Articles on Parasites

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Darwin’s finch nestlings are highly vulnerable to a parasitic fly – unless their folks fumigate the nest. Sarah A. Knutie

No fly zone: Darwin’s finches self-fumigate (with a little help)

When a bird species is threatened by nest parasites, you might think the logical next step is to fumigate – unsurprisingly, though, physically spraying nests (as you might spray an infested house) is disruptive…
Parasites can infest any part of the body that has an opening to the outside world. SBS

Life on Us: a close-up look at the bugs that call us home

Many microscopic bugs and bacteria live on our skin and within our various nooks and crannies. Almost anywhere on (or even within) the human body can be home to these enterprising bugs. Bugs affect us…
‘Kiss me under the parasite’ doesn’t have quite the same ring … Schnobby

Good parasite, bad parasite: nature has a job for everyone

Parasites are thought of as free-loaders, but many contribute as much as they take. They service the ecosystem. From an ecological perspective, they are more like tiny, hidden architects that are overlooked…
When microbes cause ants to become zombies. Tommy Leung

Meet the enemy of killer fungus that turns ants into zombies

One of most famous fungi in the world is the “zombie ant fungus”. It takes over the mind of an ant, causing it to climb up a branch and cling to the underside of a leaf before mummification. Once locked…
Mobile nursery for parasites. Paul Appleton

Manipulative parasites make hornets their nest

Hornets put fear into the minds of most, but there is a parasite that the hornets fear (if indeed they are capable of fear). Sphaerularia vespae is a parasitic nematode that infects the Japanese yellow…
Healthy eating? gpeters

Food-borne tropical disease outbreak strikes the US

A food-borne illness is spreading quickly through the United States, an investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revealed. The disease, called cyclosporiasis, is common…
Hairworm target. haquintero

The parasite a cricket’s nightmares are made of

The hairworm is a long, thread-like parasite that sits bundled up inside the body of its host. It grows so large that it takes up most of the room inside the host’s body, waiting for the right moment to…
This is not Naegleria fowleri, but it’ll do to put the horrors of climate change on your mind. Andrés Monroy-Hernández/Flickr

Brain-eating’ parasites are winners in the warming world

An influential US blog about climate change recently featured the story of a “brain-eating” infectious parasite that has caused 31 deaths in that country in the past decade. “Brain-eating” is just one…
Maybe not such a great place to go swimming. Phanatic

Six human parasites you definitely don’t want to host

Parasites are fascinating. They are uniquely adapted to survive, in some cases through very complex life cycles. There’s also research to suggest that some may even change the behaviour of hosts to assist…
Falciparum malaria parasite carried by mosquitoes might be cerebral but has it been outsmarted? PA/Danny Lawson

New twist in age-old war against malaria parasite

Cerebral malaria, or malaria of the brain, means being deeply unconscious with perpetual cycles of seizures and spasms. It can cause death, or often disability. About 600,000 people suffer this terrible…
Getting infested children to sit still long enough to complete a treatment is probably more difficult than removing the head lice themselves. Vera Davai/AAP

Head lice infestations: don’t let back-to-school bloodsuckers drain your patience

Across the country, tiny blood-sucking parasites are settling in for the new school year. Head lice infestation, officially known as pediculosis, is common in primary school-aged children. But don’t worry…

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