Difference between Taenia solium and Taenia saginata 

Last updated on August 26th, 2019

Taeniasis is the parasitic infection of humans caused by adult tapeworm species; i.e. Taenia saginata (beef tapeworm)Taenia solium  (pork tapewormor Taenia asiatica (Asian tapeworm). T. solium and T. saginata have a worldwide distribution but incidence is higher in developing countries where as  Taenia asiatica is limited to Asia.

T. solium tapeworm infections can lead to human cysticercosis.

The major differences between T. solium and T. saginata is summarized in this table: 

Properties Taenia solium Taenia saginata
 Common Name  Taenia Solium  Taenia saginata
 Definitive host  Human  Human
 Intermediate Host  Pig  Cow/Cattle
 Disease   Taeniasis and Cysticercosis  Taeniasis only
 Transmission  Infection is common among those eating raw or insufficiently cooked measly pork containing the cysticerci.  Human beings are infected through the eating of undercooked beef containing the cysticerci (“measly” beef)
 Size  Size of adult worm: 2-7 m  Size of adult worm: 5 m or less (sometime up to 25 m)
 Scolex  Scolex of Taenia solium

  • The scolex head is globular in outline and has four circular suckers.
  • The head is provided with the rostellum armed with double row of alternating large and small hooklets. The rostellar hooklets are shaped like daggers or Arbian poniards (armed scolex)
 Scolex of Taenia Saginata

  • The scolex (“head”) is quadrate in outline and has four circular suckers.
  • Rostellum and hooklets are absent (i.e. unarmed scolex)
 Proglottids   Gravid proglotids of T solium

  • The total number of proglottids (segments) is an average of 1000.
  • The gravid uterus consists of a median longitudinal stem with 5- 13 compound lateral branches on each side
  • The gravid segments are expelled passively , in chains of 5-6 at a time, and not singly.
  • T. solium may produce 50,000 eggs per proglottid.
 Gravid proglottids of T. saginata

  • The number of proglottids varies from 1000- 2000.
  • The gravid uterus consists of a central longitudinal stem with 15-30 lateral branches on each side; these in turn sub-branch leaving practically no space in between.
  • The gravid segments are expelled singly
  • T. saginata may produce up to 100,000 eggs per proglottid.
 Eggs   Taenia_egg

  • The eggs are about 30-35 micrometers in diameter  and are bile stained.
  • The internal oncosphere contains six refractile hooks.
  • The eggs are not floated in the saturated solution of NaCl.
  • Eggs of Taenia solium and Taenia saginata are  morphologically indistinguishable.
Eggs of Taenia solium and Taenia saginata are morphologically indistinguishable.
 Eggs (Infectious nature)  Infectious to humans (Human who ingested  food contaminated with egg of Taenia solium may develop cysticercosis)  Eggs of Taenia saginata are not infectious. Human who ingest T. saginata eggs do not develop cysticercosis.


Note: Most of the photo of the parasite posted here are taken from Website of CDC

About Acharya Tankeshwar 467 Articles
Hello, thank you for visiting my blog. I am Tankeshwar Acharya. Blogging is my passion. I am working as an Asst. Professor and Microbiologist at Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Patan Academy of Health Sciences, Nepal. If you want me to write about any posts that you found confusing/difficult, please mention in the comments below.


  1. Very nice post. I was looking for the lateral branches and found your table very useful. Consider adding treatment for completeness!

  2. Sir i greatly admire you for your work. Please help us with specialized lab diagnostic procedures with each topic. Thank you for this worderful website! 😁

  3. You clearly indicated the difference between T.saginata and T. solium. I think both adult stages of this helminths can be found in man producing eggs but the cystic stage of T. Saginata is not infective to man but the cystic stage of T. Solium is infective and cause cysticercosis in man accidentally or due to reverse peristalysis. You see reverse peristalsis also occurring in case of T saginata. But what do you think that eggs of teania saginata does not infect human but that of T solium is infective? Why? I need some infornation.

  4. Taenia saginata dont have hooklets found in the scolex but some sources say the oncosphere has 6 hooklets. Is this true? if so, how does it go from a hexacanth embryo just like T.solium to a scolex without hooklets

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