Did you know that many medium to large goannas are host to the blood-feeding arachnids we know as ticks?

The Northern Territory is home to more species of goanna than anywhere else in the world so it is no wonder that Dr Stephen Barker, a parasitologist from the University of Queensland, is interested in the goanna collection held at MAGNT.

Eloise Wigger, MAGNT Technical Officer, has been busy picking ticks from the “armpits” of goanna specimens which will be sent to Queensland for further study. Questions this collaboration will help to answer include:

Which tick species are host specific, feeding on just one species of goanna?

Which tick species feed on many different species of goanna?

Ticks that feed on different species are of particular interest as they are capable of transmitting disease from one species of goanna to another. This is one example of how museum collections contain a variety of information that often leads to new and exciting discoveries.


Museum and Art Gallery
of the Northern Territory

GPO Box 4646,
Darwin NT 0801

+61 8 8999 8264
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MAGNT acknowledges the traditional owners of country across the Northern Territory and beyond, and pays respect to Elders past, present and emerging.
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ABN  22 932 713 682