Linguatula serrata

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Linguatula serrata
Class Pentastomida
Family Linguatulidae

Also known as: Tongue worm


Any carnivorous vertebrate : Mammals, birds or tropical reptiles e.g. snakes.


The adults have apparent transverse striations. The males are around 20mm in length, whereas the females are larger at between 80-130mm in length.

Life Cycle

This is an indirect life cycle. Eggs are released into the environment through coughing and sneezing. Eggs are ingested by an intermediate host, most commonly the sheep and cattle. The larvae develop and migrate into the liver and the lungs. The larvae then enter the nymphal stage. The final host is infected via ingestion of inadequately cooked meat. The nymphs then migrate to the nasal cavity and sinuses. Infective nymphs mature to adults, and can survive for up to one year.

The complete life cycle takes around 6 months.

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Linguatula serrata publications


Taylor, M.A, Coop, R.L., Wall,R.L. (2007) Veterinary Parasitology Blackwell Publishing

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