An obligate parasite is a parasitic organism that cannot complete its life cycle without exploiting a suitable host. If an obligate parasite cannot obtain a host it will fail to reproduce. Obligate parasites have evolved a variety of parasitic strategies to exploit their hosts. It might be an external parasite such as a tick, an internal parasite, such as a fluke, or an intracellular parasite, such as Plasmodium. Other types of obligate parasitism include obligate brood parasites, such as the cowbird and cuckoo, which require the nests and parental care of other passerines in order for their young to fledge.
Whether one regards viruses as living organisms or not, they cannot reproduce except by means of resources within living cells, and accordingly, it is convenient and customary to regard them as obligate intracellular parasites.
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