One of the major schistosome species parasitizing humans and causing liver and gastrointestinal tract disease to the human host, and is endemic in Africa and South America
Schistosoma is a genus belonging to class Trematoda of phylum Platyhelminthes. Members of this genus are commonly called schistosomes or blood flukes. One of the distinctive features of schistosomes is their sexual dimorphism such that the males are females differ in size or length and the males have a gynecophore to carry their female mate. The genus includes species such as S. japonicum, S. spindale, S. haematobium, S. indicum, S. intercalatum, S. malayensis, S. mansoni, and S. mekongi.
S. mansoni is one of the main causative agents of schistosomiasis. It particularly causes schistosomiasis mansoni. The species invades the blood vessels and resides in the intestinal tract or other organs such as liver of the definitive host. Similar to other schistosomes, the species uses a snail species as its intermediate host (particularly, Biomphlaria spp.) and a mammalian species (e.g. humans, rodents, and primates) as a definitive host. In terms of morphology, the species has an oral sucker and a ventral sucker. The adult male can reach up to 10 mm in length whereas the female measures up to 10 to 14 mm in length. The male adult has a gynecophore to carry the female to ensure reproduction. The egg is about 114 to 175 micrometers long by 45 to 68 micrometers wide. It has a prominent, lateral spine.1
The name of the species is derived from a Scottish physician and parasitologist, Sir Patrick Manson, who first described it.2
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Platyhelminthes
- Class: Trematoda
- Subclass: Digenea
- Order: Strigeidida
- Genus: Schistosoma
- Species: S. mansoni
1 Moen, L. and J. Tkacs 2013. “Schistosoma mansoni” (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved from ://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Schistosoma-mansoni/.
2 Birch, C. A. (1974). “Schistosoma mansoni. Sir Patrick Manson, 1844-1922.”. The Practitioner 213 (1277): 730–2.