Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Parasite of the Day

My colleague at the American Museum of Natural History, Susan Perkins, has started an ambitious new blog. She will be introducing a new parasite to the world each day in Parasite of the Day. Unfortunately, perhaps, for the hosts of the world, Susan has plenty of subject matter and should be busy for quite some time. A recent paper in PNAS (Dobson et al. 2008) states that although they "estimate that there are between 75,000 and 300,000 helminth species parasitizing the vertebrates. [They] have no credible way of estimating how many parasitic protozoa, fungi, bacteria, and viruses exist. At least the helminths parasites of vertebrates will keep Susan busy for the next 821 years or so.

The photo above is of Neoechinorhynchus emyditoides a species of acanthocephalan, or thorny-headed worm, by Mike Barger.


  1. John -

    FYI - the specific epithet of this worm is emyditoides (Colleen works with emydids).

  2. Very cool! I did not know that about Colleen. Thanks for the correction :)