Spreading the seeds of million-murdering death: metamorphoses of malaria in the mosquito

Trends Parasitol. 2005 Dec;21(12):573-80. doi: 10.1016/j.pt.2005.09.012. Epub 2005 Oct 19.


Plasmodium spp. undergo a complex obligate developmental cycle within their invertebrate vectors that enables transmission between vertebrate hosts. This developmental cycle involves sexual reproduction and then asexual multiplication, separated by phases of invasion and colonization of distinct vector tissues. As with other stages in the Plasmodium life cycle, there is exquisite adaptation of the malaria parasite to its changing environment as it transforms within the blood of its vertebrate host, through the different tissues of its mosquito vector and onwards to infect a new vertebrate host. Despite the intricacies inherent in these successive transformations, malaria parasites remain staggeringly successful at disseminating through their vertebrate host populations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Culicidae / parasitology*
  • Female
  • Insect Vectors / parasitology*
  • Life Cycle Stages
  • Male
  • Meiosis
  • Oocysts / growth & development
  • Plasmodium / growth & development*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / growth & development
  • Sporozoites / growth & development