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Topic in Depth - Human Ectoparasites (7)

If you were to worry about all of the parasites living on your body, often helping you, you'd never fall asleep. As a living organism part of a bigger ecosystem, humans play host to many other living things. This Topic In Depth offers a look into the fascinating world of Human Ectoparasites.

This site, from page from the encyclopedia-style web site InnVista, offers a brief introduction to some of the ectoparasitic species that make their living off the human body. It includes basic information about common ectoparasites such as lice, fleas, mites, ticks and jiggers.

Department of Medical Entomology: Bedbugs
The University of Sydney and Westmead Hospital, Australia offers a quick introduction to the bedbug in this Web site. Information includes the natural history of bedbugs, clinical presentation, laboratory diagnosis, and treatment and control of them.

Human Body Lice Reveal the Birthdate of Fashion
This site, from Australian Broadcasting Corporation, relates how the evolution of human body lice was made possible when we developed the habit of wearing clothes some 40,000 years ago. "'This ecological differentiation [between lice which lay their eggs in the scalp and those that lay their eggs in clothes) probably...

Humans Less Hairy Thanks to Parasites and Sex
This site, from the Australian Broadcasting Company, describes an alternative hypothesis as to why humans lost their fur: "it reduced the number of biting and disease-causing parasites, and made them more sexually attractive." This hypothesis runs contrary to current beliefs that humans lost their body hair in order...

The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture Entomology Department offers an introduction to chiggers on this site. Information includes and introduction to what chiggers look like, what and how they feed, personal protection and how to control them outside.

Entamoeba gingivalis
Kansas State University offers a few pictures and interesting tidbits on tooth amoebas, the toothbrush-fleeing microscopic parasites found where the teeth meet the gums. These photos and facts are part of a tutorial for Steve J. Upton's Animal Parasitology course at Kansas State University. Interestingly, 1% of all...

Bloodsuckers Hit the Medical Comeback Trail
An example of a beneficial ectoparasite is the leech, which is making a comeback in medical circles for its anticoagulant properties and other medicinal uses as related in this article from the BBC News. According to this article, leeches are particularly useful when a patient's blood vessels are too weak to...

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