#MyBPC: Parasitus (L.) – “a hanger-on, a toady, person who lives on others”

May 14, 2024


By Dr. Helene Peters, Ph.D.

Chair: Math & Natural Sciences Division

Associate Professor of Biology

When I first learned about hyperparasites I read the famous rhyme “Siphonaptera” by the mathematician Augustus De Morgan, named for the biological order of the flea

‘Big fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite ’em,

And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so, ad infinitum.

And the great fleas, themselves, in turn, have greater fleas to go on;

While these again have greater still, and greater still, and so on.’


The rhyme was published in Prof. Jo van As’s (late aquatic parasitologist from the University of the Free State) inaugural address – the practice in South Africa is to publish these very special orations in booklets for the event to follow along with as the candidate delivers the talk. Side note: South African lecturers only become full professors once they reach a benchmark in their field – they are not automatically addressed as “professor” as is the practice here in the US, but rather as “Dr. so and so” – and then “Prof.” after the inauguration.  So, I joke with my South African colleagues about being already called a professor in my early thirties while some of them are still waiting for this “prestige” to be bestowed upon them.

Mantoscypidia spadiceae, Mantoscypidia midae and Ellobiophrya maliculiformis are the names of the three protozoan species that I have described. All new to science at the time of their publication in the Polish journal Acta Protozoologica; these species are parasites, the last one in this list of tongue twisters being a hyperparasite that attaches around other scyphidids with a hand-cuff mechanism.  A hyperparasite is not one with supplementary energy levels, no – it’s a parasite that lives on a parasite!

Hyperparasites are found mainly among the wasps within the Hymenoptera, and in two other insect orders, the Diptera (true flies) and Coleoptera (beetles).  Biologists have no idea of the exact number of parasite species on earth but the consensus is that they constitute the majority of species.

Point of clarification: off course God created every living thing and declared that it was good (Genesis 1:12 and other verses). Parasites, predators and pests are the result of the fall of man. After the Second Coming, things will return to how they were before the fall of man when there was no death and no suffering.

Parasites are not necessarily always detrimental to an organism’s health. Quite often, organisms have co-evolved with parasites and can tolerate moderate numbers and diversity of parasites and it is only when over-distribution occur that a host suffers to its detriment. Scientists are beginning to understand how important parasites are on many levels of existence – and the Human Microbiome Project is a champion example of this. A healthy human’s microbiome includes around 100 trillion bacterial cells! We really do contain multitudes, and as Yong puts it: studying them gives us a grander view of our life as well as a new appreciation of our friendly flora residents.

Parasites maintain ecological balance and has huge impact on food web maintenance as they modify trophic interactions. Nowadays the Hollywood headlines read: “Kombucha and Kefir has changed my life. It helped improve my digestive system and subsequently cleared my skin.” So, it seems as if finally we (our intestines) are falling in love with these fermented concoctions that are mainly beneficial lactic acid bacteria.  Falling in love with bacteria?  Well, emotion inspire people to try to save the whale, the rhinoceros the dolphin or the cheetah. Big (and being fluffy helps) mammals are the poster-children for conservation efforts – not reptiles or invertebrates, and certainly not parasites.  It’s a fantastical time to be a taxonomist (AKA a modern day Adam), with so many undescribed species waiting to be discovered so I say “Parasitologists unite to save the great fleas and the big fleas and the lesser fleas and little fleas!”

#MyBPC: Parasitus (L.) – “a hanger-on, a toady, person who lives on others” - Brewton-Parker College


The purpose of the nursing program is to prepare graduates who have the knowledge and skills to provide patient-centered holistic care that is safe, compassionate, honoring to Christ, and that meets the healthcare needs of diverse populations.

Mission Statement

In concert with Brewton-Parker College’s mission, the School of Nursing is committed to provide nursing education through the application of biblical truth to promote the formation of graduates who engage in evidence-based practice, lifelong learning, and servant leadership through the development of clinical reasoning, professional nursing skills, and Christian values.

Joanna Phillips-Mock

Student Enrichment Director

Joanna Phillips-Mock is a proud third generation Baron, both as a student and a staff member.

Beginning her teaching career in Middle Georgia in 1995, Mrs. Mock worked with a state funded program that served some of the most disadvantaged special needs students within the local school districts. She ultimately moved into leadership positions within the organization, serving and training others in multiple initiatives. She enjoys working with students of all ages to recognize and to achieve their greatest potential.

