Premunition in Plasmodium spp. is the prevention of superinfection by novel genotypes entering an already established infection in a vertebrate host. Evidence for premunition was sought for the lizard malaria parasite, P. mexicanum, in its natural host, the fence lizard, Sceloporus occidentalis. Clonal diversity (= alleles for the haploid parasite) was determined with the use of 3 microsatellite markers. Both naturally infected lizards (N = 25) and previously noninfected lizards (N = 78) were inoculated intraperitoneally (IP) with blood from donor infections and followed over a 3-mo period. Compared to the success of clonal establishment in all the naive lizards (78/78 successful), clones entering preexisting infections had a significant disadvantage (9/25 successful). The number of preexisting clones (1–2 vs. 3–4) within recipient infections had no effect on the success of superinfection. Infections that excluded entering novel clones did not have higher initial asexual parasitemia, but had a higher initial density of gametocytes, suggesting they were older. Infections allowing superinfection experienced a higher final parasitemia.

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