The prevalence of malaria parasites was studied in the lizard Anolis gundlachi over a 9-yr period at a site in the wet evergreen forest of eastern Puerto Rico. Three forms of the parasite infected the lizards; these were Plasmodium floridense, Plasmodium azurophilum in erythrocytes, and P. azurophilum in white blood cells. Overall prevalence of infection for 8 samples during the study period was significantly higher for males than females (32% of 3,296 males and 22% of 1,439 females). During the study, the site experienced substantial climatic and physical disturbance including rising temperature, droughts, and hurricanes that severely damaged the forest. Parasite prevalence in the first sample, 8 mo after the massive hurricane Hugo, was slightly, though significantly, lower than for subsequent samples. However, overall prevalence was stable during the 9-yr period. The results show malaria prevalence is more constant at the site than found for 2 studies in temperate forests, and that the Puerto Rico system may be an example of the stable, endemic malaria described by standard models for human malaria epidemiology.

You do not currently have access to this content.