Putting the Tapeworm Together

The man who discovered the life cycle of tapeworms was born 19 December 1809. Belgian parasitologist Pierre-Joseph van Beneden, a professor of zoology at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, studied the digestive tracts of fishes for 15 years. He showed that organisms known at the time as cysticerci were actually the larvae of organisms called taeniae, or adult tapeworms. Various life stages of tapeworms had previously been seen and named, but not considered related. In 1875 van Beneden published his masterpiece, Commensals and Parasites in the Animal Kingdom. He also studied whale fossils and collaborated in a major work called The Osteology of Cetaceans, Living and Fossil, published between 1868 and 1880. Van Beneden died in 1894.

[Source: Britannica Online]