The study of parasite population dynamics has been one of the major developments in ecology over the last 15 years (Kennedy, 1975). The seminal articles of Crofton (1971) and Anderson & May (1978, 1979; May & Anderson, 1978, 1979) began this process by illustrating the potential role of parasites in regulating or destabilizing the dynamics of wildlife host populations. Since then, a variety of empirical and theoretical studies (reviewed by Grenfell & Dobson, 1995) have explored the role of parasites in natural populations. In parallel with these population dynamical developments, a growing interest in the evolutionary ecology of parasites has also led to a large literature, examining the evolutionary impact of parasites and the importance of host-parasite coevolution (Hamilton, 1982; May & Anderson, 1990; Lively & Apanius, 1995; Read et al. 1995; Herre, this volume).