Extraintestinal migration patterns of Pharyngostomum cordatum (Digenea: Neodiplostomidae) were studied in experimental rodents such as mice, rats, and hamsters. When metacercariae isolated from grass snakes were infected orally to rodents, they penetrated the intestinal wall at days 2–3 post-infection (p.i.) and were discovered mainly in the diaphragm, intercostal muscles, and vital organ such as the lungs at days 7–28 p.i., without morphological changes. Interestingly, from several rodents which died suddenly at days 2–9 p.i., small to considerable numbers of metacercariae were found, not only in the lungs, but also in the heart and brain. Within the tissues, worms were freely motile until day 7 p.i., but later they were surrounded by host cells, and finally tissue cysts were formed. When metacercariae harvested from the snakes and intercostal muscles of rodents were infected orally to cats, they developed into adult flukes in the small intestine. The results show that P. cordatum undergoes considerable extraintestinal migration including the vital organs of its rodent hosts.
(Accepted September 29 2000)