Questions tagged [parasitology]

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

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35
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3answers
14k views

Why do parasites sometimes kill their hosts?

It's bothered me for a while now. I understand why a parasitoid would do this, as it only temporarily requires the host, and that not all parasites kill their hosts. There seems to be no evolutionary ...
26
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1answer
3k views

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 ...
22
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2answers
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 ...
15
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1answer
526 views

Why is the species-diversity of deadly parasites greatest in the tropics?

There are so many parasites living in tropical regions of Africa, South America, or Asia, but very few in Europe or North America. Is this due to climate, or are there other reasons? Many of the ...
13
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1answer
588 views

Two different Leucochloridium infected snails - different species?

In the last three days, I have found two snails infected by some species of Leucochloridium. I found them in my garden in the south-west of Sweden. Now I'm wondering if they are the same species or ...
11
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2answers
107k views

Can dish soap really be used to kill ticks and fleas?

An answer at Pets suggested using dawn dish soap to kill fleas. I did a little looking around, and found several references supporting the idea. Most of what I found was in 'selfhelp' and 'save a ...
11
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3answers
325 views

Is it possible for a parasitic wasp to alter the behaviour of its host after emerging from it?

I know that parasitic wasp larvae can live for a long time inside their live host (eg. caterpillar), but I always thought that they kill the host when they eventually get out of it. But I've seen a ...
11
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2answers
4k views

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 ...
9
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1answer
2k views

How to prove that pork meat has parasites

I suspect that the pork sold at a certain shop is infected with the parasite pork tapeworm (Taenia solium). Is there a way I can prove this without special equipment? Would it work to leave the raw ...
8
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1answer
9k views

Species Identification - small insect: is this a bed bug?

I found this bug in my apartment in Chicago. We had bed bugs in our house the previous year (but we thought we got rid of them). This bug was very small - maybe 2 millimeters in length. These ...
8
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1answer
3k views

What makes worms' eggs float or sink?

In parasitology, while examining the stool sample, one important thing you do is test whether the eggs float on water or sink. We never did that since our coursework limits itself to microscopic ...
8
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1answer
2k views

Examples of intracellular parasites of medical or economic importance?

What are examples of intracellular parasites of medical or economic importance? I have read that Xanthomonas oryzae is an intracellular parasite in rice that produces proteins able to cause changes in ...
7
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1answer
753 views

Worm found inside of wahoo

A fisherman from Hawaii wrote the following: This Fat juicy worm lives inside of every Wahoo that I catch. Inside the stomach. Right at the junction to the intestines. Sometimes there are two. ...
7
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1answer
738 views

Blood clumping in mosquitos

Will a mosquito die due to blood clumping if it sucks blood from two people who have different blood groups? What will happen in its gut? Is there any mechanism to avoid clumping? Or do mosquitoes ...
6
votes
2answers
390 views

How can a tongue-biting parasitic arthropod become a fully functional tongue?

From wikipedia: The parasite Cymothoa exigua [consumes a fish's tongue and] then replaces [it] by attaching its own body to the muscles of the tongue stub. The fish is able to use the parasite just ...
6
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1answer
237 views

Zombie Ant Fungus?

Ophiocordyceps unilateralis is a parasitoidal fungus that alters the behavior of the infected. Source: Wiki page. How is the fungus able to alter the behavior of the infected to such specfic ...
6
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1answer
869 views

How much influence does toxoplasmosis have on personality and intelligence?

Latent toxoplasmosis affects up to 1/3 of the human population and up to 40% of the population in Australia. I have heard that latent toxoplasmosis has many significant undesirable effects on ...
6
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1answer
133 views

Can Biting Insects Detect Specific Places On A Host Body?

I'm gonna make a presumptive statement: It -seems- as though I get bitten by mosquitos and other biting insects in -exactly- the same places over and over. I mean within a few mm. Is that true? If ...
6
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0answers
142 views

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 ...
6
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3answers
156 views

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 ...
6
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1answer
361 views

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 ...
5
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2answers
201 views

Can a zombie apocalypse really occur? [duplicate]

Now, before you flag this question as blatantly off-topic, I claim to have a scientific basis for this(!): not some drug or remote control, but parasitic infection. While reading about behavior ...
5
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2answers
365 views

Has an artificial symbiotic relationship ever been created?

Have 2 organisms ever been introduced to create a symbiotic relationship that doesn't occur in their natural environment?
5
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1answer
114 views

Can P. falciparum and other malaria parasites be cultured and genetically engineered?

