(redirected from ectoparasitism)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.


A parasite that lives on the exterior of its host.



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.

References in periodicals archive ?
Observations on ectoparasitism by Eutrombicula alfreddugesi (Acari: Trombiculidae) in a population of Sceloporus cyanogenys.
Field variation in ectoparasitism may be associated with damselfly symmetry, should the stressful conditions during larval growth (e.
Ectoparasitism as a cost of coloniality in cliff swallows (Hirundo pyrrhonota).
obtaining new mates) instead of increasing provisioning effort to compensate for the ectoparasitism.
Ectoparasitism by Eutrombicula alfreddugesi (Acari: Trombiculidae) on Liolaemus tenuis lizard in a Chilean fragmented temperate forest.
Nests that failed due to Philornis ectoparasitism (Segura and Reboreda 2011) were not considered.