Tetrathyridia of Mesocestoides sp. were collected from the body cavities of the shrews (Insectivora), Crocidura russula, in Valencia, Spain and Crocidura suaveolens on the Mediterranean island of Corsica, France. Specimens were processed by routine microscopic and histological techniques, including examination with brightfield, phase-contrast, and differential-interference-contrast optics. Most tetrathyridia were clustered together inside host-derived fibrotic capsules, but some occurred free in the body cavity. All specimens examined from both locations had solid hindbodies, i.e., lacking a primary lacuna, thus conforming to the plerocercoid metacestode type; all possessed a single normal tetra-acetabulate scolex. All metacestodes from C. russula in Valencia were normal tetrathyridia. Those from C. suaveolens in Corsica were either normal tetrathyridia or had aberrant deep convolutions of an unusually elongated hindbody. No tetrathyridium from either location or host showed tegumental or excretory duct anomalies such as those reported by several authors from aberrant tetrathyridia and spargana in some other locations. No definitive evidence of asexual proliferation was visible in any of the tetrathyridia, but those with abnormally convoluted hindbodies from a single C. suaveolens in Corsica suggest the potential for asexuality by fission of the hindbody. These results add to our understanding of morphological and developmental variation among metacestodes in this widespread and variable genus.
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Vol. 97 • No. 5