Parasites Invade the InternetBy Tara Weaver
July 21, 1998
Everything you ever wanted to know about microsporidia is now
available on the Internet. ARS researchers and colleagues at several
universities have published a new manual about these single-celled protozoan
parasites on the World Wide Web.
Microsporidia are among the smallest and most primitive of
eukaryotic cells--that is, cells having a nucleus. They produce a spore with a
coiled internal tube that is expelled to inject the "germ" into the host
The manual, Microsporidia (Protozoa): A Handbook of Biology and
Research Techniques, provides a complete guide to diagnosis,
identification, handling and control of the parasites.
Albert H. Undeen (retired) wrote Microsporidia in
collaboration with fellow ARS entomologist
Becnel and researchers from Connecticut, Florida, North Carolina, Illinois,
Minnesota, Michigan and Montana.
The manual should be a welcome tool for researchers working in the
growing field of parasite biology and taxonomy. The need for biological
alternatives to pesticides is sparking greater interest in microbial parasites,
Microsporidia are important pathogens of both beneficial and pest
insects. Researchers are investigating these single-celled creatures as
biological control agents for mosquitoes, grasshoppers and many other insect
pests, particularly those that attack crops. Some harmful microsporidia,
however, are known to attack honey bees, silkworms, crustacea and fish.
The manual is only available on the World Wide Web. A link to it
can be found at:
There are no plans to release a print version.
Scientific contact: James J. Becnel,
and Fly Research Unit, Center for
Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, Gainesville, Fla., (352)
374-5961, fax (352) 374-5834, firstname.lastname@example.org.