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Most hosts and parasites exist in diverse communities wherein they interact with other species, spanning the parasite-mutualist continuum. These additional interactions have the potential to impose selection on hosts and parasites and influence the patterns and processes of their evolution. Yet, host-parasite interactions are almost exclusively studied in species pairs. A wave of new research has incorporated a multispecies community context, showing that additional ecological interactions can alter components of host and parasite fitness, as well as interaction specificity and virulence. Here, we synthesize these findings to assess the effects of increased species diversity on the patterns and processes of host and parasite evolution. We argue that our understanding of host-parasite interactions would benefit from a richer biotic perspective.

Original publication




Journal article


Trends Parasitol

Publication Date





863 - 873


community, diversity, experimental evolution, host–parasite interactions, Animals, Biodiversity, Biological Evolution, Ecosystem, Environment, Host-Parasite Interactions, Parasites