The Twisted-Wing Parasites (Insecta: Strepsiptera)

The Strepsiptera, commonly called twisted-wing parasites, are an enigmatic order of obligately parasitic insects discovered by the “founder of entomology”, William Kirby, and characterised by him in Kirby (1813). Unrelated, this paper also contains the first mention of another order of insect, the Trichoptera (caddisflies). There are over 600 Recent …

Wolbachia: The Ubiquitous Male-Killing, Feminising Parasite

I mentioned Wolbachia in my parthenogenesis post; here I will talk about it in more detail, because it’s a really cool parasite, as well as in the center of much research nowadays. Index: Introduction Parasitism Transfer Biocontrol Positive Effects of Wolbachia Evolutionary Theory Practical Problems References Introduction Wolbachia are Gram-negative …

Myxozoa

The Myxozoa count as some of the most enigmatic organisms known. There’s around 1350 species of them, all tissue and cellular parasites. The majority infect aquatic and marine fish, while some use platyhelminths, annelids, reptiles, amphibians (e.g. Hartigan et al., 2011) or moles as primary hosts. One freshwater bryozoan parasite …

Parasites Affecting Insect Behaviour

Parasites need to have adaptations for colonisation, defeating immune systems and transmission. Often, parasitism involves very complex interactions between not-so-closely-related organisms. For example, the jungle-dwelling turtle ant above is infected by nematodes that gather and mate in the gaster (hind part of the ant). They deteriorate the cuticle of the …