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Spirura rytipleurites (Deslongchamps, 1824) Railliet, 1916

ETYMOLOGY: Spirura from the name of the group (round) and ryti = wrinkled cuticle and pleurites for the location of the cysts in the leural cavity of the intermediate host.

SYNONYMS: Filariagastrophila of Müller, 1894; Spiruragastrophila of Marotel, 1912.

HISTORY: These worms were originally described by Deslonchamps (1824) from larvae recovered from the body cavity of the oriental cockroach (Periplanetaorientalis). Müller (1894) was probably the first to illustrate the adult forms of this species. In 1954, Chabaud divided the species into two subspecies. S. rytipleuritiesrytipleurites was considered a parasite of the cat and accidentally sometimes the rat; the intermediate host of this subspecies was the cockroach. The other subspecies, S. rytipleuritesseurati is considered a parasite of Mongoose (Herpestes), Fox (Vulpes), hedgehog (Eiinaceus), and striped polecat (Zorilla), and the intermediate hosts are considered to be beetles rather than cockroaches.

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION: These worms are common in North Africa and probably into parts of southern Europe as evidenced by their appearance in hedgehogs in Sicily (Gianetta and Trotti, 1995). Marotel (1912) reported on infections in cats, one from Lyon and one from Madagascar. Sonsino (1896) reported on worms recovered from a cat in Egypt.

LOCATION IN HOST: The adults live in the wall of the esophagus and stomach.

PARASITE IDENTIFICATION: The adults of this genus are recognized by the presence of one or two ventral cuticular bosses (inflations) in the cervical region. The eggs are ovoid with a smooth thick shell, and contain a first-stage larvae with a cephalic hook when passed in the feces.

LIFE CYCLE: Stefanski (1934b) showed that the larvae were capable of developing in cockroaches that become infected when they ingest the eggs. The larvae grow within capsules in the abdominal cavities of the cockroaches where they become quite long, over a cm in length. The third-stage larvae within the abdominal cavity of the insects have well developed reproductive systems. Cats become infected through the ingestion of infected cockroaches. Stefanski fed 17 larvae to a cat and recovered

11 adult worms.


TREATMENT: Not described.

EPIZOOTIOLOGY: Chabaud (1954) states that tyhe larvae of Spirura rytipleruites are in extraordinary abundan ce in north Africa, being present within the body cavities of some 30% of the “Moricas, Pimelies, and Blaps” dissected around Casablaca. The larvae are also commonly found in various vertebrates, e.g., species of skinks (Chalcides) and frogs (Bufo). It would appear that cats are becoming infected by eating either the arthropods or the small vertebrate paratenic hosts.

HAZARDS TO OTHER ANIMALS: It appears that it would be unlikely that other hosts would be seriously affected, however, the development of the spiny hedgehog as a pet and the potential of oriental cockroaches serving as intermediate hosts could lead to the development of large number of parasites causing disease under confinement situations.


CONTROL/PREVENTION: As with many of the parasites, it is important to keep cats from hunting. At the same time, the large numbers of oriental cockroaches that can be presnet in houses would mean that in many parts of the world, infections could be very hard to control.


Chabaud AG. 1954. Le cycle évolutive des spirurides et de nématodes ayant une biologie comparable. Valeur systématique des caractères biologiques. Ann Parasitol Hum Comp 29: 42-88, 206-249, 358-425.

Deslongchamp EE. 1824. Spiroptère. Spiroptera. Encycl. Méthodique, Paris, Volume 2, page 697.

Galeb O. 1878. Observations sur les migrations du Filaria rytipleurites, parasite des blatteset des rats. Compt Rend Hebd Séances Acad Sc, Paris 88:75-77.

Gianetto S, Trotti GC. 1995. Light and scanning electron microscopy of Spirurarytipleuritesseurati Chabaud, 1954 (Nematoda: Spiruridae) from Erinaceuseuropaeus in Sicily. J Helminthol 69:305-311.

Marotel G. 1912. Nouveau Spiroptère stomacal du chat. Rec méd vét 86:827-828.

Müller A. 1894. Helminthologische Beobachtungen an bekannten und unbekannten Entozoen. Arch Naturgesch 60:113.

Sonsino P. 1896. Forme nuove, o poco conosciute, in parte indeterminate, di entozoi raccolti, o osservati in Eggito. Centr Bak Parasit, Abt. 1 20:437-449.

Stefanski M. 1934a. Spirurarytipleurites (Deslonchamps, 1824) parasite peu connu du chat. Wiadom Wet 13:177-180.

Stefanski M. 1934b. Sur le dévelopment et les caratères spécifiques de Spirurarytipleurites. Ann Parasitol 12:203-217.