The Art of Being a Parasite
Claude Combes University of Chicago Press, 2005 Library of Congress QL757.C614513 2005 | Dewey Decimal 577.857
Parasites are a masterful work of evolutionary art. The tiny mite Histiostoma laboratorium, a parasite of Drosophila, launches itself, in an incredible display of evolutionary engineering, like a surface-to-air missile at a fruit fly far above its head. Gravid mussels such as Lampsilis ventricosa undulate excitedly as they release their parasitic larval offspring, conning greedy predators in search of a tasty meal into hosting the parasite.
The Art of Being a Parasite is an extensive collection of these and other wonderful and weird stories that illuminate the ecology and evolution of interactions between species. Claude Combes illustrates what it means to be a parasite by considering every stage of its interactions, from invading to reproducing and leaving the host. An accessible and engaging follow-up to Combes's Parasitism, this book will be of interest to both scholars and nonspecialists in the fields of biodiversity, natural history, ecology, public health, and evolution.
In Parasitism, Claude Combes explores the fascinating adaptations parasites have developed through their intimate interactions with their hosts. He begins with the biology of parasites—their life cycles, habitats, and different types of associations with their hosts. Next he discusses genetic interactions between hosts and parasites, and he ends with a section on the community ecology of parasites and their role in the evolution of their hosts. Throughout the book Combes enlivens his discussion with a wealth of concrete examples of host-parasite interactions.