New Zealand Journal of Ecology (2010) 34(2): 247- 252

Salmonella enterica serovars in lizards of New Zealand’s offshore islands

Research Article
Danielle M.R.L. Middleton 1*
Edward O. Minot 1
Brett D. Gartrell 2
  1. Ecology Group, Institute of Natural Resources, Massey University, Private Bag 11-222, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand
  2. New Zealand Wildlife Health Centre, IVABS, Massey University, Private Bag 11-222, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand
*  Corresponding author

The translocation of animals between populations is becoming a common conservation technique, which, in addition to the target species, unfortunately inevitably involves any parasitic organisms they host. Many of these organisms can become pathogenic in a new environment. We assessed the prevalence of intestinal carriage of Salmonellaislands off the coast of New Zealand. Cloacal swabs were obtained from 703 lizards and cultured for Salmonella, using four aerobic enrichment and culture methods at two incubation temperatures. We recorded six environmental and physical variables that may affect Salmonella carriage. Logistic regression revealed that two variables were significantly correlated to the presence/absence of Salmonella. In general, Salmonella was found predominantly but not exclusively in six species of lizard and in beach habitats. Salmonella prevalence on the islands was not correlated to previous lizard translocations to the island. More research is required to determine the pathogenicity to New Zealand wildlife of the Salmonella serovars identified in this study. Pending further research, translocations of the six species highlighted in this study or to beach habitats should include disease screening in order to prevent the spread of this potential pathogen.