Encyclopedia of Parasitology

Living Edition
| Editors: Heinz Mehlhorn


  • Heinz Mehlhorn
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27769-6_885-2



Class of Platyhelminthes.

General Information

The 6,000 species of digenetic trematodes are very common and widespread parasites of all classes of vertebrates and may inhabit (as adult or juvenile worms) nearly every organ of their hosts (Table 1). Externally, they are characterized by a sucker around the mouth and an additional ventral sucker or acetabulum that is involved both in the attachment to host surfaces and in locomotion. The shape and location of these suckers is species specific. Digenean development occurs in at least two different hosts and involves several generations. The basic life cycle pattern employed by digeneans and examples of their larval stages are displayed diagrammatically in Figs. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
Table 1

Important families and species of digenean trematodes


Final host/habitat

Size of adults (mm)

Size of eggs (μm)

First intermediate hosta

Second intermediate hostb

Prepatent period (weeks)




Host Snail Host Finding Intermediate Host Snail Penetration Behavior Excretory Bladder 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Further Reading

  1. Gibson D et al (2002) Keys to the trematoda, vol 1. CABI International, WallingfordGoogle Scholar
  2. Haas W et al (1997) Schistosoma mansonicercariae: stimulation of acetabular gland secretion is adapted to the chemical composition of mammalian skin. J Parasitol 83:1079–1085CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Haas W et al (2002a) Diplostomum spathaceum cercariae respond to a unique profile of cues during recognition of their fish host. Int J Parasitol 32:1145–1154Google Scholar
  4. Haas W et al (2002b) Recognition and invasion of human skin by Schistosoma mansonicercariae: the key-role of l-arginine. Parasitology 124:153–167CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Haas W, van de Roemer A (1998) Invasion of the vertebrate skin by cercariae of Trichobilharzia ocellata: penetration processes and stimulating host signals. Parasitol Res 84:787–795CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Haberl B et al (2000) Host-finding in Echinostoma caproni: miracidia and cercariae use different signals to identify the same snail species. Parasitology 120:479–486CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Hertel J et al (2002) Detection of bird schistosomes in lakes by PCR and filter-hybridization. Exp Parasitol 101:57–63CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Jones A et al (2005) Keys to the trematoda, vols 2, 3. CABI International, WallingfordGoogle Scholar
  9. Maule AG, Marks NJ (eds) (2006) Parasitic flatworms. CABI International, WallingfordGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

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