Ausstellungsplakat "Parasiten - Life Undercover"
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They have plagued us for centuries. They suck our blood and transmit deadly diseases like Ebola and the plague. Yet, their strategies to survive and propagate are unachieved: Parasites are the undisputed champions in evolutionary terms.

How do parasites transform their hosts into an amenable slave of their own purposes? Why do parasites benefit from globalization and climate change? And how does modern medicine and research make use of their extraordinary abilities?

The international touring exhibition "Parasites – Life Undercover" takes visitors on a journey into the incredible world of parasites and guarantees to give them an itch as well as a surprise. It sheds light on their evolutionary history and fascinating life cycles, their role in ecosystems and the challenges they pose on our globalized world today. Eye to eye with bedbugs and other creatures, visitors find out where may cross path with parasites in their own life.

Take a peek into the exhibition.

Watch additional movies on parasites that have been filmed in the exhibition on YouTube.

Exhibition components

“Parasites – Life Undercover” puts the original object center-piece. Using a genuine preparation technique the exhibition presents more than 50 real parasite specimens embedded in acrylic raisin. Over 30 unique animal preparations show the interaction between parasite and host. They range from an African springbok to Japanese monkeys and domestic animals. In addition, the exhibition presents high quality larger-than-life models, e.g. a mosquito in 60-fold enlargement. A large video wall and several integrated video installations, with a total of 27 scientific movies, illustrate the topics.

The exhibition consists of 10 self-contained modules, or themed islands, each illustrating one topic. Each island works independently and comprises a lit column and two to three tables with integrated media, graphics and various built-in features.

“Parasites – Life Undercover” is designed as bilingual exhibition and comes in the host’s national language with English as a second language (optional).


The exhibition deals with ten lead topics focusing on the world of parasites, looking into issues such as these:

  • The evolution of parasites: Is there fossil proof for the existence of parasites? How did parasites develop in the course of evolution?
  • The spectacular adaptability of parasites: What makes flees so successful? Why do headlice thrive in nurseries? How do ticks find their hosts?
  • Propagation strategies: Why do amoebae multiply sometimes sexually and sometimes asexually? How many eggs does a tapeworm produce? Why do some parasites prefer quality over quantity?
  • Parasites and animals in the human habitat: Which parasites infest our farm animals? How dangerous are rats in the city as carriers of disease? And can children cuddling with their pets pick up cat and dog parasites?  
  • Parasites and climate change: Will we have midges carrying the malaria pathogen in Germany with rising temperatures? How do ticks spread due to climate change? What parasitic souvenirs do we bring home from travelling abroad?
  • Parasites in humans: Which parasites thrive in humans? Of malaria pathogens and intestinal worms.
  • Remote-controlled through parasites: Can parasites influence the behaviour of animals and humans they infest? How does it work?
  • Parasites and their beneficial role in medicine: Would you like some maggot treatment? For what diseases will you be given worms on prescription?  
  • The urban habitat: What diseases are carried into the city by wild animals? How do parasites enter our living spaces? Why are long-forgotten epidemics and new diseases such as Ebola, SARS, bird and swine flu on the increase?
  • Cultural history: Do parasites feature in the bible? How was modern vaccination discovered? What weapons do humans use nowadays in their fight against epidemics?

Space requirements

The exhibition is a modular system consisting self-contained themed islands that can be flexibly adapted to different galleries.  

Ideal space requirements: 250 - 450 m2.

Minimum requirements: 150 m2 (only core topics)

Storage space: 27m2

Rental prize and conditions

Rental prize: 50.000 € (for three months)

The minimum rental period is three months.

The exhibition was designed by the Museum für Naturkunde as a high quality international touring exhibition with maximum service for the renting institution. Thus, rental includes a full service package – a unique feature in the world of touring exhibitions.

Included services:

  • Translation into national language
  • Tailored exhibition layout for the gallery
  • Transport
  • Set-up and dismantling of the exhibition
  • Layout material for advertisement (posters, flyers etc.)
  • License fees for images and films shown in the exhibition

Set-up of the exhibition in Berlin:


Linda Gallé

Curator, Exhibitions & Knowledge Transfer

phone:      +49 (0)30 889140 8960

fax:           +49 (0)30 889140 8814


For more detailed information please download our brochure.

The exhibition was curated by the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin. “Parasites – Life Undercover” was kindly sponsored by Bayer HealthCare Animal Health.