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alternate host

noun, Ecology
a host, other than the usual or primary host, on which a parasitic organism can sustain itself. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for alternate host
  • The genetic differences underlying these alternate host specificities are not known.
  • The weed provided an alternate host for the nematode, which then allowed the nematode to infect susceptible tubers.
  • alternate host plants, purple-owl's clover and yellow goldfields.
alternate host in Science
alternate host  
  1. One of two species of host on which some pathogens, such as certain rust fungi, must develop to complete their life cycles.

  2. A species of host other than the principal host on which a parasite can survive.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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