North-East India Helminth Parasite Information Database

Heterakis gallinae (Freeborn Freeborn) Gmelin 1790 Back


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                                    Heterakis gallinae (Gmelin 1790), Freeborn 1923


(Ascaris gallinae Gmelin, 1790; H. gallinarum (Schrank, 1788) Madsen, 1949; H. vesicularis (Dujardin, 1845))


Gallus (gallus domesticus)


Intestinal caecum, frequently intestinal lumen


Shillong (Meghalaya), Mairang (Meghalaya), Nongstoin (Meghalaya), Jowai (Meghalaya)


Worms small to medium sized, white coloured; anterior extremity bent dorsally. Cuticular striations extremely fine; two narrow lateral cuticular membranes extending along body length, well developed in cephalic and caudal regions. Pair of cervical papillae present at anterior extremity. Mouth surrounded by three equal-sized rounded lips, two lateral, one dorsal; each lateral lip bearing two papillae, one each at its anterior extremity and towards its base; dorsal lip possessing pair of comparatively small papillae. Oesophagus divided into three parts -short muscular pharynx, cylindrical middle part, and posterior part enlarged to form sub-globular bulb with three-sided valvular apparatus. Nerve ring and excretory pore just anterior to cervical papillae.


Body 7.5-10.0mm in length, 0.22-0.44 mm in width. Tail straight, tapering beyond alae to a fine filament; two quite large, sub-equal lateral bursal wings present on either side of tail, supported by pedunculate papillae. Pre-anal sucker with chitinous rim, not very close to anus; anal opening oval with definite walls. Caudal papillae twelve pairs, situated on ventral side of caudal extremity; five pairs with long peduncles, projecting into alae; of the remaining pairs four post-nals, two sessile adanals, four ray-like adanals, two ray-like pre-anals; latter at sides of pre-anal sucker; of adanals, sessile papillae close to anus, second pair of ray-like adanals largest touching outer bursal membrane; of post-anals, first pair large, third and fourth pairs overlapping each other. Spicules unequal, dissimilar with prominent alae; right spicule longer with narrower alae and simple conical tip, left spicule possessing very broad alae, its tip forming characteristic double curve. Gubernaculum absent.


Body 8.5-12.0 mm in length, 0.26-0.35 mm in width. Tail tapering posteriorly to sharp point, pair of small, caudal papillae present just near to its tip. Vulva inconspicuous, lying near middle of body. Vagina highly muscular, its terminal portion running posteriorly from vulva. Uterus forming several antero-posterior loops, and disposed in two apparently opposed branches. Eggs thick shelled, ellipsoidal, 0.05-0.08 x 0.02-0.04 mm, unsegmented.


H. gallinae has been recorded from a variety of gallinaceous birds in the Zoological Gardens, Calcutta, by Baylis and Daubney (1922), Chandler (1926), and Maplestone(1932). Gmelin (1790) first described the parasite and placed in the genus Ascaris (Linneus, 1758). Frölich (1791) redescribed it and assigned it to a new genus Heterakis. Zeder (1800) created a genus Fusaria but Gmelin named the type species as gallinae. After Frölich (1791), this worm was considered as H vesicularis till Freeborn (1923) reintroduced the correct name Heterakis gallinae (Gmelin, 1790).

The present observations are in conformity with those of Baylis (1936a) and Deo (1964) except for minor deviations with regard to the length of the body and tail, and distance of vulva from the posterior end.

Helminthological collections record

NEHU/Z - NM/13


Baylis, H. A. and Daubney, R.(1922) Report on the parasitic nematodes in the collection of the Zoological Survey of India. Memories of the Indian Museum, Calcutta. 7:pp 263-347.

Chandler, A. C. (1926) New heterakids from Indian galliform birds. Indian Journal of Medical Research. 13:pp 617-623.

Maplestone, P.A. (1932). The genera Heterakis and Pseudaspidodera in Indian hosts. Indian Journal of Medical Research. 20:pp 403-420.

Gmelin, J. F. (1790) Systema naturae Part 6. Vermes. Lipsiae. pp. 3021-3910.

Gmelin, J. F. (1790) Systema naturae Part 6. Vermes. Lipsiae. pp. 3021-3910.

Zeder, J. G. H. (1800). Erster Nachtrang zur Naturgeschichte der Eingeweidewürmer mit zufässen and Anmerkungen herausgege ben. Leipzig, pp 320.

Freeborn, S. B. (1923) Poultry round worms investigations. Report of the California University Agriculture Experimentation Station. pp 129-130.

Baylis, H.A. (1936a) The Fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma. Nematoda Vol. I (Ascaroidea and Strongyloidea). Originally published by Taylor and Francis, London (reprinted edition : Today

Deo, P. G. (1964). Roundworms of Poultry. Science Monograph, Indian Council of Agricultural Research ( I.C.A.R) Animal Husbandry Series No. 3 New Delhi. pp 166

Frölich, J. A. (1791). Beiträge Zür Naturgeschichte der Eingeweidewürmer. Der Natürforscher, Halle. 25:pp 52-113.