5 Facts About Parasites

University of Virginia biologist Amanda Gibson
August 23, 2023

UVA Today, August 22, 2023 Eric Williamson

Some creatures hunt or scavenge to survive, while others freeload. Parasites make up the gross, but fascinating, latter category.

University of Virginia biologist Amanda Gibson studies and teaches about the range of survival strategies within that rogue’s gallery of lifeforms that glom on.

“Students often understandably come in with misconceptions about parasites,” Gibson said. “They’re thinking like the ‘Alien’ movies or ‘The Last of Us’ on HBO, with things bursting out of people.”

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Photo: A researcher views a pathogenic strain of Fusarium oxysporum, a parasite that causes Panama disease and threatens the bananas consumers enjoy. (Photo by Keith Weller, USDA Agricultural Research Service)