Parasites

Parasites can also be aggressive mimics, though the situation is somewhat different from those outlined above. Some of the predators described have a feature that draws prey, and parasites can also mimic their host's natural prey, but are eaten themselves, a pathway into their host. Leucochloridium, a genus of flatworm, matures in the digestive system of songbirds, their eggs then passing out of the bird via the feces. They are then taken up by Succinea, a terrestrial snail. The eggs develop in this intermediate host, and then must find of a suitable bird to mature in. As the host birds do not eat snails, so the sporocyst has another strategy to reach its host's intestine. They are brightly colored and move in a pulsating fashion. A sporocyst-sac pulsates in the snail's eye stalks,[53][54] coming to resemble an irresistible meal for a songbird. In this way, it can bridge the gap between hosts, allowing it to complete its life cycle.[2] A nematode (Myrmeconema neotropicum) changes the colour of the abdomen of workers of the canopy ant Cephalotes atratus to make it appear like the ripe fruits of Hyeronima alchorneoides. It also changes the behaviour of the ant so that the gaster (rear part) is held raised. This presumably increases the chances of the ant being eaten by birds. The droppings of birds are collected by other ants and fed to their brood, thereby helping to spread the nematode.[55] In an unusual case, planidium larvae of some beetles of the genus Meloe will form a group and produce a pheromone that mimics the sex attractant of its host bee species; when the male bee arriv s and attempts to mate with the mass of larvae, they climb onto his abdomen, and from there transfer to a female bee, and from there to the bee nest to parasitize the bee larvae.[56] Host-parasite mimicry is a two species system where a parasite mimics its own host. Cuckoos are a canonical example of brood parasitism, a form of kleptoparasitism where the mother has its offspring raised by another unwitting organism, cutting down the biological mother's parental investment in the process. The ability to lay eggs which mimic the host eggs is the key adaptation. The adaptation to different hosts is inherited through the female line in so-called gentes. Cases of intraspecific brood parasitism, where a female lays in conspecific's nest, as illustrated by the Goldeneye duck (Bucephala clangula),[57] do not represent a case of mimicry. Brood parasites are organisms that use the strategy of brood parasitism, a kind of kleptoparasitism found among birds, fish or insects, involving the manipulation and use of host individuals either of the same (intraspecific brood-parasitism) or different species (interspecific brood-parasitism) to raise the young of the brood-parasite. This relieves the parasitic parent from the investment of rearing young or building nests, enabling them to spend more time foraging, producing offspring etc. Additionally, the risk of egg loss to raiders such as raccoons is mitigated, by having distributed the eggs amongst a number of different nests.[1] As this behaviour is damaging to the host, it will often result in an evolutionary arms race between parasite and host.