Zoology lecture notes and study materials

Parasitic Adaptations (Platyhelminthes, Nematodes, Insects and Plants)

parasitic adaptations

Parasitic Adaptations of Plants and Animals

What is meant by Adaptation?

Adaptation definition: ‘Any feature of an organism or its part which enables it to exist under conditions of its habitat is called adaptation.’ The adaptations are mainly to withstand the adverse conditions of the environment and to use the maximum benefit of the environment.

What are Parasites?

A parasite is an organism which lives in or on another organism (called host) and benefits by deriving shelter and nutrients from them. The parasitism is a type of negative ecological / biological interaction in nature where one organism gets benefited (the parasite) and the other is harmed (the host). The parasites may be microbes such as bacteria, virus and Mycoplasma, or animals such as liver fluke, worms, nematodes, some insects and plants such as Loranthus, Cuscuta etc. All types of parasites show peculiar adaptations to survive in or on the host system and to get maximum benefit from them.

Learn more: Positive and Negative Interactions in an Ecosystem

Parasites show three level adaptations, they are

(1).     Structural Adaptations (Morphological and Anatomical Adaptations)

(2).     Physiological Adaptations

(3).     Reproductive Adaptations

(1).  Structural Adaptations (Morphological and Anatomical) Adaptations of Parasites:

Ø  Feeding organs are usually absent in endoparasites.

Ø  Fluid feeding insects such as aphids have highly specialized mouth parts for the easy absorption of cell sap from the host.

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