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Some creatures have tendrils, which they will parasitically insert into another living creature. I'm looking for the work that would complete this sentence:

"The parasitic bug ____ its tendrils into the elephant"

(N.B. I am not a biologist; my apologies if this kind of situation does not arise in nature)

Words that I have used instead, but don't quite seem to be right:

  • Extended
  • Embedded
  • Inserted

All of these imply some kind of penetration, but none have the inflection of parasitism.

Is there a word for what I am looking for?

Thanks

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  • Another potentially word is infiltrate. Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 16:23
  • Creatures don't have tendrils. Plants have tendrils.
    – Phil Sweet
    Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 17:44

2 Answers 2

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The verb to invade seems to be the word you're looking for:

1.2 (of a parasite or disease) spread into (an organism or bodily part)

‘sometimes the worms invade the central nervous system’

The verb to irrupt is also a good choice:

2 of a natural population: to undergo a sudden upsurge in numbers especially when natural ecological balances and checks are disturbed

(A natural population applies, I think, to parasites, as well).

And to infest seems to be another good choice, and also more technical than the other two:

2 (of parasites such as lice) to invade and live on or in (a host)

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  • 2
    Invade works perfectly. Also, irrupt seems to be a handy word worth knowing about. Thanks!
    – Mahkoe
    Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 15:10
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You could try Injected

  1. introduce (something) under pressure into a passage, cavity, or solid material.

The parasitic bug injected its tendrils into the elephant

Another option is Pierce

The parasitic bug's tendrils pierced into the elephant

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    Your usage of pierce is incorrect. It should say "The parasitic bug's tendrils pierced the elephant['s skin]". Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 14:45
  • Yes you are correct .. will edit my answer
    – Bharath
    Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 17:48

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