The Term Heteroecious

The term 'heteroecious' is apparently the only one of the dead-language terms that is common to both mycology and entomology and, for this reason, it is tempting to retain it in the present work. However, the converse term in entomology is 'monoecious' while in mycology it is 'autoecious'. Unfortunately, 'monoecious' has a different usage in botany, where it means that the two sexes occur in separate flowers on one plant. These problems over different usage in botany and zoology suggest that plain English is preferable in a pathosystem context and, throughout this work, the word 'alternating' is used in place of 'heteroecious', with 'non-alternating' as its converse (i.e., autoecious, monoecious).

The difference between 'alternating' and 'alternative' should be noted. The first term means that the parasite is compelled to change its host species in order to complete its life cycle. The second term is often used to mean that a different, or alternative, host species is available which the parasite can utilise with equal facility. To prevent any possibility of ambiguity in a pathosystem context, the term 'alternative host' is best avoided, and the term 'optional host' is recommended.

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