49 votes
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Why is untreated trypanosomiasis invariably fatal in humans?

African trypanosomiasis, or sleeping sickness, is caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma brucei, a single-celled eukaryote. Being eukaryotic, it has a cell nucleus and a larger genome than most bacteria;...
mgkrebbs's user avatar
  • 9,054
20 votes
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Are some people more 'attractive' to mosquitos? If so, is that a hereditary trait?

There is a genetic component to mosquito's attraction to humans. Female mosquitoes display preferences for certain individuals over others, which is determined by differences in volatile chemicals ...
iayork's user avatar
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18 votes
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What's this stuff that looks like white chainmail armor growing on giant kelp?

That looks like it could be the lacy crust bryozoan (Membranipora membranacea). That bryozoan is an epiphytic animal whose native range includes the Pacific coast; it does not feed on the kelp, but ...
tyersome's user avatar
  • 5,598
12 votes
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How can a tongue-biting parasitic arthropod become a fully functional tongue?

Short answer There is no evidence whatsoever that the parasitic arthropod Cymothoa exigua develops itself into a functional tongue. Instead, it consumes the fish's tongue and occupies the freed buccal ...
AliceD's user avatar
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9 votes
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Worm found inside of wahoo

It is Giant Stomach Worm (Hirudinella Ventricosa). It is a platyhelmith parasitic to Wahoo fish, feeding on its blood and found inside the stomach. It makes 98% of Wahoo's parasitic infections. ...
Tyto alba's user avatar
  • 8,782
9 votes
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Why is the species-diversity of deadly parasites greatest in the tropics?

The diversity of parasites shows a gradient with increasing diversity from the poles to the equator. Several reasons have been brought forth to explain the latitude-dependency of parasite diversity: ...
AliceD's user avatar
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8 votes
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Blood clumping in mosquitos

Female mosquitoes need blood for laying their eggs. This actually means that they need a source of rich protein and iron for their kids and hence, prey on us. It is worthwhile for us to pause here ...
Polisetty's user avatar
  • 3,687
6 votes
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Can a zombie apocalypse really occur?

There are many examples of parasite manipulation in nature, if you want more examples you can look up the paper of Lefevre and Thomas (2008). I think the key is, in order for a parasite to develop ...
Tessa Visser's user avatar
5 votes

What makes worms' eggs float or sink?

Okay, I found the last part of your question the most interesting and can't give a full answer to that, but I just noticed I can answer the rest so here goes. How it works (the simple version) It ...
arboviral's user avatar
  • 3,344
5 votes
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How long does foreign DNA stay intact in human blood?

The De Vlaminck Lab has extensively studied the origins of circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) in human plasma and its utility in detecting infections and organ injury.1,2 Concerning your question of ...
acvill's user avatar
  • 8,296
5 votes

Questions about "parasite recursion"

Hyperparasitism is one possible term. According to the linked article it is commonplace in certain types of insects, but also in fungi. Apparently the cases of at least three levels are known: a ...
Roger V.'s user avatar
  • 3,852
5 votes

Photo attached of flies ‘injecting’ into spider egg sacs. Why? What’s going on here?

(Converting from comment) Based on internet searches, it appears likely that the fly is Sarcophaga arachnivora, which lives off of spider egg cases in its juvenile form; the fly is laying eggs. If you ...
Maximilian Press's user avatar
4 votes

Why don't mosquitoes target the visible blood vessels under the skin?

For a mosquito, there is really no benefit to targeting those visible blood vessels. Mosquitoes take only a small amount of blood, and their proboscis is going to be a limiting factor anyways. ...
Bryan Krause's user avatar
  • 45.6k
4 votes

Are there any plants that parasitize on animals?

Yes Acrochaetium spiculiphilum is an marine endozoic parasite on sponges. It is a Biliphyte algae and thus a plant. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-the-marine-biological-association-...
John's user avatar
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4 votes

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

I would distinguish two major types of mosquito bites "risk factors": genetic predispositions and transient attractiveness. Mosquitoes utilize different senses to localise and choose a host. ...
hibernicah's user avatar
4 votes

Can a zombie apocalypse really occur?

