Control ectoparasites in wild reptile populations

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
    not assessed
  • Certainty
    not assessed
  • Harms
    not assessed

Study locations

Key messages

  • One study evaluated the effects on reptile populations of controlling ectoparasites in wild reptile populations. This study was in New Zealand.



  • Reproductive success (1 study): One controlled study in New Zealand found that McCann’s skinks treated for mites had more successful pregnancies and produced more viable offspring than untreated skinks.


About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A controlled study in 2004 and 2007 in laboratory conditions in South Island, New Zealand (Hare et al. 2010) found that treating mites on wild-caught pregnant female McCann’s skinks Oligosoma maccanni with vegetable oil improved pregnancy success and offspring viability. When mites were treated with vegetable oil, the majority of wild-caught pregnant female McCann’s skinks gave birth successfully (22 of 30 skinks completed pregnancy successfully, 2 of 30 skinks had partially successful pregnancies), whereas when mites were not treated, most pregnancies were not successful (1 of 17 skinks had a partially successful pregnancy). Female McCann’s skinks treated for mites produced more viable offspring (2.6 offspring/female), compared to when mites were not treated (0.1 offspring/female). Two weeks after initial treatment with oil, 14 of 30 female skinks showed signs of mites still being present. After 28 days (and two treatments of oil), no live mites were observed. In October 2004 and 2007, pregnant female McCann’s skinks were taken from the wild and maintained in controlled temperature and lighting conditions in individual containers (2004: 17 individuals; 2007: 30 individuals; see original paper for details). In 2004, all skinks had scale mites and were not treated. In 2007, all skinks were treated for mites using sunflower oil following capture. Skinks were checked for mites and retreated with oil as necessary on the 14th day (all skinks oiled), 28th (only those skinks with raised scales were re-oiled) and 56th (no skinks were re-oiled) day following capture.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Sainsbury K.A., Morgan W.H., Watson M., Rotem G., Bouskila A., Smith R.K. & Sutherland W.J. (2021) Reptile Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions for reptiles. Conservation Evidence Series Synopsis. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

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Reptile Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Reptile Conservation
Reptile Conservation

Reptile Conservation - Published 2021

Reptile synopsis

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