The key difference between Taenia solium and Taenia saginata is that the pigs are the intermediate hosts of Taenia solium, while the cattle are the intermediate hosts of Taenia saginata.
Tapeworms are parasitic segmented flatworms which are several meters long. They belong to genus Taenia. There are different Taenia species. Among them, Taenia solium and Taenia saginata are medically important two species. These worms use humans as their sole definitive hosts. Therefore, they live in our intestines, feeding off what we consume. They cause abdominal pain, nausea, and weight loss. It is not easy to eliminate these worms by deworming treatments. Hence, we need to use specific anti-parasitic drugs to control them.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Taenia Solium
3. What is Taenia Saginata
4. Similarities Between Taenia Solium and Taenia Saginata
5. Side by Side Comparison – Taenia Solium vs Taenia Saginata in Tabular Form
What is Taenia Solium?
Taenia solium, also known as pork tapeworm, is a medically important tapeworm that lives in our intestine, causing intestinal infections. It belongs to class: cestoidea, order: cyclophyllidea, and family: Taeniidae. T. solium uses pigs as its intermediate host and humans are the definitive host of it. When we consume uncooked pork or insufficiently cooked pork, we ingest larval cysts of T. solium. Therefore, the ingestion of contaminated pork is the cause of T. solium infection or taeniasis. Adult T. solium causes taeniasis while larvae cause cysticercosis.
Adult T. solium is approximately 2-4 m long. It is white in colour and ribbon-like in appearance. Its scolex (head) has 4 suckers, and the rostellum has two crowns of horns. Adult worm body is a chain of segments, and each segment has a reproductive unit.
What is Taenia Saginata?
Taenia saginata, also known as beef tapeworm, is another medically important tapeworm. The intermediate host of T. saginata is cattle. Humans are the definitive host of T. saginata. Therefore, when we ingest uncooked beef or raw beef, we get T. saginata infections. Compared to taeniasis, which is caused due to T. solium, the taeniasis caused by T. saginata has no major impact on human health. Moreover, T. saginata does not cause cysticercosis.
Adult T. saginata is normally 4 to 10 m long and white in colour. Its body has three regions as scolex, neck, and strobila. Similar to T. solium, T. saginata also has four suckers in scolex but has no hooks. Also, T. saginata lacks a rostellum.
What are the Similarities Between Taenia Solium and Taenia Saginata?
- Taenia solium and Taenia saginata are tapeworm species belonging to class Cestoda.
- They are zoonotic parasites of public health importance.
- They are segmented flatworms that live in our intestines feeding on what we eat.
- Adult worms cause taeniasis in humans.
- Both tapeworms use humans as their definitive host.
- Their eggs are indistinguishable. Hence, they are difficult to differentiate by parasitological examination.
- Both types require single or multiple hosts to complete their life cycle.
- Both types of tapeworms are white in colour.
- Their scolex has four suckers.
- Both tapeworms have a body which is a chain of numerous body segments called proglottid.
What is the Difference Between Taenia Solium and Taenia Saginata?
T. solium uses pigs as its intermediate host while T. saginata uses cattle as its intermediate host. Thus, this is the key difference between Taenia solium and Taenia saginata. Moreover, T. solium infection occurs through uncooked pork, while T. saginata infection occurs through uncooked beef.
The below infographic summarizes the difference between Taenia solium and Taenia saginata.
Summary – Taenia Solium vs Taenia Saginata
Taenia solium and Taenia saginata are two medically important tapeworm species. They cause a parasitic infection called taeniasis to humans. T. solium uses pigs as the normal intermediate host. In contrast, T. saginata uses cattle as the normal intermediate host. This is the key difference between Taenia solium and Taenia saginata. However, both species use humans as the sole definitive host. They have segmented bodies, and they are white in colour. But T. saginata lacks hooks in the scolex and a rostellum, unlike T. solium. Moreover, T. saginata does not cause cysticercosis. So, this summarizes the difference between Taenia solium and Taenia saginata.
1.“Taenia Solium.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 14 Oct. 2019, Available here.
2. Lesh, Ellen J. “Tapeworm (Taenia Solium, Taenia Saginata, Diphyllobothrium, Cysticercosis, Neurocysticercosis).” StatPearls [Internet]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 4 June 2019, Available here.
1. “Taenia solium” By Unknown – Memorie sulla storia e notomia degli animali senza vertebre del regno di Napoli Chiaje, Stefano delle (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Taenia saginata adult 5260 lores” (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia