The identification of protozoan and metazoan parasites is traditionally carried out using a series of classical keys based upon the morphology of the whole organism. However, in stained tissue sections prepared for light microscopy, taxonomic features will be missing, thus making parasite identification difficult. This work highlights the characteristic features of representative parasites in tissue sections to aid identification. The parasite examples discussed are derived from species affecting finfish, and predominantly include parasites associated with disease or those commonly observed as incidental findings in disease diagnostic cases. Emphasis is on protozoan and small metazoan parasites (such as Myxosporidia) because these are the organisms most likely to be missed or mis-diagnosed during gross examination. Figures are presented in colour to assist biologists and veterinarians who are required to assess host/parasite interactions by light microscopy.