What is parasitism interaction?
What is parasitism interaction?
- Parasitism is a type of ecological association between species in which one species benefits from the association at the expense of the other, usually without killing the organism.
- Organisms that benefit from the association are called parasites, while organisms that are harmed by the association are called hosts.
- The word parasite is derived from the Greek word “parasitos”, which means “someone who eats at someone else’s table”, which indicates the eating habits of the organism.
- Although parasitism has traditionally been believed to be a discrete interaction, many researchers believe that the interaction merges with other interspecific interactions.
- Parasites include all infectious agents that cause disease in various groups of living things.
- Parasites in this association exist to use the host as both a habitat and a source of food; However, the size and duration of the union can vary.
- Parasitism is a type of consumption-resource interaction like hunting, but unlike predators, parasites do not kill their hosts and often live on them or on them for long periods of time.
- Some of these associations are highly specialized, so a parasite of one species may not be a parasite of another species.
- These parasites are smaller than their host and have a highly specialized metabolism. They also have high fertility rates to ensure their survival.
- These organisms can also affect the behavior of individuals in the host population, leading to the development of behavioral syndromes.
- Although most parasites feed on host species, some parasites can use certain organisms as secondary hosts for transmission from one primary host to another. Parasites do not do as much damage to secondary hosts as they do to primary hosts.
- The pattern and extent of damage to the host are central to the definition of parasitism, as different parasites can affect the health of the host through a variety of mechanisms.
What are the types of Parasitism?
Parasitism is of different types depending on the size, characteristics, interaction with the host, and their life cycles. Some of the parasites may exist in multiple classifications depending on the classification base.
- Obligatory parasitism is a type of parasitism in which the parasite is dependent on the host for its survival and therefore the interaction is mandatory.
- These parasites cannot complete their life cycle without exploiting a suitable host.
- The parasites adapt and evolve so that they can no longer exist without a connection with a host. The parasites develop different strategies to escape the host’s defenses and exploit the host.
- The parasites involved in obligate parasitism do not usually cause host death because they need a host to survive. However, some parasites can kill the host for transmission.
- Most of the obligate parasites include prokaryotes such as bacteria and viruses. Some insects, such as head lice, are also considered obligatory parasites as they die when removed from the human scalp.
Rickettsiae are intracellular bacteria that multiply in the vacuoles of host cells.
These species cannot be grown on artificial media and require tissue or cell cultures as they are mandatory species.
The transmission of rickettsiae from one host to another occurs through arthropods such as lice and fleas.
These bacteria have developed mechanisms to bypass the host’s immune defenses, mainly by surviving in the cellular components such as vacuoles.
The parasitic interaction of rickettsiae is necessary for the completion of their life cycle, including reproduction.
- Facultative parasitism is a type of parasitism in which the parasites do not depend on the host to survive or complete their life cycle.
- These organisms use facultative parasitism as a form of survival strategy due to the scarcity of resources in the environment.
- Facultative parasitism is common in bacteria and fungi that exist in multiple habitats and can be transmitted between hosts.
- Some of these parasites feed on living organisms, but when the organism eventually dies, they will continue to feed on the dead organisms without the need for parasitic activity. This process is common in many fungi that infect plant species.
- However, facultative parasitism can evolve into obligatory parasitism over time or due to changes in its habitat and composition.
Example – Armillaria species
- Armillaria is a species of parasitic fungus that parasitizes living plants for nutrients.
- The fungi feed on the roots of trees, but the interaction is optional as the fungi can exist as both parasitic and free-living organisms.
- However, the fungi can survive even after the trees die, as the fungi can feed on the forests without the need for parasitic activity.
- The organisms are also important ecological actors involved in the recycling of nutrients through microbial degradation.
- Ectoparasitism is a type of parasitism in which the parasite is present outside or on the surface of the host’s body.
These parasites are called ectoparasites and usually live in the skin or skin growths of the host.
- The vast majority of ectoparasites are invertebrates that cause lesions on the surface of the host body.
- Many known ectoparasites are known vectors of pathogens that are transmitted to the host when eating or defecating.
- Some ectoparasites can turn into endoparasites over time as a defense mechanism and adaptation to the parasitic way of life.
Example – head lice
- Lice are ectoparasites that colonize different parts of the host body from the head to the lower part of the human body.
- Head lice live mainly on the scalp hair but can also migrate to other parts of the body.
- These can be transmitted from host to host through direct contact or the use of personal items such as combs and towels.
- The insects feed on blood from the host’s scalp, and the scalp also provides a habitat for the parasite.
- Lice lay eggs on the surface of the human head, from which larvae and adults later develop in the course of the life cycle.
- Endoparasitism is a type of parasitism in which parasites are present in the host’s body.
- Endoparasitism can be either intercellular, where parasites live in spaces in the host’s body, or intracellular, where they are present in the host’s cells.
