August 29, 2010
August 29 - Linguatula taenioides
Linguatula taenioides is a species of pentastomid worm that alternates between an herbivorous mammal (e.g. sheep) and a carnivorous mammal (e.g. wolf). The adults, which can be quite large - we're talking females that can be 4 inches or so! - live in the nasal passages. The eggs are sneezed out where they get eaten by grazing or browsing animals. Once into the gut of this intermediate host, the larvae, armed with two short claw-like arms, bore through the tissue of this host until they find a place to reside such as the liver or the lungs. There they encyst and wait for the host to be eaten, when they will repeat this process until they get to the lungs or nasal passages of the carnivore and mature into sexually reproducing adults.