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Parapharyngodon sanjuanensis (Nematoda, Pharyngodonidae) in the lizard Phymaturus extrilidus (Iguania, Liolaemidae) from Puna region, Argentina


Key words

Argentina, Lizards, Nematode, Parapharyngodon sanjuanensis, Phymaturus extrilidus, San Juan

Reception date: 20/03/2020  |   Acceptation date: 08/07/2020  |   Publication date: 10/07/2020

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Parapharyngodon sanjuanensis (Nematoda, Pharyngodonidae) in the lizard Phymaturus extrilidus (Iguania, Liolaemidae) from Puna region, Argentina


Parapharyngodon sanjuanensis (Nematoda, Pharyngodonidae) in the lizard Phymaturus extrilidus (Iguania, Liolaemidae) from Puna region, Argentina

Studies about nematodes in lizards from Argentina are scarce. Here we report the finding in the province of San Juan, Argentina, of Parapharyngodon sanjuanensis from the large intestine of Phymaturus extrilidus (Squamata, Liolaemidae). This finding extends the geographical distribution and host range of this parasitic nematode.

Key words: Argentina, Lizard, Nematode, Parapharyngodon sanjuanensis, Phymaturus extrilidus, San Juan


Parapharyngodon sanjuanensis (Nematoda, Pharyngodonidae) en el lagarto Phymaturus extrilidus (Iguania, Liolaemidae) en la región de la Puna, Argentina

Los estudios sobre nematodos en lagartos de Argentina son escasos. Parapharyngodon sanjuanensis se registró en el intestino grueso de Phymaturus extrilidus (Squamata, Liolaemidae) en la provincia de San Juan, Argentina. De esta forma, se amplían la distribución geográfica y el rango de hospedadores de este nematodo parásito.

Palabras claves: Argentina, Lagarto, Nematodo, Parapharyngodon sanjuanensis, Phymaturus extrilidus, San Juan


Parapharyngodon sanjuanensis (Nematoda, Pharyngodonidae) en el llangardaix Phymaturus extrilidus (Iguania, Liolaemidae) a la regió de la Puna, Argentina

Els estudis sobre nematodes en llangardaixos de l’Argentina són escassos. Parapharyngodon sanjuanensis es va registrar a l’intestí gros de Phymaturus extrilidus (Squamata, Liolaemidae) a la província de San Juan, Argentina. Així s’amplien la distribució geogràfica i el rang d’hostes d’aquest nematode paràsit.

Paraules clau: Argentina, Llangardaix, Nematode, Parapharyngodon sanjuanensis, Phymaturus extrilidus, San Juan


Phymaturus Gravenhorst, 1838 comprises 38 species including two large clades, the palluma and the patagonicus groups (Lobo et al., 2013). Within this latter group, the Precordilleran lizard Phymaturus extrilidus, endemic to Sierras de las Invernadas (Wintering Mountain Range) (Lobo et al., 2012), occupies a restricted geographic range. This species is a habitat-use specialist, viviparous, and herbivorous (Laspiur and Acosta, 2012). According to the most recent classification of lizards and amphibians in Argentina, it is considered a vulnerable species (Abdala et al., 2012).

Pharyngodonidae include intestinal parasites of herbivorous, omnivorous and insectivorous lizards that are strictly monoxenous (Castillo et al., 2019). Thirteen species are assigned from the Neotropical region to the genus Parapharyngodon (Castillo and Acosta, 2019). To date, two species of Parapharyngodon nematodes have been found in Phymaturus lizards in Argentina;
Parapharyngodon riojensis in Phymaturus punae Cei, Etheridge and Videla, 1985 from La Rioja Province (Ramallo et al., 2002) and in Phymaturus extrilidus Lobo, Espinoza, Sanabria and Quiroga, 2012 from San Juan Province (Ramallo et al., 2017) and Parapharyngodon sanjuanensis in Phymaturus punae and Phymaturus williamsi Lobo, Laspiur and Acosta, 2013 from San Juan, respectively (Ramallo et al., 2016).

The purpose of this paper is to describe a new host of P. sanjuanensis in Argentina.

Materials and methods

The study area is the Don Carmelo Private Nature Reserve, Ullum Department (31º 10′ S, 69º 46′ W, 3,000 m a.s.l.), province of San Juan, Argentina (fig. 1). This area is representative of the Puna phytogeographic province, where the climate is cold and dry. The predominant vegetation is shrub steppe, with herbaceous plants and wetland systems (Cabrera, 1971). Samplings were performed in April 2014. One adult male specimen of Phymaturus extrilidus was captured (fig. 2) using the sliding noose technique. The specimen was sacrificed by administering intraperitoneal injections of a euthanasia solution, Euthanyle® (sodium pentobarbital), fixed in Bouin’s solution for 24 h, labeled, and stored in 70 % ethyl alcohol. The studied specimen was deposited in the herpetological collection of the Biology Department of the School of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences, National University of San Juan (UNSJ #2277). All applicable national and institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.

Fig. 1. Map showing the location of the study area. Fig. 1. Mapa mostrando la localización del área de estudio.

Fig. 2. Specimen of Phymaturus extrilidus. Fig. 2. Ejemplar de Phymaturus extrilidus.

The captured lizard was dissected for extraction of nematodes through a longitudinal ventral incision from mouth to anus. The digestive tract was removed and examined with a stereoscopic binocular microscope. The nematodes were collected and stored in 70º ethanol. Nematode observation and identification was performed using the diaphanization by lactophenol technique. Nematodes were deposited in the Helminthological Collection Miguel Lillo Foundation (CH-FML # 07779), San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina.

Results and Discussion

Analysis of the gastrointestinal content in P. extrilidus (n = 1) revealed the presence of 28 adult nematodes (15 females, 13 males) in the large intestine. Nematodes were identified as
P. sanjuanensis on the basis of the following characteristics: males possess 8 caudal papillae, 6 of which are large and pedunculate, and 2 are small, almost inconspicuous; anterior lip echinate, posterior lip bilobate; females possess prominent vulva and short stiff tail spike.

The present report expands the number of host species, representing a valuable contribution to parasitological knowledge in P. extrilidus and adding to knowledge of this species in cordilleran ecosystems.


We thank the Sub-Secretary of the Environment for the permits granted and Arturo Curatola for allowing us to carry out this research on Don Carmelo Private Reserve. The authors declare no competing interests.


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