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Hyperparasitism

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What is a hyperparasite? It is literally is just a parasite which infects a host which itself happens to be a parasite ([link])
Or as explained by Jonathan Swift: "So, naturalists observe, a flea has smaller fleas that on him prey; and these have smaller still to bite ’em; and so proceed ad infinitum."
Or perhaps as explained by Xzibit: "Yo dawg, I heard you like parasites, so we put a parasite in a parasite, so it can get parasitized as it parasitizes."
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godofwarlover's avatar

That thing looks like it's in pain

Eco727's avatar
You are just awesome sir.
The-Episiarch's avatar
jennsch's avatar
Interesting creature design!
elytracephalid's avatar
I like it! I also like the Xzibit reference in the description :D
ArgentDandelion's avatar
So adorable in a groable (gross-adorable) way.
(P.S. I first learned of the neologism "groable" from PFsuggestionsboard. In case "groable" becomes a widespread term, I want the source to be clear.)
The-Episiarch's avatar
Thank you! You might already know of his work, but I think Scythemantis :iconscythemantis: is someone who does "groable" particularly well.
ArgentDandelion's avatar
Sometimes. Sometimes he simply does Ugly Cute, or not cute at all, but morbid. Many of his Mortasheen scare me.
AmnioticOef's avatar
Parasite fractals!

What is it that preys on fleas, anyway? Mites?
The-Episiarch's avatar
Well, there's a species of dog tapeworm which parasitises fleas and use fleas to get into dogs ([link]).

I wrote about a number of hyperparasites for the blog I linked to in my description, there's even a virus which infects viruses ([link])!
AmnioticOef's avatar
Wow, I could never have imagined those things existed!

It says the virophage uses the mimivirus's "factories" to produce copies of itself, but what exactly is the mimivirus's producing?
The-Episiarch's avatar
Well, the "virus factories" are structure which the mimivirus creates within the cytoplasm of its host cells to manufacture more viruses. In the case of the virophage, they simply co-opt the molecular machineries of the mimivirus and "re-tool" them (so to speak) to churn out copies of itself instead.
AmnioticOef's avatar
Ah, I see. I thought the factories were inside the virus itself.
Jaldithas's avatar
cool description :D
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