The beauty of parasites

The beauty of parasites

Crescent Beach, BC

A spaghetti worm (Family Terebellidae), infected by metacercariae (pearl-like objects in the image) of a trematode parasite (Himasthla quissetensis). The free-swimming life stage of the parasite, known as cercariae, are consumed by the unsuspecting worm. The cercariae then metamorphose into metacercariae, a dormant cyst, and wait until the worm is consumed by the next host in the parasites life cycle.