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Distance covered by uninfected and infected hosts.
Cumulative distance (mm) covered by uninfected and P. minutus infected G. roeseli after contact with non-host predator D. villosus (redrawn from Table 1, p<0.001, Medoc 2008).

Discussion questions

  1. How can a parasite both increase the possibility of being eaten by a definitive host and decrease the possibility of being consumed by a non-host predator?
  2. Why is behavior modification so important for many parasites?


  • Cystacanth - developed acanthocephalan larva, which is able to infect its definitive host (Moore 1983).
  • Co-evolution - phenomenon when a change in one species causes a change in another species, which triggers a counter-adaptation in the first species again, so that the two species evolve together.
  • Definitive host - an organism in which parasite reproduces and resides until death.
  • Extended phenotype - term coined by Richard Dawkins to describe the phenomenon of genes not only determining physical phenotypes but also various behaviors of an organism.
  • Free-living stage - a stage in parasite’s life when following a signal from the environment or the host’s body the parasite escapes the host’s body and lives outside (Sukhdeo 1995).
  • Intermediate host - an organism that contains the parasite for a limited amount of time, when the parasite life cycle requires more than one host.
  • Invasive host - a potential host for a parasite that is not native to the area, often harder to invade than local hosts
  • Neuromodulators - can alter the neural circuits and allow the organism to be flexible in its responses to the environment (Adamo 2002).
  • Oddity selection - when conspicuous appearance of an organism causes it to becomes more vulnerable to predation.
  • Serotonin - a neurotrasmitter and hormone, also known as 5-HT, that is known to constrict blood vessels and have an effect on mood (Medicinenet.com)
  • Parasitism - a relationship between two species in which one benefits and another suffers losses to fitness.


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About the author

picture of the author.
Dina Yangirova

I was born in Russia, but have lived in Houston, Texas for nine years. I am a junior biochemistry major and I have taken the Animal Behavior class because I dearly love all animals, even the ugly ones. In my spare time, I like to dance, take pictures, draw, watch movies, and read. The hardest part of writing this chapter was putting together all the disparate, disjoined pieces of information and constructing a coherent picture of how the acanthocephalans operate. In the process, I have realized yet again that even the smallest and slimiest creatures can be incredibly complex and exciting.

Questions & Answers

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fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
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That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
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Source:  OpenStax, Mockingbird tales: readings in animal behavior. OpenStax CNX. Jan 12, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11211/1.5
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