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Aliens From Inner Space

3 December 1999 7:00 pm
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This mug is the business end of a tapeworm, a parasite that infects millions of people and countless animals worldwide. Up to 100 millimeters long, this species (Hymenolepsis microstoma) uses its four suckers and hook-packed snout (called a rostellum) to latch onto the bile ducts of rodents, where it subsists by absorbing intestinal fluids. The image comes from Parasites and Parasitological Resources, one of several Web sites offering science educators an abundance of images, from malaria-carrying mosquitoes engorged with blood to human limbs swollen with elephantiasis. Check this page for more sites, including over 2300 slides collected by a medical professor during a long career fighting these critters.

--JOCELYN KAISER

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