Fur, Fleas, and Flukes

The Fascinating World of Parasites

Table of contents


Introduction: Of Wolves and Worms

1. Pinworms, Primates, and Porcupines: How Parasites Travelled the World
2. Stone Cold Killers: Trichinella in the Arctic
3. Who’s Your Daddy? Lice on Great Apes
4. Giants Crawl among Us: Giant Liver Flukes
5. Of Beetles and Beavers
6. Stranded Whales: A Fluke Accident?
7. How the Zebra Got Its Stripes
8. Ornaments and Parasites
9. The Night of the Vampire
10. Your Brain on Worms: Nature’s Biological Weapon
11. The Tale of the Tape: The World’s Longest Parasite
12. Death by Raccoon
13. Blood, Moths, and Tears
14. The Manchurian Parasite
15. A Ghost of a Chance
16. Sex and the Single Schistosome
17. The Trickster: Coyotes and Their Parasites
18. Fleas: The Inside Story

Conclusion: The Greatest Show on Earth



Today, even if you live in a major city and seldom get a chance to visit national parks or wildlife reserves, you encounter wild mammals. On the inside and the outside of these animals exist an amazing diversity of living things: parasites. These parasites play crucial roles in the ecology, behaviour, and evolution of their wild mammal hosts.

In Fur, Fleas, and Flukes, parasitologist Michael Stock tells the stories of wild mammals – from armadillos to zebras – and the fascinating unseen organisms – such as tapeworms, flukes, and roundworms – that live in and on them. Stock examines how parasites can modify mammal behaviour, shape their appearance, determine where they live, and even influence how they survive. He details how parasites can transfer to our pets and, disturbingly, lead to disease and fatalities in humans.

Fur, Fleas, and Flukes also takes into account the potential impact of unprecedented environmental changes on our planet, highlighting how these shifts may alter the ecological balance between mammals and their parasites – ultimately affecting human beings and our health.