Encyclopedia of Parasitology

Living Edition
| Editors: Heinz Mehlhorn

Hymenelopis nana

  • Heinz Mehlhorn
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27769-6_3953-1


Greek: hymen = thin portion of skin; lepis = scale. Latin: nanus = dwarf. English: dwarf tapeworm.

Geographic Distribution/Epidemiology

Worldwide, especially in the subtropics and tropics, about 80 millions of humans are infected. It is probably the most common tapeworm of humans (especially of children).

Morphology/Life Cycle

H. nana parasitizes in humans, mice, and rats and reaches mostly only a length of 5 cm and a width of 1–2 mm (Figs. 1 and 2). The scolex has a diameter of 0.3 mm, is provided with four suckers, and bears a protrudable spherical rostellum, which is armed by 20–24 hooks (Fig. 2), which are tiny, reaching a length of 140–180 μm. Mature proglottids are often already destroyed in the intestine of their hosts, so that the characteristic eggs (40–60 μm × 30–50 μm) are mostly found in the feces (Fig. 2). The further life cycle is diagrammatically depicted in Fig. 1.


Oral Uptake Healthy Person Microscopical Determination Abdominal Cramp Blood Eosinophilia 
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Further Reading

  1. Becker B et al (1980) Scanning and transmission electron microscope studies on the efficacy of praziquantel on Hymenolepis nana in vitro. Parasitol Res 61:121–133Google Scholar
  2. Becker B et al (1981) Ultrastructural investigations on the effects of praziquantel on the tegument of 5 species of cestodes. Parasitol Res 64:257–269Google Scholar
  3. Li B et al (2012) Mebendazole in the treatment of Hymenolepis nana infections in the captive ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta), China. Parasitol Res 111:935–937CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Mehlhorn H et al (1981) On the nature of proglottids in cestodes. Parasitol Res 65:243–259Google Scholar
  5. Steinmann P et al (2012) FLOTAC for the diagnosis of Hymenolepis spp. infection: proof-of-concept and comparing diagnostic accuracy. Parasitol Res 111:749–754CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Zumaquero-Rios JL et al (2013) Fascioliasis and intestinal parasitoses affecting schoolchildren in Atlixco, Puebla State, Mexico: epidemiology and treatment with nitazoxanide. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002553PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

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