A cercaria (plural cercariae) is the larval form of the parasite Trematode. It develops within the germinal cells of the sporocyst or redia.[1] A cercaria has a tapering head with large penetration glands.[2] It may or may not have a long swimming "tail", depending on the species.[1] The motile cercaria finds and settles in a host where it will become either an adult, or a mesocercaria, or a metacercaria, according to species.

Rotifers (Rotaria rotatoria) produce a chemical, Schistosome Paralysis Factor, suppressing cercaria swimming and reducing infections.[3]


  1. "Glossary". VPTH 603 Veterinary Parasitology. University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.
  2. "Schistosoma". Australian Society for Parasitology. Retrieved 19 February 2011.
  3. Gao, Jiarong; Yang, Ning; Lewis, Fred A.; Yau, Peter; Collins, James J.; Sweedler, Jonathan V.; Newmark, Phillip A. (2019). Khosla, Chaitan (ed.). "A rotifer-derived paralytic compound prevents transmission of schistosomiasis to a mammalian host". PLOS Biology. 17 (10): e3000485. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.3000485. ISSN 1545-7885.
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