Encyclopedia of Parasitology

Living Edition
| Editors: Heinz Mehlhorn

Macracanthorhynchus hirudinaceus

  • Heinz Mehlhorn
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27769-6_1810-2


Genus of Acanthocephala.


M. hirudinaceus.


Greek: makros = large, acantha = thorn, rhynchos = mouth; Latin: hirudo = leech.

Life Cycle


This worm (female 60 cm, male 15 cm) is a parasite of pigs, where it reaches maturity (Fig. 1) and excretes the typical eggs (Fig. 2). In pigs the prepatent period is 8–12 weeks, the incubation period takes only 10 days; then the following symptoms of disease may be seen: enteritis, peritonitis, diarrhea, malnutrition, and abdominal pain. In humans, however, the worm does not reach maturity. It becomes attached with the hooked proboscis at the intestinal wall and may introduce even perforation (acute abdomen with peritonitis). The rather long worm leads to intestinal disturbances within 2–12 weeks (incubation period). The infection of humans and pigs occurs orally by uptake of infected beetles or parts of them (Fig. 3).


Life Cycle Abdominal Pain Incubation Period Intestinal Wall Acute Abdomen 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Zoomorphologie, Zellbiologie und ParasitologieHeinrich-Heine-UniversitätDüsseldorfGermany