Questions tagged [parasitology]

The study of parasites, their hosts, and the relationship between them.

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Why are scabies mites not found everywhere on the host?

The distribution of scabies lesions is not uniform. Sarcoptes Scabiei mites have an apparent preference for some places on human bodies. They obviously prefer soft places, where they can burrow easily,...
17 votes
1 answer
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What's this stuff that looks like white chainmail armor growing on giant kelp?

I found some giant kelp coated with a material that is white, smooth, and forms a chain-mail pattern with small black oblong lumps in between the links. It feels pretty hard but not stiff (the kelp ...
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Are these little white fuzzy insects "scale"? What species and what is their lifecycle like?

These appeared on three small, similar houseplants I bought about a month earlier at a nursery. There were dozens. I physically removed a few and just pruned stems that had many, and put the clippings ...
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1 answer
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Photo attached of flies ‘injecting’ into spider egg sacs. Why? What’s going on here?

Brisbane, Australia. While no image is available, direct observations were made of flies doing something to the egg sac.
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Difference in time tick spends on host based on feeding location

Does the time a tick remains on a host, and the 'health' of a tick vary depending on the location where it feeds on the host? Do they change locations on the host to find a better environment? I ...
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Why are Anisakiasis infections relatively rare in Japan?

In Japan raw fish are routinely eaten in the form of sushi and sashimi, and frequently no freezing or other preservative treatments have been applied. Even so, incidence of illness due to the common ...
2 votes
1 answer
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Can DNA barcoding be employed to determine the order of an unidentified haematophagous parasite?

Given: a specimen of an unidentified, highly adapted, haematophagous parasite, perhaps a species nova, contaminated with mammal blood and tissue. DNA barcoding is readily used to identify cryptic ...
2 votes
1 answer
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Are there complexity requirements on potential hosts to be susceptible to parasites?

Are there lower bounds to complexity for hosts and how are these described or modeled? In other words, one would expect an organism to have a certain amount of "surplus tissue" in order for ...
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2 votes
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Could you identify the species of this animal attaching to a fish in the Aegean Sea?

While wading within a few meters from the shoreline today, I observed and was observed by a number of curious fish. One of them had a blackish attachment, which was reminiscent of a small aquarium ...
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If a "parasite" is growing on a dead part of the host or on a completely dead host, does it still count as a parasite?

What I mean is the case where the parasite does not contribute to the death of the host (tissue). Instead, the parasite may start growing after the host (tissue) is already dead. I came up with this ...
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4 votes
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Questions about "parasite recursion"

So imagine a parasite of a parasite. Imagine a parasite of that parasite. Then imagine a parasite of that parasite, then a parasite of that parasite, and so on and so forth. Is there a formal term ...
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Can you recognize this larvae that came from a human nose? (probable nasal myiasis?

Those larvae came at least four different times from the nose (inside - from the mucosal) of a 60 year old man from a tropical area in South America. He lives and works in a city with a tropical ...
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DNA extraction from parasitic worm

I have a part of a parasitic worm frozen at -20°C. Do you think that DNA extraction using DNeasy kit without any pre-treatment is sufficient for DNA extraction? Or would you recommend bead beating / ...
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How long does foreign DNA stay intact in human blood?

How aggressively is foreign DNA in blood targeted and degraded by the human body? I am asking because we have a metagenomics project where we want to detect parasite DNA in the human blood. The ...
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Is Pork more prone to carrying higher loads of parasites than Beef?

My friend told me that pork is dangerous due to containing worms. I told her that beef contains worms too and that's why we cook it. We went to steak restaurant and ordered "medium" beef. ...
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How do *Polistes sulcifer* (cuckoo paper wasp) eggs hatch so quickly?

The Polistes sulcifer wasp is a brood parasitic species, which parasitizes colonies of the paper wasp Polistes dominulus. During an extremely brief time window in the spring, just before the P. ...
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1 answer
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What kind of parasite is this?

