Stephanurus dentatus

Life Cycle

Preparasitic development from egg to L3 is typically strongyloid, though earthworms may intervene as transport hosts.  There are three modes of infection: by ingestion of the free L3s (A), ingestion of earthworms carrying  L3s (B), and skin penetration by L3s (C).

(or_da_ar.gif (344 bytes))  Ingested larvae exsheath in the intestine (D),   enter lymphatic vessels and  pass to the mesenteric lymph nodes where the first molt occurs. Molting larvae can be found in the nodes anywhere from 1 to 9 days after infection. They continue on to the liver (E), where the final molt takes place. Following ingestion of infected earthworm transport hosts, L3s are released in the gut as the earthworm is digested. The released L3s migrate to the liver as described above.

Click anywhere on the S. dentatus life cycle image to see the percutaneous migration route. (bl_da_ar.gif (345 bytes))  Larvae infecting pigs via skin penetration probably molt to L4s in subcutaneous tissues and reach the liver via the lungs  (H) and systemic circulation (I).

Click anywhere on the life cycle to return to the first image.

In the liver young adults wander in the parenchyma for three months or more before piercing the capsule and migrating through the peritoneal cavity to the perirenal region (F).  There they become enclosed in a cyst by host reaction, and complete their development.  The cyst communicates with the ureter either directly or, if it is more distant, by a fine connecting canal, allowing the worm eggs to be excreted in the urine via the bladder (J). 

Occasionally, abberrant migration occurs with worms ending up in the pancreas (G), muscle, and  other organs of the host where they are trapped by encapsulation and never reach the perirenal area.

The prepatent period ranges from 6 to 19 months and adult worms have a longevity of about two years .

There are reports in the literature supporting a case for transmission of this nematode to piglets in utero.


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Parasites and Parasitic Diseases of Domestic Animals
Dr. Colin Johnstone (principal author)
Copyright 1998 University of Pennsylvania
This page was last modified on January 24, 2000