parasitism definition

What is Parasitism?

Parasitism is a relationship between organisms of different species in which one organism benefits from the other organism, often to the detriment of the other. In ecology, the organism being benefited from is known as the host, while the organism that is enjoying the benefits is known as the parasite. Parasitism is ubiquitous throughout the animal kingdom and even in some plant species.

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Types of Parasitism

  • Biological Parasitism – This type of parasitism involves actual contact between a host and a parasite.
  • Chemical Parasitism – This type of parasitism occurs when a parasite ingests chemicals from its host, such as vitamins, oils, or even poisons.
  • Electronic Parasitism – This type of parasitism involves an organism attaching itself to an electronic device such as a computer or smartphone, draining energy and resources.

Parasitism: Pros and Cons

Parasitism can be beneficial to certain species of plants and animals, providing them with additional nutrients or protection. However, it can also have negative impacts on the host and other species of animals, leading to population declines or even extinction.

Examples of Parasitism

Some of the most commonly cited examples of parasitism include ticks and fleas on mammals, bed bugs in human households, and fungus on plants. Other examples include protozoa on small crustaceans, viruses on humans and other animals, and nematodes on plants and insects.


Understanding parasitic relationships is an important part of understanding the natural world. By examining these types of interactions, scientists can gain insights into how different species interact with each other and how certain species may benefit or be harmed by certain parasitic relationships.

Keywords: parasitism, biological parasitism, chemical parasitism, electronic parasitism, pros and cons, examples of parasitism.

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