Gongylonema pulchrum




Rev 02/20/2024

Gullet worm Classification Hosts
Morphology and Anatomy Life Cycle
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           Gongylonema pulchrum Molin, 1857

Morphology and Anatomy:



Reported median body size for this species (Length mm; width micrometers; weight micrograms) - Click:


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Biology and Ecology:

  Gongylonema has a wide range of vertebrate definive hosts, including cattle, sheep, pigs, rabbits and monkeys. Humans are sometimes reported as accidental hosts.

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Life Cycle:

Insects, especially dung beetles, are intermediate hosts. Since dung beetle species are in close contact with animal and human feces, they may also act as hosts for a wide variety of pathogenic bacteria and/or viruses, as well as eukaryotic parasites such as platyhelminthes and nematode  belonging to the genera Gongylonema, Spirocerca, Ascarops, Acanthocephalus, Macracanthorynchus, or Physocephalus (Poinar, 1975). The parasites use dung beetles as intermediate, incidental, or paratenic hosts (Nichols and Gomez, 2014).

Like other spirurid nematodes, Gongylonema spp. the insect intermediate host ingests ingest the eggs and juveniles become encysted in the eggs. When the insect host is ingested by an appropriate definitive host, thethe juveniles emerge from the eggs and migrate to the esophagus or buccal cavity.

In humans, the worms tend to localize in the buccal cavity, including the lips, gums, tongue, and palate. In a high percentage of these cases, the sensation of a moving worm is reported by the patient. In some cases, the worms are removed by the patients themselves, using their fingers. In others, the worms have been removed by inserting a needle under the worm. Symptoms in humans, other than the sensation of something moving, may include local irritation, pharyngitis and stomatitis, and bloody oozing patches in the mouth (Eberhard and Busillo, 1999). Most human infestions appear to be by Gongylonema pulchrum,


For Ecophysiological Parameters for this species, click If species level data are not available, click for genus level parameters
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Ecosystem Functions and Services:



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Eberhard, M.L. and Busillo, C. 1999. Human Gongylonema infection in a resident of New York City. .Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg., 61:51–52.

Lichtenfels, J.R. 1971. Morphological Variation in the Gullet Nematode, Gongylonema pulchrum Molin, 1857, from Eight Species of Definitive Hosts with a Consideration of Gongylonema from Macaca spp. J. Parasiltology 57:346-355.

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Copyright 1999 by Howard Ferris.
Revised: February 20, 2024.