Linguatula Morphology

Most adult linguatulids are elongate, worm-like, cylindrical, and tongue-shaped. Some adult species have body annulations or rings. The anterior extremity of linguatulids is characterized by a mouth, four hooks, and broad tongue-shape (Figures 2 and 4). The posterior extremity is often narrow and cylindrical (Sambon, 1922; John and Petri, 2006).

Nymphs are C shaped, contain hooks and spines, are less than 1 cm in diameter, and can calcify, allowing visibility on chest or abdomen radiographs (Ma et al., 2002; John and Petri, 2006).

Linguatula serrata
Linguatula serrata females are 80-130 mm long; 8-10 mm wide anteriorly, 2 mm posteriorly. Males are 18-20 mm long; 3-4 mm wide anteriorly, 0.5 mm posteriorly (Figure 2). Eggs are 90 by 70 microns. Color is yellowish and nymphal forms have a single row of minute spines (Sambon, 1922).


Figure 4. Schematic drawing of the mouth and four hooks on the anterior extremity of nymphal Linguatula serrata (Ma et al., 2002).

Scott Ritter © 2006