If there are drugs that can cause this kind of disorder you described, then it is possible to engineer a microbe, that can produce these drugs and maintain a chronic infection, which does not ...
inf3rno's user avatar
  • 4,460
4 votes
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Does a specific blood group enhance the Plasmodium growth?

It is a well documented observation that Plasmodium (vivax and knowlesi) infection is dependent on the Duffy blood groups [1]. Individuals lacking the Duffy antigens (Fya and Fyb) have lower ...
WYSIWYG's user avatar
  • 35.6k
4 votes

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

Just to add to Christiaan's excellent answer: The authors of his cited study state: [the tongues] replacement by a parasite would not appear to be a complex phenomenon. Implying that this is a ...
poppyseeds's user avatar
4 votes
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How do parasites "reprogram" brains?

Not much is known about the mechanisms involved, but they do appear to differ significantly from parasite to parasite. I'll discuss a few different examples here, and try to provide as much ...
Astrid_Redfern's user avatar
4 votes
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How do schistosomes find and attach to human skin?

Schistosoma recognize human skin by mechanical, thermal and chemical stimuli from host. Attachment of parasite to skin is stimulated by L-arginine. Schistosomes specifically bind to L -argine by ...
Twinkle Sheen's user avatar
4 votes

Is Pork more prone to carrying higher loads of parasites than Beef?

Trichenellosis from pork occurs in about about 5 people per year since the 1980's in the US. it has a 0.2% mortality rate there. We can say that 1 American/ 1 European dies from pig meat every 20 ...
bandybabboon's user avatar
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3 votes
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Is it possible for a parasitic wasp to alter the behaviour of its host after emerging from it?

Another example is the wasp species Dinocampus coccinellae, which lays its eggs inside certain species of ladybug/ladybird - most notably the "twelve-spotted lady beetle" (Coleomegilla maculata). It ...
Astrid_Redfern's user avatar
3 votes

Laurus Nobilis parasite identification

As @picapica has pointed out, I presume these are scale insects, the first instar of Japanese wax scale, Ceroplastes japonicus. Laurus sp. is a host of this hemiptera in Italy. Here is an image ...
Tyto alba's user avatar
  • 8,782
3 votes

What is meant by bionomics of a vector?

Bionomics is indeed the 'thorough' study of living organisms and their relationship with the environment/ niche they thrive in. Aim of Bionomics is mainly to decipher the driving factors for an ...
JALO - JusAnotherLivngOrganism's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

The emergence of Phengaris butterflies from ant nests

I've been emailing some of the various researchers who worked on the papers I've cited. Jeremy Thomas and Judith Wardlaw both took time out of their (probably very busy!) schedules to reply, and they ...
Astrid_Redfern's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

What are the environmental conditions for larval Haemonchus contortus to survive?

Lowest temperature 2, 3, 4 and 5 week beakers containing eggs and non-infective larvae in lamb faeces didn't develop into infective larvae (L3) when exposed to fluctuating temperatures ranging from -1 ...
pawelek zzz's user avatar
  • 1,087
3 votes

What kind of parasite is this?

This is pear rust (Gymnosporangium sabinae). It is fairly widespread in the northern hemisphere: It is a fungal infection and affects pear trees from junipers. Pruning the affected nearby junipers ...
JimN's user avatar
  • 1,992
3 votes

Are there complexity requirements on potential hosts to be susceptible to parasites?

"Complexity" is a difficult term to operate with in biology; most people that use it don't have an idea of how they'd like to operationally define it, and without an operational definition ...
Bryan Krause's user avatar
  • 45.6k
3 votes
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Can these things be done at home on a hobbyist budget?

Yes, and no as to bacterial and fungal samples. For these you need a conventional light microscope that transmits the light through the sample. These are the common ones when people consider ...
bob1's user avatar
  • 12k
2 votes

What is the difference between Reservoir and paratenic hosts?

Reservoir host: The host of an infection in which the infectious agent multiplies and/or develops and on which the agent is dependent for survival in nature; essential host for maintenance of the ...
JM97's user avatar
  • 4,796

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