In order to monitor the early phases of the development of Ascaris suum from domestic pigs, third-stage larvae, retrieved from the liver and the lungs, were studied by analyzing worm growth and length increase of individual transverse annuli in the cuticle. Material for study using light and scanning electron microscopy was obtained from experimental infections. The results show that the third-stage larva (not the second-stage) after emergence from the egg grows continuously, without an ecdysis in the liver. During growth, each annulus is split into a complex of 2 subannuli, each of which attains a bimodal appearance and is a prominent feature during a late phase of the third-stage larva. The results suggest that the first 2 molts occur inside the egg, a synapomorphic feature of the Ascaridoidea. The third-stage larvae of ascaridoids, with some functional similarities of the dauer-larva stage of Caenorhabditis sp., facilitate transmission of these parasitic worms to the digestive tract of the vertebrate final host (utilizing the tracheal route in A. suum), where the third and the fourth molts take place.

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