Malaria, a disease caused by Plasmodium parasites, is widespread throughout tropical and sub-tropical regions worldwide; it mostly affects children and pregnant woman. Eradication has stalled despite effective prevention measures and medication being available for this disease; this has mainly been due to the parasite's resistance to medical treatment and the mosquito vector's resistance to insecticides. Tackling such resistance involves using renewed approaches and techniques for accruing a deep understanding of the parasite's biology, and developing new drugs and vaccines. Studying the parasite's invasion of erythrocytes should shed light on its ability to switch between invasion phenotypes related to the expression of gene sets encoding proteins acting as ligands during target cell invasion, thereby conferring mechanisms for evading a particular host's immune response and adapting to changes in target cell surface receptors. This review considers some factors influencing the expression of such phenotypes, such as Plasmodium's genetic, transcriptional and epigenetic characteristics, and explores some host-related aspects which could affect parasite phenotypes, aiming at integrating knowledge regarding this topic and the possible relationship between the parasite's biology and host factors playing a role in erythrocyte invasion.