Ascocotyle minuta Looss, 1899

ETYMOLOGY:Ascos (tube) + cotyle (disk) [referring to the shape of the anterior sucker being elongated within the body] and minuta (small) [referring to the small size].

SYNONYMS:Phagicola minuta (Looss, 1899) Faust, 1920; Parascocotyle minuta (Looss, 1899) Stunkard and Haviland 1924.

HISTORY: This parasite was originally described from dogs and cats in Egypt; it was also found at this time in a heron Ardea cinerea.


LOCATION IN HOST: Small intestine.

PARASITE IDENTIFICATION: This small fluke is less than 0.5 mm in length. The oral sucker bears approximately 18 to 20 hooklets and leads into the conical prepharynx that is characteristic of this genus. The genital opening is just anterior to the ventral sucker. Most of the reproductive organs are posterior to the ventral sucker. The paired testes are symmetrical and located at the posterior end of the body.

The eggs have a golden brown shell and are 23 to 24 µm long by 14 µm in width.

LIFE CYCLE: Assumed to use a piscine intermediate host.


TREATMENT: Probably praziquantel, but not reported.

EPIZOOTIOLOGY: Cats probably become infected by eating raw fish.

HAZARD TO OTHER ANIMALS: None. Although other hosts are infected, the major means of infection is through the ingestion of the fish intermediate host which requires that the appropriate snail also be available. Thus, infection of these other hosts will typically only occur in the wild.

HAZARD TO HUMANS: None. Humans theoretically could become infected if they ingested an infected piscine host.

CONTROL/PREVENTION: Prevention of the ingestion of raw fish.


Looss A. 1899. Weitere Beiträge sur Kenntnis der Trematodenfauna Aegyptens, zugleich Versuch einer natürlichen Gliederung des Genus Distomum Retzius. Zool Jahrb Syst 12:521-784.