Seasonal variability in intensities of ectoparasites of western fence lizards (Sceloporus occidentalis) was quantified in spring, summer, and autumn 2008. Lizards were suspended over pans of water in the laboratory to enumerate replete western black-legged ticks (Ixodes pacificus) and mites. Intensity of ectoparasites was greatest in spring. On average, mites comprised the greatest proportion of ectoparasites, followed by larval and nymphal ticks, respectively. Mites were on lizards year-round. Overall intensity of ticks was greatest in spring, but low during summer and autumn. Males were more heavily parasitized by ticks than females in spring, whereas females had greater intensities of mites in autumn. There was a slight, positive relationship between size of lizard and intensity of ticks, but not with intensity of mites. We report greater intensities of ectoparasites on S. occidentalis than several other studies, which may be due to differences in habitats and methods.
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Vol. 56 • No. 3