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Ascariasis
[Ascaris lumbricoides]

Fertilized and unfertilized Ascaris lumbricoides eggs are passed in the stool of the infected host.  Fertilized eggs are are rounded and have a thick shell with an external mammillated layer that is often stained brown by bile.  In some cases, the outer layer is absent (known as decorticated eggs).  Fertile eggs range from 45 to 75 m in length.  Unfertilized eggs are elongated and larger than fertile eggs (up to 90 m in length).  Their shell is thinner and their mammillated layer is more variable, either with large protuberances or practically none.  Unfertile eggs contain mainly a mass of refractile granules.

Ascaris lumbricoides fertilized, decorticated egg Ascaris lumbricoides fertilized, decorticated egg
A B

A, B: A. lumbricoides decorticated, fertile eggs in wet mounts, 200 magnification.

Ascaris lumbricoides fertilized, decorticated egg Ascaris lumbricoides fertilized, decorticated egg
C D

C: A. lumbricoides decorticated, fertile egg in a wet mount, 200 magnification.  The embryo has advanced cleavage.
D: The same egg as in Image C, but at 400 magnification.

 

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