I found this strange disease on the leaves of a pear tree. I don't know the tree's species but I found it in South Turkey, 150 km from the Mediterranean. What causes this disease?
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How to approach identifying Melampsora species?

I'd like to figure out which species of Melampsora that is growing on this European aspen. What would be the right approach? Would a microscope or other tool help? Is there even more than a single ...
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Can birds pass diseases to humans through contact surfaces?

My friend asked me the following question. She has a pigeon nesting on her window and the pigeon often touches the window, and my friend also sometimes touches the window (e.g. open and close it). The ...
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1 answer
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My dog and I are wondering: is this a biting midge, or another bug?

A week or two ago, my dog started scratching, and it only increased. Not long after, I started getting bit by something that itches something awful. I thought it was fleas so got some medication and ...
-1 votes
1 answer
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What are the environmental conditions for larval Haemonchus contortus to survive?

What is known about the environmental limits for Haemonchus contortus to survive outside of a host organism in its larval stages? I'm interested in knowing: temperature tolerance levels preferred ...
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What's this parasite?

Any microbiologists or parasitologists recognize this? It's from my pet bearded dragon in the eastern US and the vet's never seen it before.
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How would evolution explain parastitic wasps? [duplicate]

I read this article about wasps that can do "brain surgery" on cockroaches. https://www.wired.com/2014/02/absurd-creature-of-the-week-jewel-wasp/ How does evolution create such a thing? The brain ...
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Are there other examples besides wasps' polydnaviruses in which a parasitic species introduces an immunosuppressant virus in the parasite's host?

An interesting form of mutualism: Parasitoid wasps serve as hosts for the virus, and Lepidoptera serve as hosts for these wasps. The female wasp injects one or more eggs into its host along with a ...
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Why is untreated trypanosomiasis invariably fatal in humans?

If left untreated, African trypanosomiasis will invariably kill the patient. The human immune system is unable to clear the infection. I am aware of a few other infectious diseases with this property ...
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Why are bats so resistant to getting disease from viruses? [duplicate]

I saw in the YouTube video COVID-19 that bats carry so many viruses, yet never or almost never get a disease by any of them. I'm looking for an evolutionary reason as well as a reason based on how ...
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A plant in my aquarium seems to be growing small plants under its leaves, what's going on?

In my aquarium I have this plant. I think it's a kind of swordplant. I've loosely attached it to a large piece of driftwood in the hope that it will grow itself on there, I saw that they had done the ...
3 votes
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Long-term viability of induced parthenogenesis

Short version: Some parasitic bacteria, such as Wolbachia, cause hosts from sexually-reproducing insect species to reproduce asexually instead, with an all-female line. Sometimes, all members of the ...
5 votes
1 answer
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The emergence of Phengaris butterflies from ant nests

The butterflies of the Phengaris genus (also known as Maculinea) are known to be brood parasitic. During the fourth instar, the caterpillars leave their food plant and mimic ant larvae, causing the ...
5 votes
1 answer
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How do schistosomes find and attach to human skin?

Schistosomes are parasitic flatworms that have a snail intermediate host and a human definitive host. After developing in the snail, they (cercariae stage) escape into the water and can attach to the ...
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How do parasites "reprogram" brains?

Dicrocoelium dendriticum is a parasite that uses ants as a second intermediate host (which means that ants aren't its primary host/target, but are rather a temporary host to help reach their main/...
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Viability of Toxoplasmosis oocysts on dry smooth surfaces

This is a weird question. My wife is terrified of contracting toxoplasmosis during pregnancy and I was hoping I could get an expert opinion here to potentially make her feel better. She recently ...
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How to isolate a high proportion of available helminth ova from animal faeces/feces without damaging them?

I need to isolate large numbers (tens to hundreds of thousands) of cat (and later dog) hookworm ova from cat/dog faeces. I have a centrifuge, and various sieves with pore sizes of 20, 63, 75, 106, ...
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What does it mean for Caenorhabditis species to be "pseudoparasitic"?

