Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois


Parasitic Plants and Animals Crossword by Carolyn Nixon

How many of these parasitic and epiphytic plants and animals do you know?   You may need to look for help in the library or on the Internet!



2.  Parasitic and saprophytic plants are often lacking this, so they don’t appear green like other plants.

5.  This blood-sucking parasite can transmit Lyme disease.

6.  This long, flat, internal parasite of mammals has many square segments, and often causes the host to lose weight.

9.  These tiny insects can really get in your hair!

11.  This epiphyte on tree trunks is a good sign, and means there is little air pollution.

15.  When these tiny baby mites get under your skin, you’ll be scratching for days!

16.  The eggs of 9 Across.

17.  These circus-performing insects will make your dog scratch.



1.  This brown-headed bird is called a brood parasite because it lays its eggs in the nests of other birds.

3.  An eel-like fish that is an external parasite on large fish in the Great Lakes is called the sea  ___________.

4.  This orange, stringy plant attacks and feeds on green plants that live in moist areas.

7.  Some of these tiny little critters attack baby birds at night, but hide deep in the nest during the day.

8.  These little brownish plants feed on the roots of beech trees.

10.  This ghostly white saprophyte resembles a Native-American smoking device.

12.  Shelf ______________ grows on the sides of older trees.

13.  Mistletoe is spread around the forest when birds eat these white things.

14.  The strangler ___________ lives in the rain forest where it grows around tall trees and eventually kills them.


Teachers Guide to The Naturalists Apprentice

Terms you should know:


epiphyte—a plant that grows on another plant for support but does not get nutrients from it


host—a plant or an animal on which a parasite lives and feeds, and that gains no benefit from the parasite


parasite—a plant or an animal that will live on or in another organism, the host, and obtain its nutrients from it


saprophyte—a plant that gets its nutrients from dead and decaying organic material


“The Naturalist’s Apprentice” presents educational activities for middle school students. Teachers are invited to
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