Definitions for cestoda
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Cestoda, class Cestoda(noun)
A subclass of parasitic worms of the class Cestoidea. In some classifications, it is not differentiated from the parent class.
Origin: [NL., gr. Gr. kesto`s girdle + -oid.]
Cestoda is the name given to a class of parasitic flatworms, commonly called tapeworms, of the phylum Platyhelminthes. Its members live in the digestive tract of vertebrates as adults, and often in the bodies of various animals as juveniles. Over a thousand species have been described, and all vertebrate species can be parasitised by at least one species of tapeworm. Several species parasitise humans after being consumed in underprepared meat such as pork, beef, and fish, or in food prepared in conditions of poor hygiene. T. saginata, the beef tapeworm, can grow up to 20 m; the largest species, the whale tapeworm Polygonoporus giganticus, can grow to over 30 m. Tapeworm parasites of vertebrates have a long history: recognizable clusters of cestode eggs, one with a developing larva, have been discovered in fossil feces of a shark dating to the mid- to late Permian, some 270 mya.
U.S. National Library of Medicine
A subclass of segmented worms comprising the tapeworms.
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