dicrocoelium dendriticum n.
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Dicrocoelium dendriticum. By Carolynn Peter & Ryan Hamm. Classification. Kingdom Animalia Phylum Platyhelminthes Class Trematoda Order Plagiorchiida Family Dicrocoeliidae Genus Dicrocoelium Species dendriticum. Background.

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Dicrocoelium dendriticum

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dicrocoelium dendriticum


By Carolynn Peter & Ryan Hamm


Kingdom Animalia


Class Trematoda

Order Plagiorchiida

Family Dicrocoeliidae

Genus Dicrocoelium

Species dendriticum

  • Family Dicrocoeliidaeuse land snails as first intermediate host
  • Known as the “lancet fluke” or “small liver fluke”
  • Causes the diseasedicrocoellosis
  • Favors dry conditions
  • Human infection is rare, but can occur
  • 6 to 10 mm long by 1.5 to 2.5 mm wide
  • Widest near the middle
  • Body is pointed at both ends
  • Lobate testes lie directly behind acetabulum
  • Loops of the uterus fill most of the body behind ovary
  • Definitive Host:
    • Ruminants are the usual definitive hosts
      • Sheep, cattle, goats, deer
  • Accidental Host:
    • other herbivorous animals, carnivores, and humans can serve as a host
  • Intermediate Host:
    • Land snail (Cionellalubrica)
    • An ant (Formica fusca)
geographic range
Geographic Range
  • Found in:
    • Most of Europe and Asia
    • North America
    • Australia
    • Northern Africa
life stages
Life Stages
  • Miracidium- first larval stage of a digenetic trematode
  • Mother sporocyst- asexual stage of development that forms more sporocysts
  • Cercariae- Juvenile digenetic trematode, produced by asexual reproduction within a sporocyst
  • Metacercariae- stage between cercaria and adult in the life cycle of most digenetic trematodes

D. dendriticum egg containing a miracidium.

life cycle
Life Cycle
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGSUU3E9ZoM
life cycle in the land snail 1 st intermediate host
Life Cycle in the Land Snail (1st intermediate host)
  • Adult flukes live in the bile ducts within the liver.
  • Eggs leave the liver and are passed with the feces.
  • The eggs contain a miracidia.
  • A land snail must eat the egg before it will hatch.
  • In the small intestine of the snail, the egg hatches and releases miracidia
  • The miracidia penetrates the gut wall and develops into a mother sporocyst in the digestive gland.
  • Mother sporocysts produce daughter sporocysts which produce cercariae .
  • Three months after infection the cercariae accumulate in the “lung” (mantle cavity) of the snail or on its body surface which causes the snail to produce thick mucus.
  • The mucous surrounds the cercariae and expels the cercariae in the slime ball as it crawls along.
life cycle in the ant 2 nd intermediate host
Life Cycle in the Ant (2nd intermediate host)
  • Fluke development continues when the cercariae are eaten by the second definitive host an ant.
  • An ant will eat the slime ball and the cercariae become metacercariae
  • Most of the metacercariae (infective to definitive host) will encyst in the spaces between the organs of the ant where the blood circulates (hemocoel).
  • Some metacercariae migrate to the subesophageal ganglion of the ant and encyst there
    • These metacercariae (not infective to definitive host) are called “Brainworms” and will change the behavior of the ant.
  • In the evening the ants will crawl to the tops of grasses and other plants and hang from it's mandibles.
    • When the temperature warms up the ant returns to normal behavior.
  • On the grass and other plants the ant is susceptible to the definitive host during grazing.
life cycle in definitive host
Life Cycle in Definitive Host
  • Once eaten by a definitive host the metacercariaeexcysts in the duodenum.
  • It will migrate upstream to the bile ducts since it is attracted to bile and into the liver, mature and produce eggs.
  • Flukes mature in 6 to 7 weeks
  • Flukes reproduce by hermaphroditism
  • Eggs are produced and released in feces of definitive host
  • No trauma to the gut wall or liver parenchyma resulting from migrating juveniles
  • Biliary dysfunction
  • Bile duct inflammation
  • Fibrosis
  • Hepatocyte damage
  • Anemia
  • Edema
  • Emaciation
  • Traditionally eggs of D. dendriticum are found in feces of infected animals
  • Post-mortem examination of liver
  • ELISA using D. dendriticum antigen can catch the disease early on
  • Praziquantel
  • Benzimidazoles
    • Albenzole
    • Fenbenazole
    • Mebendazole
  • Animal husbandry practices
    • Do not allow ruminants to graze in the early morning or at night
  • Try and control the intermediate hosts
    • Use chickens, geese or ducks
quiz time
Quiz Time
  • What are the two intermediate hosts?
    • Land Snail and an Ant
  • What is the geographic range of D. dendriticum?
    • Most of Europe and Asia, North America, Australia, Northern Africa
  • Who are the accidental host?
    • Other herbivorous animals, carnivores, and humans
  • What life stage is a juvenile digenetic trematode?
    • cercariae
  • During the evening and morning hours, what unusual behavior does the ant display?
    • Ants climb and cling to top of grass at night or early morning
  • How is D. dendriticumdiagnosed?
    • Fecal exam for eggs, autopsy of liver, ELISA
  • Janovy, John Jr. and Roberts, Larry S., Foundations of Parasitiology, 8th Edition, 2009
  • http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Dicrocoelium_dendriticum
  • http://www.cdfound.to.it/html/dicro.htm
  • www.dpd.cdc.gov/dpdx/html/imagelibrary/Dicrocoeliasis_il.htm
  • www.suite101.com/content/dicrocoelium-dendriticum-a35177
  • http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+2107+2255&aid=731