Taxonomy: f. Dilepididae
Animal: Dipylidium caninum 5 13.jpg
Dipylidium caninum fully developed metacestodes in an adult Ctenocephalides felis felis (cat flea). This is a H&E stain section of a flea reared at 25 degrees C and 3mm Hg, fed on a rat for 6 days, 24 days after infection of the flea larva. D. caninum (the dog tape worm) is a common parasite of dogs and cats world wide and occasionally humans become infected by ingesting infective fleas such as the one above. Flea larvae are infected by eating the eggs in the egg capsules passed from the intestine. Development of the parasite in the flea, the intermediate host, is not linked to the development of the flea but rather is controlled by temperature. Below 30 degrees C the parasite does not become infective until the infected adult fleas have infected mammals for 5 - 7 days, the mammalian surface temperature is essential for the parasite to complete its development in the flea. (Pugh 1985 PhD thesis).
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