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Parasite

Information about Parasite

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Within that scope are many possible strategies. Taxonomists classify parasites in a variety of overlapping schemes, based on their interactions with their hosts and on their life-cycles, which are sometimes very complex. An obligate parasite depends completely on the host to complete its life cycle, while a facultative parasite does not. Parasite life-cycles involving only one host are called "direct"; those with a definitive host (where the parasite reproduces sexually) and at least one intermediate host are called "indirect". An endoparasite lives inside the host's body; an ectoparasite lives outside, on the host's surface. Mesoparasites—like some copepods, for example—enter an opening in the host's body and remain partly embedded there. Some parasites can be generalists, feeding on a wide range of hosts, but many parasites, and the majority of protozoans and helminths that parasitise animals, are specialists and extremely host-specific. An early basic, functional division of parasites distinguished microparasites and macroparasites. These each had a mathematical model assigned in order to analyse the population movements of the host–parasite groupings. The microorganisms and viruses that can reproduce and complete their life cycle within the host are known as microparasites. Macroparasites are the multicellular organisms that reproduce and complete their life cycle outside of the host or on the host's body.