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Trends Parasitol. 2006 Apr;22(4):181-8. Epub 2006 Feb 28.

The evolution of myiasis in humans and other animals in the Old and New Worlds (part II): biological and life-history studies.

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School of Biosciences, University of Exeter, Prince of Wales Road, Exeter, UK, EX4 4PS.


Myiasis, which is the dipteran parasitism of living vertebrates, occurs in several forms - ranging from benign to fatal, opportunistic to obligate - and seems to have evolved through two distinct routes: saprophagous and sanguinivorous. However, the convergent evolution of morphological and life-history traits seems to have had a major role in confusing the overall picture of how myiasis evolved and this simplistic division is further complicated by the existence of both ectoparasitic and endoparasitic species of myiasis-causing Diptera, the evolutionary affinities of which remain to be resolved. As discussed in part I of this review, if we are to elucidate how the different forms of parasitism arose, it is essential to separate the evolution of the various groups of myiasis-causing flies from the evolution of the myiasis habit per se. Accordingly, whereas we focused on recent landmark phylogenetics studies in part I, we use this framework to analyse relevant biochemical, immunological, behavioural, biogeographical and fossil evidence to elucidate the evolution of myiasis in part II.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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