Scolex (head) of a beef tapeworm, Taenia saginata

Scolex (head) of a beef tapeworm, Taenia saginata

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This image is part of the feature Parasites

Credit: ALFRED PASIEKA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Tapeworm head. Light micrograph of the scolex (head) of the adult beef tapeworm Taenia saginata. At upper left, two rounded structures are suckers by which the tapeworm attaches itself to the intestinal wall of its host. The head narrows into a segmented neck. Taenia saginata is the commonest tapeworm parasite in humans, infecting millions of people worldwide. Tapeworms have no digestive systems of their own but absorb directly through their skin the food ingested and broken down by the host. The adult tapeworms may grow 10 metres in length. Diarrhoea, weight loss and abdominal discomfort may result. Treatment is with anthel- minthic drugs. Magnification: x32 at 6x6cm size.

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Keywords: animal, beef, disease, flatworm, head, invertebrate, invertebrates, light micrograph, nature, platyhelminthes, scolex, taenia saginata, tapeworm, wildlife, zoology

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