Common Name: Nematobothrium texomensis

Scientific Name: Nematobothrium texomensis

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Platyhelminthes

Class: Trematoda

Order: Azygiida

Family: Didymozoidae

Genus: Nematobothrium

Species: N. texomensis

One of a group of worms that are generally long and thin, the adults of this species can reach 8.2 ft (2.5 m) in length. A ventral sucker is not evident and may be lacking in most specimens. It has little musculature, even in its oral sucker, which is completely enclosed in its covering (integument). It is transparent to slightly opaque. You can generally find this species of flatworms in the pregnant ovaries of grown (mature) buffalo fish.

In some cases, the worm can extend several inches outside the host organism through the fish's genital opening. Including this flatworm species, only a few other didymozoids infect freshwater fishes. Its snail host is unknown as of year 2003. Like other parasitic flatworms, this species is dependent on its host, most preferably the buffalo fish, to fulfill its nutritional needs. They attach to the host organism using suckers. They will eat blood cells, mucus, and loose cells; in some cases, they secrete enzymes that begin to digest tissue before consumption. Hardly anything eats this species of flatworms.

The N. texomensis reproduces in the spring, shedding its eggs according to the reproductive cycle of its host. Eggs of this species are round and thin-shelled structures. Usually within a few days of being shed, miracidia develop. The miracidia resemble amebas in shape, lack cilia, and move slowly. They are armed with small spines. What continuously stood out about the N. texomensis was its absence of a common name. So when people want to talk about it the have to say Nematobothrium texomensis, or N. texomensis. Although this species is quite rare (and I could hardly find anything about this animal on the internet) I learned how it attaches to its host, and more of its habitat.

Author: Justin M

Published: 05/2008


Photo credit: