worldwide, and have been associated with species declines and extinctions, particularly on islands. In 2014, a novel Enterococcus bacterium was discovered in the captive breeding population of Lister’s geckos (Lepidodactylus listeri) and blue-tailed skinks (Cryptoblepharus egeriae) on Christmas Island and resulted in the deaths of over 50 individuals. This outbreak prompted a more in-depth health analysis of Christmas Island reptiles, which was undertaken by Threatened Species Recovery Hub PhD candidate Jessica Agius, from The University of Sydney. The assessment additionally discovered two papillomaviruses and several parasites in both invasive and endemic geckos.