How to handle macroparasites

If you're identifying macroparasites from an animal sample -- say visual inspection for ectoparasites, or necropsy for endoparasites -- you might not be running "tests" on "samples" in the familiar sense. We suggest that you:

  • Think about the animal itself as equivalent to the "sample",

  • Report detailed information on both parasite collection and identification, including sequence data if used for molecular identification, and

  • Report count data as "outcome data" as appropriate

For example, a researcher might report the identification of a shark tapeworm through a mix of both visual and molecular features, and include a link to the parasite sequence:

Host species Collection method or tissue Detection method Detection outcome Pathogen GenBank accession
Squalus mitsukurii Intestine (dissection) Electron microscopy, NGS Positive Trilocularia eberti GB8675309

Another researcher screening a bat for bat flies might report that they identified three batflies (Basilia fletcheri) on one individual, but another had no batflies of any kind:

Sample ID Animal ID Host species Detection target Detection method
1 scdo001 scdo001 Scotozous dormeri Nycteribiidae Visual
2 scdo002 scdo002 Scotozous dormeri Nycteribiidae Visual
Detection outcome Pathogen Detection measurement Detection measurement units
1 Positive Scotozous dormeri 3 Count
2 Negative Scotozous dormeri 0 Count

Atypical data

Remember that PHAROS is only intended to be used with "line list" data of host-parasite associations. Examples of macroparasite observations that would be better suited for GBIF could include:

  • Observation of mite presence in an entire beehive (not individual host level)

  • Leech presence in a swamp (not an observation of a host-parasite interaction)

  • A preserved parasite in a collection without any metadata on collection or host

Related: for questions about vector-borne pathogens as they interact with parasitic vectors, see the "Vector-borne disease" guide.