Light gradients are an inherent feature in aquatic ecosystems and play a key role in shaping the biology of phytoplankton. Parasitism by chytrid fungi is gaining increasing attention as a major control agent of phytoplankton due to its previously overlooked ubiquity, and profound ecological and evolutionary consequences. Despite this interest, if and how light conditions modulate phytoplankton chytridiomycosis remains poorly studied. We investigated life-history traits of a chytrid parasite,Rhizophydium megarrhizum, under different light intensities and spectral compositions when infecting two closely related planktonic cyanobacteria with different light-harvesting strategies:Planktothrix rubescensandP. agardhii. In general, parasite transmission was highest under light conditions (both intensity and quality) that maximized growth rates for uninfected cyanobacteria. Chytrid encystment on hosts was significantly affected by light intensity and host strain identity. This likely resulted from higher irradiances stimulating the increased discharge of photosynthetic by-products, which drive parasite chemotaxis, and from strain-specific differences at the cell-surface. Comparisons of parasite transmission and host growth rates under different light conditions suggest the potential for epidemic development at higher irradiances, whereas host and parasite could coexist without epidemic outbreaks at lower light levels. These results illustrate the close relationship between parasite transmission and host fitness, which is ultimately modulated by the external environment.