Significance to humans

Living free and as parasites of animals, insects, and plants, adenophoreans constitute an important part of nature and to the activities of humans. As crops are cultivated to feed the world's population, adenophoreans become more numerous as they feed on agricultural plants. Parasitic adenophoreans cause yield losses by themselves or they may join with other organisms such as viruses, fungi, and bacteria to advance disease development in plants. They also cause loss of nutrients and water in the plant, thus increasing the plant's susceptibility to other dangers. Adenophoreans, when infecting a human, can cause various diseases, and in some circumstances, death to the human host. On the other hand, studies have shown that the appearance of adenophoreans is a good indicator of biodiversity, which is important to the health and survival of humans. Adenophoreans help to cycle carbon and nitrogen and to breakdown organic matter in the soil environment.

1. Mermis nigrescens; 2. Trichina worm (Trichinella spiralis); 3. Human whipworm (Trichuris trichiura); 4. Nygolaimus parvus; 5. Desmoscolex squamosus. (Illustration by Bruce Worden)

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