I'm not a parasitologist, and I was wondering about the current state of malaria research. For instance, is it possible to culture P. falciparum? Are there techniques for genetic manipulation, editing ...
5
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1answer
54 views

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 ...
5
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1answer
664 views

Effect of alcohol on parasites

I recently came across an article saying that fruit flies use alcohol to deter parasites. The researcher was quoted as saying there have not been any studies on the effect of human alcohol consumption ...
5
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1answer
13k views

What is the difference between Reservoir and paratenic hosts?

Paratenic host 'In parasitology, the term paratenic describes a host that is not necessary for the development of a particular species of parasite, but nonetheless may happen to serve to maintain the ...
4
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2answers
9k views

Why is the mosquito a definitive host in malaria?

I thought that the definition of a definitive host was that the parasite had to sexually reproduce in that particular host. I've been told that mosquitoes are the definitive host for the plasmodium ...
4
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1answer
132 views

Blood consumption

Is consumption of blood more "dangerous" compared to meat? There was a news-article about unnatural chemicals found in the blood of mothers. This reminded me about a question I have pondered upon ...
4
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2answers
148 views

Tapeworms and their effect on humans

I've read that some people in some countries actually use tapeworms as a form of losing weight. What are the dangers to these people?
4
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1answer
8k views

Can a reservoir host act as a vector?

Is it possible to get an infection by contact with a reservoir host ? Can a reservoir host act as a vector ? What is the distinction between these two concepts (reservoir host vs vector) ?
4
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2answers
2k views

How do taenia form a species?

I know that there are many hermaphrodite animals and plants. But many of them seem to still exchange genes by mating with another member of their species. I now happened to read the Wikipedia ...
4
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1answer
136 views

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/...
4
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1answer
441 views

What is meant by bionomics of a vector?

What is supposed to fall under the title Bionomics (The study of an organism and its relation to its environment; ecology.)? Suppose we are dealing with a vector, Anopheles sp. are the following ...
4
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1answer
234 views

Is it true that there is a spider that eats parasites from caterpillars

I think I once saw a video of a caterpillar that could get infected by a parasite, and could die of that, unless a specific kind of spider would eat the parasite, and so once the caterpillar is ...
4
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1answer
100 views

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 ...
4
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0answers
100 views

How to calculate the number of sterile insects that must be released in SIT?

The sterile insect technique (SIT) is used to control insect pests through overwhelming the population in sterile males. The increase in sterile males released into an environment causes the increase ...
4
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1answer
206 views

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?
3
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1answer
326 views

At which temperature is the Tick-Borne Encephalitis Virus destroyed?

At which temperature is the Tick-Borne Encephalitis Virus destroyed? If there is no data specifically for TBEV, is there any data for typical temperatures at which other Flaviviruses / Flaviviridae / ...
3
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1answer
1k views

What are all possible vectors for unicellular human parasites?

I got the given question. They want the following pieces of information about protozoological human parasites: disease - parasite - vector. There are 10 proteogenic diseases at the Wikipedia. I ...
3
votes
1answer
195 views

Laurus Nobilis parasite identification

In north Italy were I live I have two plants of laurus at the two sides of a garden. One of them has some sort of parasite on its leaves. Someone know something about it? Leaves are covered with ...
3
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1answer
401 views

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 ...
3
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1answer
275 views

B-cell and T-cell activation by parasites

Parasitic infections lead to the production of parasite-specific IgE, but they also lead to the activation of nonspecific, polyclonal B-cells and T-cells. How do parasites trigger non-specific ...
3
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2answers
808 views

Why are human children more likely to get lice (nits) than adults?

By my own experience, lice seems to be prevalent in the hair of human children, but not in adults. My question is Why are human children more likely to get lice than adults? Assumptions: Can be ...
3
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0answers
36 views

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 ...
2
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1answer
2k views

Is Aspergillus clavatus an unicellular organism?

I could not find the piece of information form Burton Human Parasitology -book and not by Google. Yeast is divided to two phylums: one of them is Ascomycota. Aspergillus clavatus belong to the given ...
2
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1answer
431 views

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?
2
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1answer
47 views

Are there any generic (not dependent on symptoms) ways to find parasite infections?

Are there any generic ways to determine if a person is infected with a parasite? With "generic ways" I mean ways that do not rely on symptoms caused by a particular parasite. Also I am mainly ...
2
votes
1answer
292 views

Saliva test for Toxoplasma gondii?

I am trying to find some reliable gene kit by which you can rapidly test Toxoplasma gondii. I am not sure if it exists. I have an intuition that some tests done during 90s-00s on this species had high ...
2
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1answer
143 views

How do parasitic fungi sense optimal fruiting conditions from inside the host?

Question is pretty straight forward. Are there generally any chemical cues?