Other Free Encyclopedias » Animal Life Resource » Mollusks, Crustaceans, and Related Species » Tongue Worms: Pentastomida - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Tongue Worm (linguatula Serrata): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, TONGUE WORMS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS

Tongue Worms: Pentastomida - Behavior And Reproduction

host hosts eggs larvae

Tongue worms usually need to complete their life cycle in more than one host. Larval hosts are called intermediate hosts, while the hosts of adults are called definitive hosts. An intermediate host accidentally swallows the eggs as they eat. The larvae hatch and infect the tissues and organs of the intermediate host. They molt, or shed their exoskeletons, several times before reaching the infective stage of their life cycle. The infective stage is a dormant, or resting, stage, and the larvae are surrounded by a non-living, protective covering called a cyst (sist). The larvae break out of the cyst when another animal, the definitive host, eats the intermediate host and its cysts. In most species, the larvae first burrow into the lining of the intestines or stomach of their definitive host. Later, they move into the body cavity before tunneling into the lung.

Both males and females are required for reproduction. Mating occurs when the males and females are about the same size. Females store the sperm in their bodies. Mated females increase in size as their bodies fill up with developing eggs. Hundreds of thousands to millions of eggs are produced and released continuously. Eggs released in the lungs are coughed up by the definitive host, swallowed, and then passed out of the body with the solid waste. The eggs of species that live in the nose and its sinuses are sneezed out or swallowed and passed out of the body with the solid waste.


For many years, tongue worms were not considered arthropods at all and were placed in a phylum near velvet worms and water bears. Recent studies, based on the structures of the genetic material, sperm, and larvae of tongue worms, show they are crustaceans. They might be related to fish lice, but not all scientists agree. They have been on Earth for 500 million years, long before their modern vertebrate hosts. Ancient fishlike animals may have been their original hosts.

Tongue Worms: Pentastomida - Tongue Worm (linguatula Serrata): Species Account [next] [back] Tongue Worms: Pentastomida - Physical Characteristics

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or