Difference Between Total Parasite and Partial Parasite

The main difference between total parasite and partial parasite is that the total parasite totally depends on the host for its growth, survival, and reproduction whereas the partial parasite depends on the host only for a certain requirement of their life such as water and shelter. Total parasitic plants are called holoparasitic plants while partial parasitic plants are called hemiparasitic plants. 

Total parasite and partial parasite are two types of parasites classified according to the degree of dependency on their host. 

Key Areas Covered 

1. What is a Total Parasite
     – Definition, Facts, Examples
2. What is a Partial Parasite
     – Definition, Facts, Examples
3. What are the Similarities Between Total Parasite and Partial Parasite
     – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Total Parasite and Partial Parasite
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Hemiparasite, Holoparasite, Partial Parasite, Photosynthetic, Total Parasite 

Difference Between Total Parasite and Partial Parasite - Comparison Summary

What is a Total Parasite 

Total parasite is a parasite that completely depends on the host for all its requirements. Total parasitic plants are called holoparasites. They do not produce food and suck the sap from the host. Cuscuta (dodder) is the most common example of total parasitic plants. The leaves of the plant are reduced to minute scales. The specialized roots in holoparasitic plants are called haustoria.

Difference Between Total Parasite and Partial Parasite

Figure 1: Cuscuta, a Stem Holoparasite  

Generally, endoparasite and ectoparasites are the two terms used to describe parasitic animals. Endoparasites live inside the body of animals while ectoparasites live on the body.  

What is a Partial Parasite 

Partial parasites are non-nutrient parasites that depend on the host for water or residence. Partial parasitic plants are called hemiparasites. Some examples of hemiparasites are mistletoe, which is an obligate stem hemiparasite, Indian sandalwood (Santalumalbum) Velvetbells (Bartsia alpina) Rattle plants (Rhinanthus) Indian paintbrush.

Main Difference - Total Parasite and Partial Parasite

Figure 2: Mistletoe

Western Australian Christmas tree (Nuytsia floribunda) is another type of hemiparasite, which is an obligate root hemiparasite. Yellow rattle (Rhinanthus) is another facultative root hemiparasite. 

Similarities Between Total Parasite and Partial Parasite 

  • Total parasite and partial parasite are two types of parasites with different degree of dependency on the host. 
  • They depend on the host to fulfil several requirements of their life.  
  • Both generally refer to the plant parasites. 

Difference Between Total Parasite and Partial Parasite 

Definition 

Total parasite is a complete parasite that depends on the host to fulfil all its requirements while partial parasite refers to a parasite that depends on the host for some requirements. 

Dependency 

Total parasitic plants depend on the host plant for sugar, minerals, and water while partial parasitic plants are photosynthetic and produce their own food, depending on the host for water and shelter.  

Plants  

Total parasitic plants are called holoparasitic plants while partial parasitic plants are called hemiparasitic plants. 

Chlorophyll 

Total parasite is achlorophyllous (does not contain chlorophyll) while partial parasite is chlorophyllous (contain chlorophyll). 

Examples 

Some total parasites are dodder, broomrape, and Rafflesia, etc. while some partial parasites are Castilleja, mistletoe, yellow rattle, etc. 

Conclusion 

Total parasite depends on their host for food, water, and shelter while partial parasite depends only on the host for water. The main difference between total parasite and partial parasite is the degree of dependency on the host. 

Reference:

1. BotRejectsInc. “Parasitic Plants.” Plant_Bodies_stemsAvailable Here

Image Courtesy:

1. “Cuscuta parasite plant” By Khalid Mahmood – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia  
2. “Mistletoe, coming soon to a market near you – geograph.org.uk – 1585249″ By Pauline Eccles (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

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