Dictionary > Parasitoid


noun, plural: parasitoids
An organism that lives on or inside the host at one phase in its life cycle, and usually ends up in killing its host
Parasitodism is a form of parasitism wherein the parasitic organism lives on or inside the host to spend a phase of its life cycle, and often causing the death of its host. This parasitic organism is referred to as a parasitoid.
Certain insect species are parasitoids. A majority of them are in the Hymenoptera. Parasitoid wasp pertains to the parasitoidal Hymenopteran taxa, Apocrita. The Apocrita is divided into several taxonomic families that parasitize various animals, chiefly other arthropods. The parasitoidal female deposits its eggs into the host (e.g. an arthropod larva). Inside the host, the larvae are released from the egg. The larvae then feed on the host’s tissue. At the host’s pupa stage, the host may already be dead or is moribund. Some parasitoid wasp species leave their host by eating their way out of their host and live freely as adult wasps.
Other animals that are regarded as parasitoids are female Sacculina, a genus of barnacles. The parasitoid injects itself (as kentrogon) into a crab in order to grow in the crab and reproduce. There are also plants that are parasitoidal. An example is dodder species that parasitize and killing the branches of (sometimes, killing entirely) the host plant they infect.
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