Acanthocephalus (animal)

Acanthocephalus is a genus of scratch worms than adult animals as intestinal parasites in marine and freshwater fish as well as amphibians and reptiles, and even small mammals, such as Hedgehogs live and trigger a Acanthocephalose these.


When the representatives of the genus Acanthocephalus is small to medium sized species of worms scratch with an almost cylindrical body that have no spines on the trunk as other kinds of Echinorhynchidae. It is characterized by the short oval to club-shaped trunk ( proboscis ) and the corresponding proboscis sheath with a ganglion at the vaginal floor. In addition, the lacunar of the tegument is provided with numerous reticular connections with them. The trunk is equipped with several hooks longitudinal rows, which are larger for the trunk center of both sides. The males have 6 cement glands, which may be arranged in series or pear-shaped pairs. The eggs of the species are long oval.

Way of life

The species of the genus Acanthocephalus live as adult animals as intestinal parasite in marine and freshwater fish as well as amphibians and reptiles. As intermediate hosts act small crustaceans such as amphipods or isopods living water.


Within the genus about 45 species are distinguished. The most prevalent types include the following:

  • Acanthocephalus anguillae
  • Acanthocephalus Lucii
  • Acanthocephalus ranae