- Most intercellular endoparasites are protozoa and invertebrates such as insects, while intracellular endoparasites include bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
- Endoparasites feed directly on the nutrients present in the host body and lead to a wide variety of diseases.
- Intracellular parasites usually depend on a third organism known as a vector or carrier to be transmitted from one host to another.
Example – Plasmodium
- Plasmodium is an endoparasite that feeds on red blood cells in mammals, birds, and reptiles.
- Like most endoparasites, Plasmodium depends on a third organism (the female Anopheles mosquito) for transmission from one host to another.
- Plasmodium exists in two different hosts, both of which are essential for the completion of the protozoal life cycle.
- Protozoa complete their sexual life cycle in mammals, while the gametophytic life cycle is complete in female mosquitoes.
- The interaction between Plasmodium and humans is an essential interaction that is essential for the parasite’s survival.
Mesoparasitism is a type of parasitism in which the parasite is partially located in the host’s body.
These parasites enter the host’s body through pores such as the ear and cloaca and remain in the body for some time.
Parasitism is mostly optional as the species does not need to get into the host’s body to receive nutrients or complete its life cycle.
Most of the species found in the mesoparasitism interaction include invertebrates such as insects.
Example – copepods
- Copepods are crustaceans that are either wild or parasitic in freshwater and saltwater.
- The organism parasitizes fish, sharks, and marine mammals, which sometimes enter the host’s body through gills and cesspools.
- Copepods damage the gills by eating the delicate tissue of the gills. They also feed on circulating blood through gill lamellae.
- Depending on the stage of their life cycle, these species can also occur as ecto- or endoparasites.
- Epiparasitism is a type of interaction between two parasites in which one parasite parasitizes the other.
- Epiparasites are often referred to as hyperparasites or secondary parasites that share certain characteristics with primary parasites, such as: B. Habitat and nutritional requirements.
- Depending on the extent of the parasitism, there are different degrees of epiparasitism. Some epiparasitism associations are voluntary or random.
- Alternative or emergent epiparasitism sometimes occurs without coexistence, mostly due to a lack of food resources.
- Epiparasitism also occurs between organisms of the same species because they share a common habitat and nutritional needs.
Example in plants
- Species of the Viscaceae family often exist in an epiparasitic association that can either alternate or be tied.
- In plants, strands of bark sometimes come into contact with the host’s vascular cambium and form a position within the cambium.
- Continuous contact leads to the formation of sinkers that extend from the bark of the phloem to the xylem tissue.
- As a result, parasitic species receive water and nutrients produced by the host species for their growth and survival.
- Some species also grow through flowers, resulting in continuous seed and fruit production. In this way, the parasitic plants get better reproduction and distribution through interaction.
7. Brood Parasitism
- Brood parasitism is a type of parasitism in which parasites rely on the host to raise their young. It is a form of parasitism in that parasites conserve energy while the host has to expend extra energy.
- This form of parasitism is common in birds, insects, and fish, where parasites manipulate the host to raise their young on their own.
- In some cases, parasites even push away the young of the host species, forcing the host to raise the young of the parasite.
- The parasitic parents can use the energy saved in this way to find food and produce other offspring.
- Some young parasites can display mimicry by appearing similar to the young host, while others do not show developed symptoms.
Example – birds
- Brood parasitism is most common in birds as many bird breeding parasites use interactions to escape the developmental process of their young.
- Some birds may specialize in parasitizing a single host species or a small group of species, while others can parasitize a wide range of host species.
- A common example is a common cuckoo, where the male parasitizes a variety of hosts but the female specializes in a single species.
- Females have genes that control egg color, which enables them to lay false eggs in the host species’ nests.
- One of the host species of the female cuckoo is the reed warbler, which feeds on the young of the parasitic species and raises them.
8. Social Parasitism
- Social parasitism is a type of interaction between social animals such as ants and bees in which a parasitic organism relies on the host species to work.
- A colony of organisms usually consists of one or more types of organisms, which include the parasitic species and the host species.
- The interaction can be mandatory, optional, temporary, or permanent, and the relationship can take many forms.
- Parasitic species usually receive benefits such as food and transportation, but species eventually become vulnerable because they cannot survive over time without interaction.
- The nature of the interactions can be different in different groups, in which some parasitic ants steal food and eggs from the host ants. Other species can live in nests prepared by the host species.
- The most common form of social parasitism is seen in ants, where the parasites are often slave owners.
- Parasitic ants invade colonies of other ants and steal their eggs and larvae. Larvae and pupae that are not consumed by parasites are transformed into work slaves by chemical imprinting.
- The slave ants or host ants then collect more eggs, gather food, and feed on the parasitic ants. When the colony moves to a new home, the slaves bring the parasite ends to the new location as well.
- As long as the host ants are alive, the association continues and the colony continues to grow. It is quite easy to distinguish between host ants and parasitic ants because they have different structures and belong to different species.
What is parasitism interaction? What are the types of Parasitism?