Schistosoma mansoni belongs to the dioecious Schistosomatidae. The occasional observation of males with rudimentary female characteristics is thought to attest the hermaphroditic roots of this parasite. Supernumerary testicular lobes also are recurrently seen in this helminth, but their morphology and origin are elusive. Here, we investigated the morphology of the supernumerary lobes from 15 S. mansoni males and similar structures of 2 females in whole mounts by brightfield and confocal laser scanning microscopy. The follicles in the females were not regarded as testicular lobes, but 1 male had a rudimentary ovary with a residual oviduct posterior to the normal set of testicular lobes and was considered hermaphroditic. In addition, 6 other males contained supernumerary lobes that enclosed fully matured oocytes in variable amounts. In the remaining 8 males, no female characteristics could be seen, and the lobes showed morphologically a more testicular aspect, although this morphology was only confirmed in 1 male where spermatozoids were detected. The process underlying the expression of supernumerary testes or lobes with oocytes is similar and is, at least in part, induced by the host.

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