PHYSALOPTEROIDEA

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PHYSALOPTEROIDEA

There are three genera of physalopteroid spiruruid nematodes, Physaloptera, Turgida, and Abbreviata, that have been recovered from the domestic cat. These nematodes are usually found in the stomachs of their vertebrate hosts, where they are attached to the mucosa by the means of large pseudolabia. The adults tend to be white to pinkish in color and are one to several inches in length. The vertebrate hosts include amphibia, reptiles, birds, and mammals, but those found in the cat are typically species which are true cat parasites or which are typically found in other mammalian hosts. The typical intermediate hosts of these worms is an insect, often something which feeds on feces like a cockroach or a beetle. It appears that the larvae are capable of persisting in paratenic hosts, and it seems that as more work is done on this group that cats will be found to be commonly infected by this route. The genera in the cat can be differentiated by the appearance of the head and the number of uterine branches. Turgida has seven or more uterine branches, while Physaloptera and Abbreviata have only two. Physaloptera spp. have a collarette behind the pseudolabia which is not obvious in members of the genus Abbreviata.

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