Book review: ‘Parasite Rex: Inside the bizarre world of nature's most dangerous creatures’ by Carl Zimmer

The weird and wonderful ways in which parasites make a living.

Parasite RexThis is a fascinating trip into the world of the parasite. The book's subtitle describes this world as bizarre, but the adjective hardly does it justice. If there's an ecological niche inside a potential host's body, there will be a parasite to fill it, it would seem. There are parasites that live only in the Achilles' tendons of deer; there are parasites whose life-cycles carry them from snail to ant to cow's liver; there are parasites that turn crabs into spayed zombies who nurture the parasites' own offspring.

If Nature really does have an intelligent designer*, then it's a designer with a twisted sicko's imagination.

The second half of the book descibes the evolutionary arms races that take place between parasite and host, and makes an interesting case for parasites' being a major factor in the evolution of life on earth.

* It doesn't, by the way.

Note: I will receive a small referral fee if you buy this book via one of the above links.
Writer and photographer Richard Carter, FCD is the founder of the Friends of Charles Darwin. He lives in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.WebsiteFacebookTwitterNewsletterBooks
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