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What is a parasite?

Russell Farris tryggvi at email.msn.com
Mon Apr 19 12:09:17 EST 1999


        Thanks for the suggested definition of a parasite. Would your
definition include all bacteria as parasites, then, or just the obligatory
intracellular ones like the Chlamydiae?  Chlamydiae have been found recently
to produce proteins that mimic those of the hearts of their hosts. This is
presumed to be a way of evading immune responses.

Russ Farris

Derek A Zelmer <zelmeda4 at WFU.EDU> wrote
> I think the important thing about parasitism is not the trophic
> interaction, but rather the use of a living organism as habitat. Most
> blood feeders like leeches and hematophagous arthropods (with the
> exception of the hard ticks) have traits that minimize their association
> with their meal, i.e., feed and get out as soon as possible, and are
> probably best considered as predators. Parasites, on the other hand,
> require traits that allow them to maximize their association with the
> host, such as evading or manipulating the immune response.
> Derek Zelmer

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