Taxonomy: f. Dilepididae
Animal: Dipylidium caninum 6 11.jpg
Dipylidium caninum developing oncospheres disected from a haemocoele of a pre-pupa cat flea stage. They are surrounded by adhering flea hemocytes as the flea larva reacts to the parasite at 20 degrees C and 15 days post infection. (h - oncospheral hook, en - encapsulated parasite). 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, the intermediate hosts. Flea larvae are infected by eating the eggs in the egg capsules passed from the intestine. Development of the parasite in the flea is not linked to the development of the flea but rather is controlled by temperature and relative humidity. 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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