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A wormlike larval form of certain tapeworms, typically developing in a copepod.

[pro- + Greek kerkos, tail + -oid.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(Zoology) the larval stage of certain tapeworms
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After ingestion, the coracidium loses its ciliature and penetrates the gut into the body cavity where is develops from an oncosphere into a plerocercoid (previously also called procercoid, see article for terminology of cestode larvae 23).
The first intermediate host (species in which the procercoid develops) is probably brackish zooplanktonic copepods (7).
Life cycle of the parasite is indirect, involving two intermediate hosts, the first is a crustacean of genera Diaptomus or Cyclops in which procercoid stage develops and second is a fresh water fish which harbour plerocercoid stage of the tapeworm.
A metacestode or procercoid develops in the body cavity of these crustaceans and the definitive host, a fish, becomes infected directly after consuming them (Scholz, 1999).