Taenia is a genus of tapeworm that includes some important parasites of livestock. Not all members of the Genus Taenia have an armed scolex (hooks located in the "head" region), for example, Taenia saginata has an unarmed scolex, while Taenia solium has an armed scolex.3
Proglottids have central ovary, with a vitellarium (yolk gland) posterior to it. As in all cyclophyllid cestodes, there is genital pore on the side of the proglottid. Eggs are released when proglottid deteriorates, and so a uterine pore is unnecessary.
Important species include:
The life cycle begins with either the eggs or the gravid proglottids being passed in the feces, which can last for days to months in the environment (1). Then, cattle or pigs ingest the contaminated vegetation with eggs or proglottids (2). The oncospheres hatch in the small intestine of the cattle or pig(3) and invade the intestinal wall to travel to the striated muscles to develop into cysticerci. Humans can become infected when eating raw beef or pork meat (4). In the human, the cysticercus develop into adults in two months in the intestines. Using their scolex, they attach to the small intestine(5) where they reside(6). Taenia saginata are about 1,000-2,000 proglottids long with each gravid proglottid containing 100,000 eggs, while Taenia solium contain about 1,000 proglottids with each gravid proglottid containing 50,000 eggs.2
The taenia has caused discussion among creationist theologians since its description by Charles Bonnet : had it been created before Adam's fall or after? If before, what was he created for and how did he live ? If after, did that mean humans were not the last created species ?
3. Roberts, L.S. and Janovy, John Jr. Foundations of Parasitology 7th Edition. McGraw-Hill. 2005.