SAVE the parasites

Peter W Pappas ppappas at magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu
Wed Apr 13 10:51:34 EST 1994


In article <1994Apr13.121324.21920 at oxvaxd>,  <rupp at vax.oxford.ac.uk> wrote:
>SAVE THE PARASITES!
>
>Parasites have a very bad public image. Thousands of organisations combat them
>and would be quite happy to drive them to extinction. That's unfair! Why shoul
d
>high-ranking values such as Biodiversity, The Right to Existence, Gene Pool an
d
>Pharmacological Potential be reserved for plants, herbivores and carnivores?
>These are merely other ways to steal energy and building blocks from other lif
e
>forms.
>
>Is there any study on endangered parasites? ;-)
>
>Greetings,
>
>johan
>---------------------------------------------------------------
>Freedom is when you may scratch yourself where it doesn't itch.
>

THIS IS A VERY INTERESTING QUESTION --- ONE THAT I POINT OUT TO STUDENTS IN MY 
UPPER LEVEL PARASITOLOGY COURSE AS WELL AS MY INTRODUCTORY LEVEL NON-MAJORS 
BIOLOGY COURSE.  IT SEEMS THAT PARASITOLOGISTS ARE THE ANTHTHESIS OF 
CONSERVATION BIOLOGISTS IN THAT WE (OR AT LEAST SOME) ARE TRYING TO SEND SOME 
SPECIES INTO EXTINCTION.  SHOULD WE BE DOING THIS????  (A PURELY PHILOSOPHICAL 
QUESTION.)  REGARDING THE USE OF THE TERMINOLOGY "ENDANGERED SPECIES," THIS 
TERM HAS A VERY "SPECIAL" MEANING AND CAN NOT BE APPLIED TO A SPECIES THAT IS 
BE CONSCIOUSLY ERADICATED.  SOME SPECIES HAVE, NO DOUBT, ALREADY BEEN DRIVEN TO
EXTINCTION!  I KNOW AT OF LEAST ONE INSTANCE IN WHICH A RESEARCHER COLLECTED SO
MANY SNAILS FROM A POND (IN AN ATTEMPT TO COLLECT LARVAL TREMATODES), THAT HE 
ERADICATED AT LEAST ONE SPECIES OF DIGENETIC TREMATODE THOUGHT TO OCCUR ONLY IN
SNAILS ONLY IN THAT ONE POND.  I'M SURE THERE ARE OTHER EXAMPLES.
-- 
Peter W. Pappas, Professor/Chairperson, Department of Zoology,
The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH  43210  USA
E-mail: pappas.3 at osu.edu; FAX (614)-292-2030,
PHONE (614)-292-8088



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