DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of cat hookworm buccal cavity (Ancylostoma braziliense). The adult parasites are small cylindrical worms 0.5- 1.5mm long. It has pairs of teeth on the ventral margin of the anterior buccal capsule (eating structure) to attach to the intestinal wall of a host. Adult females release eggs that exit the host in faecal material. Once in the soil eggs hatch into rhabditiform larvae which feed on bacteria and organic material, then mature to a non-feeding infective larval stage that can penetrate the skin of the host (humans or other cats). The migration into the skin produces a raised, red, twisting pattern on the skin. The larvae eventually invade the circulatory system and enter the heart and lungs. They migrate up through the bronchi and tracheae and are swallowed into the intestine where they further mature into adults that mate and lay eggs, completing the life cycle. Magnification x70 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.
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