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This article was originally published as:

Annable, T. J., & Metcalfe, D. C. (2012). Intraocular sparganosis (Platyhelminthes: Cestoda: Pseudophyllidea: Diphyllobothriidae) in the Green Tree Snake Dendrelaphis punctulatus (Serpentes: Colubridae: Colubrinae). Herpetofauna, 42(1/2), 51-55.

ISSN: 0725-1424


060809 Vertebrate Biology| 070709 Veterinary Pathology| 110803 Medical Parasitology


Sparganosis is a parasitic condition found almost on a worldwide scale that can infest fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. In the case described a green tree snake was found to have a dormant intraocular parasite (sparganum) leading to glaucoma and blindness. The first intermediate host is a small aquatic crustacean, commonly Cyclops. Animals can become second intermediate hosts when they ingest contaminated water. The parasite encysts as a sparganum usually forming a small lump under the skin that may remain dormant for many years. The definitive hosts for these parasitic tapeworms are carnivorous mammals such as cats, dogs or even humans. The lifecycle is completed when this predator is eaten by a mammalian host. Understanding the lifecycle means hygienic action can be taken to reduce chances of infestation.