Positive role of parasites

  • Katarzyna Szopieray Nicolas Copernicus University, Faculty of Biological and Veterinary Sciences, Department of Invertebrate Zoology and Parasitology, ul. Lwowska 1, 87-100 Toruń, Poland
  • Elżbieta Żbikowska Nicolaus Copernicus University, Faculty of Biological and Veterinary Sciences, Department of Invertebrate Zoology and Parasitology
Keywords: parasitism, food webs, biological invasions, ecosystem engineering, heavy metals accumulation


Parasitism belongs to the antagonistic interactions between different species. It is also one of the most common trophic strategies used by organisms. The host-parasite system is a long-term interaction, as well as at the population as individual level, because parasites, despite their clearly negative impact on the host, rarely lead to its death. Unfortunately, the traditional approach to parasitic organisms as the etiological factors of diseases makes them primarily of interest to medicine and veterinary practice. Meanwhile, they constitute an extremely diverse group, of ubiquitous organisms, the range of which is limited only by the lack of  hosts. The different levels of organization and the wide spread of parasites cause that they have a significant impact on the environment. Researchers emphasize the important role of parasites in shaping and functioning of ecosystems and, more specifically, their positive impact on biodiversity, food webs and energy flow. The aim of this study was to challenge the stereotype of parasitism as an unambiguously negative interaction and to show evidence of the significant impact of parasites on the biocenosis and the environment.


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How to Cite
SzopierayK., & ŻbikowskaE. (2021). Positive role of parasites. Acta Zoologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, 67(3), 289-300. https://doi.org/10.17109/AZH.