Parasite vs Parasitoid
The understanding about a parasite is fairly common among most of the people, while the meaning of a parasitoid has been a little puzzling. Therefore, it would be important to understand these terms with some sense. Both these are ecological relationships where one organism lives at the expense of the other known as the host. In addition, the hosts are never benefitted from both parasite and parasitoid. All the important particulars are discussed and compared in this article, and it would worth going through the presented information.
Parasite is an organism that lives with a host (an individual of another species) in a very close relationship where the parasite is benefitted from the host. It is important to know that the term parasite is defined when there are more than one host is involved with the lifecycle of the parasite. Parasites cannot live without their hosts, as their requirements cannot be fulfilled on their own. Usually, a parasite extracts nutrition, energy, space, and many other requirements of life from its host, as it grows, multiplies, and forms large populations causing many harmful problems. Usually, parasite is always smaller than the host, and protozoans, helminthes, viruses, and bacteria contain the majority of them. There are various types of parasites based on the place of parasitic invasion, type of invasion, taxonomic group involved, and many more. A feature common for all the parasites is that they become dependent entirely on the host for some purpose during one period of their lifecycle. As an example, the koel bird (Eudynamys sp) depends on crow, to incubate their eggs. That process is a form of parasitism where the koel depends on crow, to complete the breeding. Therefore, it is clear that the term parasitism means one organism lives at the expense of another in a period of their lifecycle for some benefit. Since parasites move within species in the cases of many hosts, there is a possibility of transferring genetic materials between species, and which is an advantage that hosts get from parasites. Therefore, parasitism may not always be a negative prospectus.
Parasitoid is an organism that lives the entire life attached to one host. It is a similar type of association like parasites, but there is only one host involved and eventually the host is killed or sterilised. All the requirements of life including nutrition and shelter or space are fulfilled from the host by the parasitoids. Therefore, the prognosis of a parasitoid invasion could be severe for the host. Except for the severity and the preference on only one host, parasitoids are similar to parasites in their activity.
What is the difference between Parasite and Parasitoid?
• A parasite depends on its host to fulfil for one or more requirements of their lifecycle, while a parasitoid depends entirely on the host for all the activities to maintain its life.
• Parasite lives through only one or few stages of the lifecycle inside a host whereas parasitoid lives through the entire lifecycle inside the host.
• Parasitoids eventually consume or sterilize the host organism, while parasites do not always kill the host.