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       Canthariasis involves a myiasis caused by beetle larvae (Coleoptera) (Hope 1840).  Matheson noted that instances of the invasion of beetle larvae in the family Dermestidae and Tenebrionidae into the body are not infrequent, but when more closely examined most are of doubtful validity.  Nevertheless, infections may occur when consuming contaminated breakfast foods such as cereals.  One case involves larvae of the mealworm, Tenebrio molitor, which is a host of the tapeworm cysticercoid, Hymenolepis diminuta.  By 1932 there were over 44 reported infections of this tapeworm in humans and over 18 cases of T. molitor (Hinman & Faust (1932). Matheson detailed other cases as follows:


       "Palmer (1946) reports an infection in a four-month-old baby, never breast-fed.  The infection lasted for over four months, the baby passing living larvae of this beetle at intervals.  Infection is assumed from the feeding of infested precooked cereals.  Liggett (1931) reports a peculiar rhinal myiasis in a young girl due to the invasion of larvae of Attagenus picus Oliv. (the black carpet beetle).  Several workers in India, South Africa, and Ceylon have reported a peculiar type of intestinal myiasis caused by the presence of scarabaeid beetles.  The beetles,  Onthophagus bifasciatus, O. unifasciatus & Caccobius mutans (see Caccobius sp.), were passed alive in the stools.  The infections occurred only in young (three- to eight-year-old) children and the method of invasion may be surmised.  Sharpe (1947) lists an unusual intestinal myiasis by Ptinus tectus (Ptinidae)."


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 Key References:     <medvet.ref.htm>    <Hexapoda>


Hinman, F. H. & E. C. Faust.  1932.  The ingestion of the larvae of Tenebrio molitor L. (meal worm) by man.  J. Parasit. 19:  119-20.

Hope, F. W.  1840.  On insects and their larvae in the human body.  Trans. Ent. Soc. London 2: 256-271.

Legner, E. F.  1995.  Biological control of Diptera of medical and veterinary importance.  J. Vector Ecology 20(1): 59_120.

Legner, E. F..  2000.  Biological control of aquatic Diptera.  p. 847_870.  Contributions to a Manual of Palaearctic Diptera, Vol. 1, Sci.  Herald,

        Budapest.  978 p.

Liggett, H.  1931.  Parasitic invasion of the nose.  J. Amer. Med. Assoc. 96:  1571-72.

Matheson, R. 1950.  Medical Entomology.  Comstock Publ. Co, Inc.  610 p.

Palmer, E. D.  1946.  Intestinal canthariasis due to Tenebrio molitor.  J. Parasitol. 32:  54-55.

Service, M.  2008.  Medical Entomology For Students.  Cambridge Univ. Press.  289 p

Sharpe, D. S.  1947.  An unusual case of intestinal myiasis.  British Med. J. 1:  54.




Xi Sun, L-Fu Wang et al.  2016.  A case report: A rare case of infant gastrointestinal canthariasis caused by

      larvae of Lasioderma serricorne (Fabricius, 1792) (Coleoptera: Anobiidae).  Infect. Disease Poverty 5:  34.


       A case of an eight-month-old baby girl with irritable feeling, rubbing eyes, history of contact with mud and eating oranges twice during five days before attendance, and having “worms” in her stool was admitted to the First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China. The clinical examination revealed that the pulse rate, blood pressure and temperature were regular, and the examination of the head, neck, and chest were unremarkable. The stool specimens containing “worms” were sent to the Department of Parasitology, Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University. The worms were recovered, studied morphologically using naked eyes and anatomical lens, PCR analyzed targeting cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COX1) and 18S rRNA genes, examined by sequence analyses of the PCR products and finally classified by phylogenetic analysis to identify their species. Based on the findings, the worms were diagnosed as the larvae of L. serricorne.