Eric S. Loker Recent Textboox

An Overview of Parasitology: A Conceptual Approach

Loker, E.S. and Hofkin, B.V. 2015. Garland Press. 560 p.

textbook cover

This book explores the ever-more fascinating world of parasites and does so by taking a distinctly different approach from most other textbook treatments of the subject. Instead of emphasizing a taxon-by-taxon approach, we have chosen a path that deliberately puts the exciting ideas and concepts of parasitology in the forefront.

Our inspiration springs from at least three considerations:

  1. As instructors who have long taught the subject, we have been frustrated to find that after completing the obligatory survey of different parasite groups and life cycles, there was often precious little class time left to discuss all the marvelous aspects of parasite biology that somehow didn’t fit the traditional course mold.
  2. As noted by Clark Read in his prescient concepts-oriented textbook entitled Animal Parasitism, published in 1972, the discipline of parasitology has matured and achieved a significant degree of integration with, and impact on, many other biological disciplines. This body of accomplishment deserves to be highlighted.
  3. The traditional coverage of parasitology is provided in several existing textbooks, and also is found with increasing ease on the Web. What is harder to find, though, is a synthetic approach covering major thematic areas within parasitology.

Consequently, our book emphasizes several concepts-oriented topical areas, in 10 chapters, as follows: basic considerations and definitions, overviews of parasite diversity, transmission biology, immunoparasitology, parasites and pathology, ecological aspects of parasitology, evolutionary biology of parasites, conservation biology of parasites, control of parasites, and the future of parasitology.

Our book includes a major appendix called the Rogues’ Gallery, which provides a deliberately succinct overview of the biology of major parasites of medical or veterinary importance. This overview includes the life cycle, and statements regarding prevalence, transmission, diagnosis, and control for each parasite covered. The Rogues’ Gallery is designed to provide a quick way for students to acquire the basic understanding of the parasites being discussed in the text. Parasites covered in the Rogues Gallery are highlighted in red in the text of chapters 1-10, alerting students to the resources present in the Rogues’ Gallery section.