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.