Salmonella carriage patterns in wild and captive reptiles suggest that both geographical proximity and host ecological differences may determine bacterial diversity among reptile populations. In this study, we explore the relative importance of these factors on Salmonella diversity in free-living Galápagos iguanas. We isolated Salmonella enterica from marine iguanas (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) and land iguanas (Conolophus subcristatus and C. pallidus) living on two islands (Plaza Sur and Santa Fe). We evaluated Salmonella population patterns using genomic fingerprints, sequence typing and serotyping. Rep-PCR fingerprinting revealed significant grouping of isolates by iguana population. Island residence had the strongest effect on isolate similarity, but a smaller divergence among Salmonella isolates from different iguana ecotypes (land versus marine) was detected within each island. In contrast, sequence typing detected a marginal difference in isolate genotypes between islands. Sequence types corresponded strongly to serotype identity, with both islands hosting a unique serovar pool. Our findings suggest that both geographical location and host ecotype differences (either from within host strain selection or from differences in habitat use) contribute to Salmonella population patterns in the Galápagos Islands.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)