Blood flukes have a double outer membrane


THE blood fluke Schistosoma mansoni has an unusual tegumental outer membrane which consists of two lipid bilayers1,2. We report here that the double outer membrane is a common feature of the Schistosomatidae (parasites of man which cause schistosomiasis) and also occurs in members of the two other families of blood flukes3, the Aporocotylidae (parasites of fish) and the Spirorchiidae (parasites of turtles). In contrast, flukes (Digenea) belonging to families which inhabit the gut and associated body cavities of the host are limited by a single lipid bilayer. We suggest that the double outer membrane is an adaptation to the intravascular habitat.

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MCLAREN, D., HOCKLEY, D. Blood flukes have a double outer membrane. Nature 269, 147–149 (1977).

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