a1 Zoologisk Museum, University of Oslo
a2 Institute of Biology and Geology, University of Tromsö
The size and form (length, width, and length: width ratio) of eggs of Diphyllobothrium dendriticum, D. ditremum and D. laturn vary considerably among individual worms within each species. The size of eggs varies with host species and a decrease in egg size with increasing intensity of infestation is indicated. The egg size of D. laturn increases during the first 10–12 days of egg production. For single worm infections in golden hamsters the mean egg length and width of D. ditremum are significantly smaller than the corresponding means of D. dendriticum and D. latum, while D. latum has significantly wider eggs than D. dendriticum. As taxonomic characteristics, egg size and form may contribute to species delimitation at the population level. For identification at the individual level the best possible accuracy is about 80%. This accuracy is considerably reduced when variation in host species and intensities of infestations are introduced. Scanning electron microscope studies did not reveal any differences among eggs of the three species.
(Received May 25 1977)