Conservation of Parasites: Emphasis as Species
Donald A. Windsor
Successful conservation of parasites is being handicapped because people (including many scientists) are not always differentiating between parasites as individuals and parasites as species.
Here is what must be emphasized. Species evolve. Individuals do not.
Parasites, as individuals, harm their hosts, by definition.
Parasites, as species, actually benefit their host species.
At the species level, parasites benefit their hosts by enabling them to survive. Parasites manage the ecosystems in which the hosts live. Without suitable ecosystems, the hosts would have to either go extinct or evolve into new species.
Without parasites, ecosystems would deteriorate into just a few monocultures of very aggressively invasive species. Biodiversity is due to parasites.