Explanation of Names
From Greek, parasitos parasite, plus eidos form.
noun, plural parasitoids
- an insect that, in the larval
stage, feeds off of the tissues of its host (as does a parasite
), but this feeding normally results in death of the host. Thus a parasitoid is in some ways a predator
as well. Additional characteristics:
parasitoids found mostly among the Diptera
(flies) and Hymenoptera
(wasps); some Coleoptera
(beetles), a few other groups such as Strepsiptera
(in the neuroptera), perhaps some Lepidoptera
usually smaller than their hosts as adults, but typically close in size
hosts are usually other insects, or at least arthropods--not vertebrates, for instance
parasitic lifestyle occurs only during the larval stage of the parasitoid
parasitoids attack only one stage of the host
Examples of prominent parasitoids:
Parasitoids can be further divided as follows (Wikipedia--Parasitoid
Idiobionts prevent further development of the host after initially immobilizing it and usually develop outside the host.
Koinobionts allow the host to continue its development while feeding upon it, and may parasitize any host life stage. These can be subdivided further:
endoparasitoids - develop inside the body of the host
ectoparasitoids - develop outside the host body, though frequently attached or embedded in host tissues
Sometimes a parasitoid is, in turn, attacked by another parasitoid species. This species would be called most properly a secondary parasitoid, or hyperparasitoid, but it is often called simply a hyperparasite.
Mahr, Dan. The Major Groups of Natural Enemies: Parasitoids, Part I
. Biological Control News 5(6) (June 1998).
Pierce, Naomi. Predatory and parasitic lepidoptera: carnivores living on plants. Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 49(4), 1995, 412-453. (link