The frequency distribution of parasites among hosts is used as the basis of the quantitative assessment of the nature of parasitism. The host–parasite system is regarded as an ecological relationship between populations of two different species of organisms. From the overdispersed frequency distributions exemplified by the Negative Binomial distribution a specially truncated form is derived and shown to fit the data of Hynes & Nicholas (1963). The theoretical consequences are discussed and these form the basis of a definition of parasitism.
I am indebted to Professor H. B. N. Hynes who so readily understood my general aims and freely provided detailed information about his work. I also have great pleasure in thanking Professor John H. Whitlock, not only for the original computing facilities which he so generously provided, but also for his many other kindnesses. I am also very grateful to Dr Charles Henderson Jun. for his work on the original computer program and to Dr Mark Westwood for his ingenuity and labours in producing a new approach to the computations.
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