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parasitism

Definition

A form of symbiosis based on unilateral physiological dependence, where the parasite temporarily or permanently resides in or on the host during several or all of its developmental stages, usually causing some degree of real damage to the host. The parasite derives part or all of its organic nutrients from the host and in many cases the host serves as a habitat for reproduction. The parasite often causes changes in the physiological performance of the host, depending on specific properties of both host and parasite. Parasitism is, in contrast to all other forms of symbiosis, a strictly patho-biological phenomenon.

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