Welcome to the World's Only Parasite Museum
What images come to mind when you hear the term "parasite"? Perhaps images that inspire fear or make you feel sick in your stomach?
Plants and animals that live in this world do not live in isolation from one another, but within a complex web of direct and indirect relationships. Parasitism is one such type of relationships; parasites are those animals which use other living animals (hosts) as their abode and source of food. Thus, in most cases the presence of a parasite is not detrimental to the well-being of the host.
There are, however, exceptions. While parasites which cause fatal harm such as malaria parasites or blood flukes do exist, they are few in number. Try to think about parasites without a feeling of fear, and take the time to learn about their wondrous and resourceful way of life. There are some parasites that, in the course of evolution, lose organs that are no longer needed, developing or retaining only reproductive organs to leave behind descendants, and transforming into strange forms such as tapeworms. While you may find this form offensive to your sensibilities, it is the optimal form for the tapeworm.
The Meguro Parasitological Museum is a research facility that was established in 1953 by the private funds of Satoru Kamegai, a doctor of medical science. Since its establishment, the museum has achieved substantial success owing to the help of volunteers in the private sector as well as the assistance of the government, in addition to the support of the academic establishment. The parasite-related materials and specimens held by the museum along with the museum's research and publication activities allow the museum to pride itself as one of the most distinguished museums in the world.
The first floor of the museum presents a general overview of parasites while the second floor focuses on human parasites and their life cycles, showcasing 300 actual specimens. Because parasites utilize other animals for their survival, it is difficult to artificially sustain them and we cannot actually show live parasites. Almost all of the specimens in the exhibit hall are preserved in 5% formalin.
The researchers at this museum collect parasites of various animals and conduct studies on morphology,
taxonomy on distribution of parasites. They also give presentations to related academic associations and
institutes as well as submit articles to academic journals.
The first floor of MPM presents a general overview of parasites,
while the second floor focuses on the parasite life cycle, showcasing 300 actual specimens.
MPM offers work-study programs and holds lecture.
Collecting, Organizing and Maintaining Specimens and Materials
MPM maintains 60,000 immersed and prepared parasite specimens
(including 1,500 type specimens). MPM also contains domestic and
foreign documents comprising 50,000 papers and 5,000 books on parasitology.
Sale of Specimens for Educational Purposes
MPM sells prepared parasite specimens for educational purposes.
Click here for detail.
Click here for detail.