Colour SEM of the head of a tapeworm, Taenia sp.

Colour SEM of the head of a tapeworm, Taenia sp.

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Caption: Tapeworm. Light micrograph of the scolex (head- like structure) of a parasitic tapeworm, Taenia taeniformis. The scolex has hooklets and suckers (circular), by which the worm attaches itself to the intestines of its host, in this case cats. Tapeworms feed on the digestive juices and half- digested food of their hosts. They have no digest- ive system, but absorb fluids directly through the entire surface of their skin. The scolex grows a chain-like body (strobila) up to 60 centimetres long which consists of egg-carrying units (proglottides, lower frame); these break off and pass out of the host to be consumed by a new victim. Magnification: x25 at 6x6cm size.

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Keywords: animal, cat parasite, flatworm, intestinal parasite, invertebrate, invertebrates, nature, parasite, platyhelminthes, scolex, taenia taeniformis, tapeworm, veterinary parasite, wildlife, zoology

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