Mrs. Mock holds a Bachelor’s degree from Brewton-Parker College, a Master's degree in Education with a concentration in Behavior Disorders, and an Education Specialist degree in Educational Administration from Georgia College and State University. She resides in Ailey, Georgia, with her husband Don, their son Tye Lewis, her mother Carol Joyce, and multiple fur babies. She enjoys traveling, gardening, camping, and attending concerts.

Candace Lilford

Profeessional Tutor

Candace Lilford graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Theatre Generalism in 2021 from Anderson University and with her master’s degree in English Literature in 2023 from the University of Alabama. She presently serves as Professional Tutor for the Student Enrichment Center while also teaching sections of ENG 101 and 102. 

As part of her two-year master's program, Ms. Lilford taught sections of ENG 101 and 102, while also serving as teaching assistant for British Literature Survey courses and volunteering in the university’s Writing Center. Ms Lilford has also presented papers at the Hudson Strode Conference and the South Eastern Christian and Literature Conference as well as working on various theatrical productions.

Born in North Carolina of South African descent, Ms. Lilford has lived in Uganda, Botswana, South Africa, and Trinidad before settling in Mount Vernon with her family in 2016, where she attended Brewton-Parker College as a dual enrollment student. She presently resides in Mount Vernon with her family and spends her free time watching old TV shows.

Linda Armstrong

Academic Advising and Career Specialist

Linda Armstrong earned an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice Technology from Southeastern Technical College and a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Walden University. Throughout her career, Linda has worked with diverse populations, including at-risk youth and families and youth in crisis because of mental health and other issues. Her empathetic nature has made her an effective advocate for those in need. In addition to her professional work, Linda is also is committed to volunteerism. She has dedicated countless hours as a youth mentor, and to teaching about her faith at various Christian organizations. She believes in the power of positivity and its ability to transform not only her life but also the lives of others.

"If you must look back, do so forgivingly. If you will look forward, do so prayerfully. But the wisest course would be to be present in the present gratefully." ~ Maya Angelou

Willie Ford

Academic Advising and Career Specialist

Greetings, Baron Nation!

It's truly a joy to be back in a place that has shaped me so profoundly. I'm Willie Ford, a proud 2022 graduate of historic Brewton-Parker College, holding a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a Minor in Education. Following my graduation, I embarked on a journey in education, teaching Special Education within the Vidalia City School District. In addition to my role as an educator, I had the privilege of serving as the Unit Director at the J.D. Rabun Boys and Girls Club. All the while, I was honored to pastor at the esteemed New Hope Baptist Church of Rhine, Georgia. With God's grace, I managed these responsibilities, and now, I'm thrilled and ready to contribute to the welfare of our students, aiming to inspire through service.

Dusty Arnold

Mental Health Counselor

Dusty Arnold  is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst as well as a BPC alumnus. He has years of experience working with a variety of mental health issues including anxiety, grief, and challenges related to Autism. He specializes in behavior-related interventions that can help college students build on their strengths to set achievable goals while also learning how to deal with the thoughts and feelings that sometimes get in the way. He incorporates Biblical values and evidence-based treatments to meet students wherever they happen to be on their journey to spiritual and psychological health. 

Carl Anthony "Tony" Wardlaw

Assistant Student Enrichment Director & Student Success Coach

Carl Anthony “Tony” Wardlaw – For over 25 years, Dr. Wardlaw has worked in leadership, counseling, and pastoring. Beginning with working in middle management for a manufacturing company in Douglas, GA, Dr. Wardlaw has also worked in the academic, nonprofit, public, and private sectors. Additionally, he served over 7 years in the United States Military as a Military Intelligence Officer before resigning his commission as a Captain in the Army.

Currently serving as the Assistant Director of the Student Enrichment Center, Student Success Coach, and Adjunct Faculty at Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon, GA, he also serves as the Pastor of The Green Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Dublin, GA.

As a member of the renowned International Gospel Singing Group, The Wardlaw Brothers, Dr. Wardlaw has traveled all over the nation and abroad ministering and singing the Gospel of Christ Jesus. Dr. Wardlaw has served as a consultant for various agencies and has worked as a Fatherhood Coordinator and G.E.D. instructor within the Technical College System of Georgia and participates in local and national civic and philanthropic work.

Dr. Wardlaw holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in International Business from the University of Georgia, two master's degrees from Troy University (Master of Science in Clinical Counseling and Psychology and Master of Education in Counseling), and a Doctorate in Education from Argosy University in Organizational Leadership. Dr. Wardlaw is a Lifetime Silver Member of The NAACP and a member of The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He is happily married to the former Mrs. Stephanie Scott. They have 3 Children; Chambria, Marc, and Carleigh.

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