(taxonomy) A superfamily of the phylum Nematoda and is comprised of small, threadlike parasitic nematodes causing filariasis to their host
The superfamily Filarioidea belongs to the Order Spirurida of the Phylum Nematoda. The members of this superfamily are commonly called filarial worms or filariae. They are small and thread-like worms that are often found in the blood of their definitive host. The definitive host is usually a vertebrate wherein the worm will develop to attain maturity. The larvae (i.e. microfilariae) are found in the circulation of their definitive host. In this way, they would be able to reach their intermediate host, the mosquitoes that feed on blood. The mosquitoes therefore are their carriers onto their new vertebrate host.
This superfamily of nematodes includes the following families: Aproctidae, Creagrocercidae, Drilonematidae, Filariidae, Homungellidae, Mesidionematidae, Scolecophilidae, Setariidae, and Ungellidae. Certain species are medically important as they are capable of causing filariasis to their host. For instance, Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi, and Brugia timori are filarial worms that cause lymphatic filariasis in human hosts. Within their human host, they occupy the lymphatic system. Other filarial worms are Loa loa, Mansonella streptocerca, and Onchocerca volvulus. They live in the subcutaneous layer of the skin and cause subcutaneous filariasis. Mansonella perstans and Mansonella ozzardi are filarial worms that live in the serous cavity of the abdomen. They are the causative agents of serous cavity filariasis.
Word origin: Latin filum (“thread”)
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Subkingdom: Eumetazoa
- Superphylum: Platyzoa
- Phylum: Nematoda
- Class: Secernentea
- Subclass: Spiruria
- Order: Spirurida
- Superfamily: Filarioidea