Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Parasites Invade the Internet

By 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 organism.

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 James J. 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, especially microsporidia.

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, Mosquito and Fly Research Unit, Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, Gainesville, Fla., (352) 374-5961, fax (352) 374-5834,

Last Modified: 5/15/2017
Footer Content Back to Top of Page