Leech in my reptiles mouth?

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jagerz
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2016 1:17 am

Leech in my reptiles mouth?

#1 Post by jagerz » Tue Oct 18, 2016 1:27 pm

I'm guessing this is a leech that I found in my reptiles mouth? It was visible by eye and I used a q-tip to get it out, here a pics at 40x0.1.
Please let me know for sure what you guys think, she only had one, but one of the other Florida wild caught chameleons I found had >20 in his mouth. I removed them all manually with q-tips.

P.S. Yes I do check their feces regularly and give them medicine, I am only wondering about this (leech?) and how/why it would be affecting the wild caught chameleons I catch. She is 4/8 wild caughts to have these present.

http://imgur.com/DMu6vV6
http://imgur.com/tciD4Nw
http://imgur.com/DQ4RdJC

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75RR
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Re: Leech in my reptiles mouth?

#2 Post by 75RR » Tue Oct 18, 2016 1:50 pm

Can't see the forest for the trees
Take images at 4x and 10x
Zeiss Standard WL (somewhat fashion challenged) & Wild M8
Olympus E-P2 (Micro Four Thirds Camera)

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SunshineLW
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Re: Leech in my reptiles mouth?

#3 Post by SunshineLW » Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:36 am

jagerz wrote:I'm guessing this is a leech that I found in my reptiles mouth? It was visible by eye and I used a q-tip to get it out, here a pics at 40x0.1.
Please let me know for sure what you guys think, she only had one, but one of the other Florida wild caught chameleons I found had >20 in his mouth. I removed them all manually with q-tips.
That appears to be a Fluke (Trematode); however, I cannot confirm species without examining a specimen. I came to this conclusion by identifying the characteristic dorsal and ventral suckers, as well as the two, symmetrical testis located immediately caudal to the ventral sucker. This is quite unusual because, in general, flukes are rare in lizard. Lizards are more likely to function as an intermediate host and, therefore, contain immature stages of the parasite (i.e., egg --> miracidia --> sporocyst --> cercaria --> metacercaria), rather than the adult (i.e., fluke) stages of the parasite.

Platynosomum fastosum is a trematode that is notoriously found in Florida chameleons. It has recently been shown that lizards (ex., green anole) function as a paratenic host (PH). If a PH (i.e., reptile or amphibian) ingests a 2nd intermediate host (i.e., terrestrial isopod) containing encysted metacercariae, then the encysted metacercaria will undergo excystation within the PH. This free-living, excysted metacercaria then resides free in the biliary ducts and gallbladder of the PH. This free-living metacercaria stage resembles the adult fluke stage, so it is likely that this is what you have found; however, assuming that those are testis (https://imgur.com/tciD4Nw: roundish-globular, bilaterally symmetrical, transparent structures located immediately caudal to the ventral sucker), then this is most likely an adult fluke.

It is my opinion that the Platynosomum fastosum life cycle is incompletely understood. Therefore, this could be an unreported phenomenon of adult flukes in the oral cavity. Here is a recent publication where I have attained the majority of my information [Pinto, Hudson A., Vitor L. T. Mati, and Alan L. De Melo. “New Insights into the Life Cycle of Platynosomum (Trematoda: Dicrocoeliidae).” Parasitology Research 113.7 (2014): 2701-707. Web. 6 Aug. 2017.)]. The article contains an image of the free metacercaria stage, as well as images of the other life stages.

With respect to Platynosomum fastosum, there is no known zoonotic risk (i.e., transmission from animals to humans); however, domestic and wild cats are the primary definitive host and, therefore, are at risk of infection.

If you would be willing to send me a sample, I would try my best to identify the parasite for you. Otherwise, I would recommend taking an infected chameleon to see a veterinarian with experience in treating reptiles and knowledge about Platynosomum fastosum. Assuming your chameleons were collected from the same environment, it is highly likely the your other chameleon are similarly infected.

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