Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.


A parasite that lives on the exterior of its host.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a parasitic organism that lives on the surface of the body of the host. Ectoparasites make up the largest group of organisms that live on the surface of other organisms. Some ectoparasites are permanently attached to the host, such as copepods living on the skin and gills of fish. However, most move along the host’s body, for example, Urcelariidae and monogenetic flatworms, which parasitize fish, and lice and bird lice, which parasitize birds and occasionally mammals. Various and frequently complex organs of attachment, such as suckers, suction disks, and hooks, are the principal means by which they adapt to existence on the host.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
We collected ectoparasites from the skin and pelage of bats and stored them in microcentrifuge tubes with 70% ethanol.
Resource tracking patterns in bird and mammal ectoparasites. Miscellaneous Publications of the Entomological Society of America 9: 231-236.
Ectoparasite results are described in Tables 1 and 3 (see also Supplementary material Appendix 1 Fig.
Collection of Ectoparasites. From June to July 2015, 188 houses were randomly visited and all domestic animals present in them (dogs, cats, horses, etc.) were examined, with previous authorization by the owner, looking for ectoparasites in body sites such as ears, shoulders, udder, and belly.
Some of the major vector-borne diseases of public health importance in this region include scrub typhus, rickettsioses, (3,4) and leptospirosis; all associated with small mammals and their ectoparasites, especially rodents in rural and semirural settings.
Among the arthropods, ectoparasites of domestic and wild birds are the group of mites that feed only of feathers or dead skin cells (PROCTOR, 2003; TUCCI, 2005; POUCKE, et al., 2016).
Adaptive significance of avian beak morphology for ectoparasite control.
The ectoparasites of poultry like ticks, lice and mites play an important role in the transmission of certain pathogens which cause heavy economic losses to poultry industry (Iqbal et al., 2003).
Low humidity reduces ectoparasite pressure: implications for host life history evolution.
Nous presentons nos constatations en matiere de prevalence et d'abondance de l'ectoparasite cyamidae (Cyamus ceti) ou << pou des baleines >> se trouvant sur la baleine boreale (Balaena mysticetus) capturee a des fins de subsistance dans la mer de Bering, la mer des Tchouktches et la mer de Beaufort entre 1973 et 2015.