Life Cycle

Around and around we go!


The life cycle of the beef tapeworm is a bit complicated and has some essential steps to complete its cycle. 


The process of T. saginata life cycle.

1.      The adult releases gravid segments (proglottids filled with eggs) that are carried away by the digestive tract and released into the environment through the feces. 

2.  The proglottid segments are ingested by the cattle through the contaminated vegetation and then the proglottids enter the digestive tract of its intermediate host.  The enzymes and acids found in the gastrointestinal tract break down the protective barrier of the proglottid and release up to 100,000 eggs into the bovines system. 

3.      The eggs develop into oncosphere covered larvae that break through the intestine epithelium and travel through the circulation of the bovine.  Then the larvae end up in the muscle tissue and the oncosphere fills with fluid and become a cysticercus.  

4.     To finish complex life cycle, the undercooked beef meat must be eaten by a human (definitive host) and then will enter the digestive system.  Digestive enzymes break down the cysticercus and the larval cyst is released and the inverted scolex is able to come out and attach to the host’s intestine.  Taenia saginata is then able to grow, and within three months it can reach 5 meters long.  At this point of maturity, the tapeworm is then able to release proglottids to restart is life cycle. 



Now that you know the complicated life cycle, take a look at the medical condition and problems that the infection this parasite causes, Taeniasis!