I have been studying the distribution of malarial parasites of lizards in
the Caribbean islands. How do these parasites reach islands?
Parasitological lore holds that malaria comes to islands in its
vertebrate host rather than in the vector. This is assumed because only
a very small fraction of a vector population is infected, and only a
small fraction of these ever live long enough to pass the parasite to
another vertebrate host. So, the chance that an infected mosquito could
be blown (fly?) to an island, live through this, and then take another
blood meal is small. An infected vertebrate host is much more likely to
move from mainland to island, or from island to island....and arrive on
an island where the vector species has already become established.
Any opinions on this tale? Anyone know of references that argue this way,
with any kind of supporting data, or is this story just another
parasitology tale without real support? Thanks Joe Schall