What could be cooler than a parasite? How about a parasite of a parasite? That’s right, HYPERPARASITISM!
Below is a picture of a parasitic copepod. The copepod’s head is to the lower right, and its two eggs sacks and tail extend into the upper left corner of the image. This parasite was found on the gills and in the mouth of a horn shark caught off the coast of Santa Barbara, California. Armand Kuris‘ parasitology course found these while doing dissections for the lab part of the course.
These parasitic copepods have parasites of their own. Monogenean parasites of the genus Udonella latch onto the copepods, and make themselves at home. In the image below you can see an adult Udonella, as well as a bunch of eggs (one has been circled) that Udonella has laid on its host.
It’s a rough world out there!
So, naturalists observe, a flea
Has smaller fleas that on him prey;
And these have smaller still to bite ’em;
And so proceed ad infinitum.
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Hi! I use to go to UCSB and have actually taken Armand’s class! Are you working in his lab now? I graduate from UCSB a while back (2004) and got my PhD in population genetics from UGA, but have never given up my love of parasites 🙂 While I was at SB I worked on sexual conflict in fruit flies with Bill Rice, have you met him yet? That stuff is cool. I got into studying immunity and sexual conflict that way. Have fun in SB! Totally miss that place. Great blog!