Difference Between Parasite and Parasitoid (With Table)

Several organisms are dependent on the host for their survival. Two such organisms are parasites and parasitoids that have a large number of similarities and differences. People always tend to get confused between these two organisms as both of them sound almost the same and have numerous similarities.

Parasite vs Parasitoid

The difference between parasites and parasitoids is that parasites are present in more than one kingdom of life, they are present in plants, animals, and humans whereas parasitoids are limited to a single kingdom of life which are insects. The major parasites are hookworm and fleas whereas the major parasitoids are Diptera and Hymenoptera.

A parasite refers to an organism that resides within the host thus depends on the host for its survival. The parasite is unable to prosper, develop, and breed without the presence of its host. It also injures the host but does not plan to kill or destroy the host. A parasite that resides within the host is referred to as endoparasite. On the other hand, ectoparasite refers to a form of the parasite that resides within the host.

Parasitoid refers to an organism that survives and grows with the help of its host but at last, it just kills its host. Parasitoid also derives all of its needs from its host like shelter, food, and growth. A parasitoid generally has a single host which makes it very specific.

Comparison Table Between Parasite and Parasitoid

Parameters of ComparisonParasiteParasitoid
Relationship with HostA Parasite may harm the host but does not have the intention to kill or eliminate the host. A Parasitoid may directly kill the host as it has the intention to kill the host.
Host Organism TypeAlmost all the kingdoms of life namely plant, animals, and humans may serve as the host of parasites.Only the species and types of insects can be the host of parasitoids.
SpecificityParasitic synergy is very specific and predictable.The intercommunication and synergy are not very specific and predictable.
Area of survivalAlmost all parasites live within or outside the body of the organism which is the host.Almost all parasitoids reside and spend their entire lifespan within the body of the organism which is the host.
DefinitionParasites refer to an organism that is highly reliant on its host for achieving more than one claim in its entire lifecycle.Parasitoids refer to an organism that is reliant entirely and completely on its host for its survival.
ExamplesLeeches, fleas, and tapeworms are examples of parasites.Beetles and wasps are types of parasitoids.

What is Parasite?

Parasite refers to an organism that lives within or outside the other organism known as the host. It may or may not kill the host and just make it injured. Parasites have a large number of characteristics that help the parasite to be in synchronization with the lifestyle of the parasite. One of the major features of parasites is that they prevail in almost every kingdom of life namely animals, plants, and humans.

Endoparasites refer to the parasites that reside outside the body of the host. On the other hand, Ectoparasites refer to the parasites that reside within the body of the host. Tapeworms, leech, mosquitos, and fleas are the most popular types of parasites.

Talking about parasitic plants, they collect the required minerals and nutrients for their growth from different plants. All the parasites become reliable for one or the other purpose on their host. The parasite is comparatively smaller in size when compared to its host. It does not kill its host but may make it injured.

One of the most important concepts is called parasitism that means an established relationship between two species of the life kingdom in which one of the organisms helps the other to prosper, grow, and live its entire life successfully.

What is Parasitoid?

Parasitoid refers to an organism that resides within the host and ultimately kills it. The major examples of parasitoids are wasps, beetles, and a few wing insects. Parasitoids survive on only a single host hence they are extremely host particular that eventually makes them more prone to a biological control mechanism.

During the time of breeding and fertilization, the parasitoids give multiple eggs which in turn convert into multiple larvae. While talking about larval parasitoids, they kill only one of the hosts during their development and do not migrate in search of killing the others.

Mostly, parasitoids are found in insects type known as the Endopterygota. This word came into existence in the year 1913 and was coined by a writer known as William Morton Wheeler. There are two types of parasitoids depending on the area where they reside known as Endoparasitoid and Ectoparasitoid.

Main Differences Between Parasite and Parasitoid

  1. A parasite may harm the host but may not kill the host whereas a parasitoid always kills the host after it derives all the necessary benefits from it.
  2. Parasites are present in almost every kingdom of life like plants, animals, and humans. On the other hand, parasitoids are present in only insect kingdom and species.
  3. Parasites have only one host hence it is very specific whereas parasites may have more than one host thus their specificity is low.
  4. Parasites lie on or inside the body of the host. On the other hand, parasitoid lies only inside the body of the host.
  5. Leeches, tapeworms, and fleas are types of parasites. On the other hand, the major types of parasitoids are Beetles and wasps.

Conclusion

Many people are confused about how they must differentiate between parasites and parasitoids in the best possible manner. Both of them have a large number of similarities but their differences cannot be ignored as they play a significant role in determining their meaning.

Parasites do not kill their host and they are dependent on their host for all their needs and requirements whereas parasitoids always kill their host after fulfilling all their needs and requirements. Both of them may sound the same but have significant differences.

References

  1. https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03197821/
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/3545801
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