Any member of almost 6,000 species of parasitic flatworms. Flukes are found worldwide and range in size from about 0.2 to 4 in. (5–100 mm) long. They most commonly parasitize fish, frogs, and turtles, but also humans, domestic animals, and invertebrates such as mollusks and crustaceans. They include external parasites (ectoparasites), internal parasites (endoparasites), and semi-external parasites (those that attach to the lining of the mouth, to gills, or to the cloaca). Most flukes are flattened and leaflike or ribbonlike and have muscular suckers on the bottom surface, as well as hooks and spines, for attachment to the host. Fluke infestations may cause illness (e.g., schistosomiasis) or death in humans.
Liver fluke (Fasciola hepatica)—Grant Heilman Photography
Variants of FLUKE
fluke or trematode
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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