When it comes to causing human panic, perhaps few creatures have been as successful as parasites: roundworms that live in the digestive tract; liver flukers that invade the liver; plasmodium parasites that kill invisibles.
Even movies are keen to use the horror image of parasites, such as Marvel’s Venom, the face-holding worm in Alien, the mutant iron worm in Iron Worm Invasion…
But what you might not expect is that these parasites, which feed on their host for survival, can also become poor, helpless hosts for other parasites…
What is hyperparasitism
This is a story of “mantis catching cicadas while yellow sparrow follows”. Hyperparasitism occurs when a parasitic organism is parasitized by another parasitic organism. Sometimes, this parasitic relationship can even develop to triple parasitic, quadruple parasitic.
For example, the larvae of Pieris rapae are parasitized by Cotesia glomerata, which in turn is parasitized by Lysibia nana, a parasitic wasp and a heavy parasitic wasp of Pieris rapae, respectively.
Typical megamophagous organisms mainly exist in the class insecta, especially in the hymenoptera suborder, diptera and Coleoptera. Currently, 17 families in hymenoptera and a few species in diptera and Coleoptera are known to be megamophagous organisms.
The plant kingdom also has a weird megalomaniac relationship, with one species called Megalomaniac, a member of the genus Phacellaria in the Sandalwood family.
This kind of plant is generally parasitic on the branches and tendril of the mulberry parasite, mistletoe and other plants, and the mulberry parasite, mistletoe and other plants are in the woody tree branch tip camp semi-parasitic life.
Hyperparasitic plants tend to be stemless and leafless and cluster on host plants.
These are still relatively simple parasitic relationships. There are many multiple parasitic relationships in nature. A typical example is the five-fold parasitic relationship found in a microbiology laboratory.
In this case, the parasitic relations from a chick, li fly larvae parasitize chicks belly, feeding on blood, larvae was a wasp parasitic, carries a kind of bacteria in heavy wasp – theo buck’s bacteria (one of the world’s most widely distributed symbiotic), while theo buck’s bacteria themselves by phage invasion (they replicate inside bacteria), Parasitic relation unexpectedly reached 5 heavy as much as, it is a set of baby this baby has no!
Parasitic relationship, however, may not be terminated, the smallest parasites may be transposons, this already is not a biological, but is a special kind of gene fragments, they can copy alone, and will be copied to fragment inserted into other gene sequence in different positions on, like a parasitic parasites in the genes, and transposon can interfere with the normal functions of genes, Much like the damage a parasite can do to its host.
Mutual constraints in a hyperparasitic relationship
Some people think that the hyperparasitic relationship is similar to the relationship between grass, herbivores, and carnivores, and can be mutually restrictive.
Examples of such restraint do exist, such as a fungus called Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, which likes to control the body of Camponotus Leonardi.
And partial side snake caterpillar fungus can alter the behavior of ants model, for the ants from foraging path and live, to run to the temperature and humidity for fungal growth area, and then, the ants will down leaf until death, the process, by lateral snake caterpillar fungus is released from ant first minister of fruiting body and spores, complete the reproductive process.
But the ants didn’t just sit back and die. They learned to fight bacteria with bacteria. Ophiocordyceps can be parasitized by another fungus that kills it.
So by grooming each other, the ants allow the fungus to spread through the colony, limiting the destructive power of ophiophora, and balancing the relationship between the three.
Heavy parasitic still can cure a disease
Perhaps inspired by this, some people began to study the value of megamytosis in pest control and medical applications.
For example, Cryphonectria parasitica is a fungus that can cause severe damage to American chestnut trees (chestnut blight is also one of the most important forest diseases). However, there is a virus (low virulence virus CHV1) that can spread among parasitica, rendering the parasitica sterile.
The destruction of C. parasitism can be effectively alleviated by artificial release of c. parasitism infected with low virulence virus CHV1. This biological control method has achieved certain results.
On the medical side, many phages control the proliferation of bacteria and are far more effective than antibiotics when used to treat diseases. Currently, a number of researchers are looking at phage therapy as a way to combat superbugs, and maybe someday we’ll be able to use phage “drugs.”