In this Wormbook chapter, Kiontke says that some Caenorhabditis species live "pseudoparasitically" on warm-blooded animals. What does it mean? What is a pseudoparasite? I understand a parasite to be ...
1 vote
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Why some eggs are bile stained?

Why eggs of some helminths( Diphyllobothrium latum, Trichuris trichiura, Ascaris lumbricoides etc) are stained with bile while eggs of other helminths( Hymenolepis nana, Enterobius vermicularis etc.) ...
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6 votes
3 answers
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Why do so many parasites infect definitive and intermediate hosts rather than just one host?

Many parasites infect multiple host species, with one host species being the definitive host (where the parasite reproduces), and the other host species being the intermediate host (where the parasite ...
22 votes
2 answers
3k views

Are some people more 'attractive' to mosquitos? If so, is that a hereditary trait?

Mosquitos clearly love me-- but I have been told I am just more reactive to mosquito bites. Are some people more 'attractive' to mosquitos (get bit more)? Or is it just that they are more reactive? If ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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can one be infected with Naegleria fowleri by taking Steam?

will Naegleria fowleri be present in the steam molecules. Many people take steam from hot water to get relief from sinus. I read somewhere that Naegleria fowleri gets killed over 70 C. So steam will ...
6 votes
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Are there any plants that parasitize on animals?

It seems, fungi often infect animals, while plants it seems, never. Is it because the cellulose cell walls make them incompatible with animal tissue?
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Can toilet or sewage aerosol transfer eggs of human parasites?

Flushing a toilet produces hundreds of thousands of tiny droplets containing viruses and bacteria (source). Additionally vomit and feces of infected people sometimes contain extremely high ...
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Found in blood sample - what is it? Hopefully not a nemotode-

After examining someone's blood - through microscope - I found these. There were some more that were not photographed. Could someone please inform me on what these are? Maybe abiotic material on the ...
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1 answer
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Why are there no endoparasitic mammals or reptiles or birds? [closed]

I am curious why there aren’t any endoparasitic mammals, reptiles or birds Endoparasite being a parasite that live In the host whereas ectoparasite lives On the host I hope this clears up confusion
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Are there any parasites that alter human behavior in a self destructive way?

There seems to be quite a few examples of parasites taking over the behavior of insects in a way that leads to the death of the host. A couple of examples include: Spinochordodes tellinii: A ...
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Exclusion Limit and permeability of outer membrane

According to this textbook: P aeruginosa, for example, which is extremely resistant to antibacterial agents, the outer membrane is 100 times less permeable than that of E coli.[pg.no 27] and then ...
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Could there be latent infections in the human population that we don't know of?

Herpes simplex 1 virus and toxoplasmosis are common infections that that many of use have (65% and 10% of americans, respectively). Both of these are chronic, latent infections that can occasionally ...
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Sub-saharan africans (Andamanese, Semang) have the ancestral hair-type, do they also have pediculus humanus capitis lice?

Do humans with the ancestral hair-type also have pediculus humanus capitis lice? Pubic hair lice, Pthirus pubis, are adapted morphologically to cling onto coarse body hair, and originates from ...
1 vote
1 answer
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Do Pthirus gorillae remain in gorilla leaf nests after gorillas migrate and abandon them?

Gorillas build leaf nests to sleep in. Do the lice which parasitise gorillas, Pthirus gorilla, remain in gorilla leaf nests after gorillas migrate to new regions (and abandon the old nests)?
3 votes
1 answer
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Why don't mosquitoes target the visible blood vessels under the skin?

We can see numerous veins under our skin. Why don't mosquitoes suck blood from those vessels? Why don't they use better option?
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Mackerel evolutionary health affected by loss of predators?

I notice that Atlantic Mackerel (Scombrus scombrus) is endemically affected by parasites. In one study I read that the researchers found that over 70% of the mackerel sampled were infected with ...
11 votes
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How does the immune system fight scabies mites?

After a distressing episode involving my elderly mother and a nursing home, I've been reading up on scabies. It seems that in healthy people, the immune system limits the mite population to around 10 ...
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