Whereas terminological recommendations require authors to use mean intensity or mean abundance to quantify parasites in a sample of hosts, awkward statistical limitations also force them to use either the median or the geometric mean of these measures when making comparisons across different samples. Here, we propose to reconsider this inconsistent practice by giving priority to biological realism in the interpretation of different statistical descriptors and choosing the statistical tools appropriate to our decisions. Prevalence, mean intensity, and indices of parasite distribution (such as median intensity) are suitable descriptors to quantify parasites in a sample of hosts. These measures have different biological interpretations and need different statistical methods to be compared between samples.
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