This is a picture I took of the brain of a common East Coast killifish, the mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus). The red arrows point to metacercariae, which are a stage of trematode found in intermediate hosts. I believe that this parasite is Diplostomum nassa. This trematode will only be transmitted to its definitive host (i.e., the host in which the parasite can sexually reproduce) if the mummichog gets eaten by this host. This is called “trophic transmission”.

4 Responses to “Parasites on the brain”

  1. Emerson White

    You’re back, yay! Quick question, is there any kind of differential staining that can make these guys stand out more?

    • weinersmith

      Yeah! I submitted my last grant of the season and am back to blogging!

      Yes, I could remove this parasite and stain it to make the internal features stand out more. Unfortunately, I was 1) at the lab of a collaborator who I don’t believe had the appropriate stains and 2) I don’t know much about parasite staining techniques. I’m hoping to learn more about stains this quarter and will hopefully have more detailed photos to share as I get more experience. Thanks for sticking with me through the dry spell! 🙂

  2. Daniela Duarte

    Wow! Nice picture there.
    What’s it’s host? Just any vertebrate?

    You’ve got a wonderful blog. Congratz.

    • weinersmith


      I don’t think we’ve worked out all of the details yet, but the first intermediate host is some east coast snail, and the definitive host is probably some predatory bird.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


June 4th, 2017

Soonish giveaway on Goodreads!

Five copies of the advance reader version of Zach and my new book Soonish are up for grabs on Goodreads! Click […]

March 7th, 2017

Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything

Zach and I wrote a book! Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything explores 10 emerging technologies, and discusses the roadblocks […]

January 26th, 2017

Tales from the Crypt: a parasitoid manipulates the behaviour of its parasite host

I have a new paper out with Dr. Scott Egan, Dr. Andrew Forbes, and Sean Liu! The paper is Open Access […]

May 30th, 2016

Postdoc with Dr. Ryan Hechinger (and me!)

We’re looking for a postdoc! See below! —————— Postdoctoral Opportunity with the Marine Biology Research Division at SIO Postdoctoral Scholar […]

May 7th, 2016

Science…sort of Episode 240: Moon Rocks Don’t Glow

I co-hosted an episode of Science…sort of recently. I pasted the show notes below, but you’ll have to head over […]

February 24th, 2016

Books on parasites

I’m often asked by students to suggest books they can read about parasites. Below is a list of books that […]

August 22nd, 2015

Great Adaptations – A kid’s book about evolution

Zach Weinersmith and I contributed to Tiffany Taylor’s children’s book about evolution. Tiffany worked with scientists to create Seuss-style stories […]

August 22nd, 2015

Science…sort of Live Show from the Science Club in DC

I recently joined Ryan Haupt and Patrick Wheatley for a live episode of Science…sort of from the Science Club in […]

August 1st, 2015

My talk from the Future is Here Festival

Rick Karnesky and Rebecca Cohen from Nerd Nite East Bay invited me to give a talk at an event called The […]

June 28th, 2015

ASP Student Workshop Talk on Outreach

I gave a talk on outreach through blogging and podcasting for the Student Workshop at this year’s American Society of […]