Post-embryonic development and ultrastructural characteristics of the polycephalic larva ofTaenia parvaBaer, 1926 (Cyclophyllidea, Taeniidae)

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Post-embryonic development and fully-formed polycephalic larvae of Taenia parva Baer, 1926 were examined by light (LM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Three developmental stages were recognised: (1) an early stage of exogenous budding at the surface of the central vesicle; (2) a stage of polycephalic cyst development accompanied by segmentation of the growing larval strobile and an obvious decrease in the size of the central vesicle; (3) fully-formed larval strobile and invaginated scoleces. In fully-developed encysted polycephalic larvae, there are usually 14-24 segmented larval strobilae, each terminating with an invaginated scolex; larval strobilae arise from a common central vesicle and remain attached posterior to it during the entire development. The number of segments varies between 109 and 120 per larval strobila. The polycephalic larvae examined closely resemble the strobilocercus type of taeniid larvae. The structure of developing and fully-formed larvae was examined by TEM. The tegument, scolex, subtegumental musculature of the strobilar segments, protonephridial system, calcareous corpuscles and medullary parenchyma of larvae exhibit general similarity with the same structures in adults at both LM and TEM levels. The morphogenesis of the larva of T. parva is compared with that of the polycephalic larvae of other Taenia spp. (T. krepkogorski, T. twitchelli and T. endothoracica) and with other asexually-multiplying cestode larvae (mesocestoidids, hymenolepidids and dilepidids).

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