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Examples of Parasitism

Parasitism is a relationship between two organisms where one is usually harmed and the other gets benefits from the relationship. Parasites are smaller than their host organism and can reproduce quicker, causing more damage to the host. Endoparasites live inside the host’s body and ectoparasites live on the outside of the body.

Endoparasites in Humans

Here are examples of endoparasites in humans and the diseases they cause:

  • Acanthamoeba – Granulomatous amoebic encephalitis (GAE)
  • Balamuthia mandrillaris – Granulomatous amoebic encephalitis (GAE)
  • Babesia – Babesiosis
  • Balantidium coli – Balantidiasis
  • Blastocystis – Blastocystosis
  • Cryptosporidium – Cryptosporidiosis
  • Dientamoeba fragilis – Dientamoebiasis
  • Entamoeba histolytica – Amoebiasis
  • Giardia lamblia – Giardiasis
  • Isospora belli – Isosporiasis
  • Leishmania – Leishmaniasis
  • Naegleria fowleri – Primary amoebic meningoencephalitis
  • Plasmodium falciparum – Malaria
  • Rhinosporidium seeberi – Rhinosporidiosis
  • Sarcocystis – Sarcosporidiosis
  • Toxoplasma gondii – Toxoplasmosis
  • Trichomonas vaginalis – Trichomoniasis
  • Trypanosoma brucei – African trypanosomiasis or sleeping sickness
  • Trypanosoma cruzi – Chagas disease

Worms and Flukes

Here are examples of parasitic worms and flukes and the diseases they cause in humans sorted by tapeworms, flukes and roundworms:

Tapeworms

  • Diphyllobothrium – Diphyllobothriasis
  • Echinococcus granulosus – Hydatid disease
  • Spirometra erinaceieuropaei – Sparganosis
  • Taenia saginata – Taeniasis
  • Taenia solium – Cysticercosis

Flukes

  • Fasciola hepatica – Fascioliasis
  • Metagonimus yokagawai – Metagonimiasis
  • Schistosoma – Schistosomiasis
  • Swimmer’s itch or cercarial dermatitis – Schistosomatidae
  • Paragonimus westermani – Paragonimiasis

Roundworms

  • Ancylostoma duodenale (hookworm) – Ancylostomiasis
  • Enterobius (pinworm) – Enterobiasis
  • Thelazia callipaeda – Thelaziasis
  • Trichinella spiralis – Trichinosis
  • Trichuris trichiura – Trichuriasis

Endoparasites in Non-Human Organisms

  • Acanthocephala – Parasitic worm
  • Toxocara canis – Dog roundworm
  • Gymnosporangium – Parasitic fungi to plants
  • Pyrenophora teres – Parasitic fungi to plants
  • Rafflesia – Parasitic flowering plants
  • Cordyceps – Sac fungi

Ectoparasites

In Humans

Here are examples of ectoparasites in humans, the parts of the body affected and the name of disease, if any:

  • Bedbug or Cimicidae – Body – Skin irritation
  • Head louse or Pediculosis – Scalp – Pediculosis capitis
  • Body louse or Pediculus humanus humanus – Body – Pediculosis
  • Crab louse or Pthirus pubis – Pubic area – Pediculosis pubis
  • Demodex – Eyebrows and eyelashes – Demodicosis
  • Scabies or Sarcoptes scabiei – Skin – Itchy skin rash
  • Human flea or Pulex irritans – Skin – Itching and inflammation

In Organisms Other Than Humans

  • Acari -Mites and ticks
  • Cymothoa exigua – Parasitic crustacean
  • Dreissena polymorpha – Zebra mussel
  • Glochidium – Larval stage of some mussels
  • Hippoboscoidea – A family of parasitic flies
  • Hirudinea – Leeches
  • Ichneumonoidea – Parasitic wasps
  • Pinnotheres pisum – Pea crab
  • Sacculina – Parasitic crustacean
  • Siphonaptera – Fleas
  • Tantulocarida – Parasitic crustaceans

 In Vertebrates Other Than Humans

  • Candiru or vampire fish – Freshwater catfish in the Amazon River
  • Isistius brasiliensis – Cookie cutter shark or cigar shark
  • Lamprey eels – Only some species are parasitic
  • Oxpeckers – Two bird species that feed on the backs of large mammals
  • Vampire bats – Three species are: common vampire bat, hairy-legged vampire bat and white-winged vampire bat – feed on the blood of mammals
  • Vampire Finch – Geospiza difficilis septentrionalis –  is native to the Galápagos Islands and only a part of their diet is blood from other birds

As you can see, there are many different parasites that impact many different animals.



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