Proportionately Ponderous Parasites

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.
Augustus De Morgan

When there are monstrously large creatures roaming the country side, you can expect the things that live on them (be they parasitic or symbiotic) to be proportionally as large. The creepiest of Big Creepy-Crawlies. They may be annoyances for their host, but for humans, they can be deadly. Often they are often more monstrous or mutated just to be able to live on such gigantic life forms.

Keep in mind that some parasites can get pretty large within human hosts (tape worms, etc.). This trope is for parasites that are larger than their normal (read: human and common animal preying) brethren due primarily to their host organism being larger.

A common feature of a Womb Level and often featured living on Kaiju.


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     Anime and Manga  

  • After Guts from Berserk cuts his way through the insides of the The Sea God, he's attacked by a swarm of critters resembling long-legged Giant Spiders. According to Schierke, they protect the Sea God in exchange for nourishment.
  • The Junji Ito one-shot "The Thing That Drifted Ashore", the eponymous "thing" is a serpentine creature the size of a whale with a head resembling a mass of barnacles and translucent flesh which probably glowed when it was alive. Onlookers find its body is filled with smaller creatures through its clear skin, but in a horrifying twist on this trope its parasites are humans that it consumed, who managed to survive being eaten by absorbing nutrients inside the creature's intestine. Understandably, they've all been driven insane after being trapped inside a sea monster for seven years.

     Comic Books  

  • The comic book Godzilla Legends has Godzilla, again, afflicted with a parasite. This time, it's a bird making a nest amidst its spines. The radioactivity mutated the birds into razor-beaked, multi-eyed freaks.
  • The Authority once encounters a beyond-huge pyramidal space entity that, as a scientist put it, created Earth as a Mordor-esque vacation home, and is not happy to find that life has developed to such a degree. Inside it, the team finds an entire civilization of parasitic lifeforms that build whole cities within the creature.
  • One issue of the 2016 of the Silver Surfer solo has Norrin and Dawn enter the mouth of a truly enormous Space Whale. Inside they encounter its immune system, which are palm-sized sentient organisms, at war with The Plague of equal size.


  • In PokÚdex, Deoxys turn out to be the parasites of some unknown alien creature, mutated to be able to survive on its own. Considering that said Pokemon is 5'7, not to mention being very powerful, the narrator speculates accordingly on just what its host could be like.


  • Pacific Rim has many appear on screen. They look like isopods, but are the size of footballs—just larger than the deep sea isopods found on the ocean floor. Strangely, they're often considered to be fairly endearing creatures, and don't seem to pose any risk to humans.
  • Godzilla:
    • The Return of Godzilla started this trope in modern times possibly. Here, Godzilla is afflicted with 4 to 5ft long sea lice. They are called Shockirus.
    • In Godzilla (2014) the Mutos life cycle apparently involves multiple larvae infesting a Godzillasaur and pupating inside its body, similar to a Tarantula Hawk and related kinds of wasp. This gives them and Godzilla a pretty good justification for fighting beyond the fact that beating each other senseless while knocking over skyscrapers is just what kaijus do.
  • Cloverfield has its main monster, Clover, beset with extremely dangerous lion-sized "Flea" like creatures living on its hide. Their bite is extremely dangerous and they're about five feet long to boot. If anything they seem to be more dangerous on a personal level than Clover, which is just wandering around in confusion; the fleas actively hunt.
  • Land of the Lost has a scene where Will Ferrell's character gets a tick the size of a football.


  • In the novel The Sky People, the dinosaurs on an alternate Venus have lice the size of crayfish; you do NOT want to get one on you.
  • In a Brian Aldiss' short story "Poor Little Warrior", a time-traveling big game hunter kills a brontosaurus (sic), only to be killed by the vermin swarming off its carcass.

     Live-Action TV  

  • In the Doctor Who episode "Kill the Moon", the characters find the abandoned Mexican mining base on the Moon and discover that the miners were all killed by Big Creepy-Crawlies. However, when the Doctor analyzes them, he concludes that they're not insects at all but merely parasites this large because they are living off the ginormous creature that's about to hatch out of the Moon.


  • In Hindu Mythology, Earth was made from the remains a giant which the gods made and sacrificed to themselves. Some versions go on to state that the various parasites on his body became the creatures of the Earth.
  • In Norse Mythology, the maggots that fed on the corps of Ymir, of whom the earth was made, become Dwarves.

     Tabletop Games  

  • Dungeons & Dragons adventure EX1 Dungeonland. The PCs can encounter a giant dog the size of an elephant. If they search its body (e.g. after killing it) they will discover (and be attacked by) three Giant Ticks.
  • Star Fleet Battles: Captain's Log #40 is a short story titled "The Nature of the Beast". A Federation starship encounters a huge monster called a Space Manta, which is infested with giant parasites. The Manta can "fire" them at targets as if the parasites were guided missiles.
  • The gigantic behemoth corpse Juggernaut from Exalted plays host to enormous carrion maggots, about the size of a cart horse. These are actually of greater use to the Mask of Winters than Juggernaut itself; he plans to breed them to the point where they burst out of the corpse entirely, and then set them on devouring his enemies in the Underworld.

     Video Games  

     Western Animation  

     Real Life  

  • Whale tapeworms can grow to more than 100 feet long, due to the immense length of their host's digestive tract. Likewise, some of the largest barnacles on Earth grow on the snouts and flukes of humpback whales.