Lancet Liver Fluke (Dicrocoelium dendriticum)

Adult Lancet Liver FlukeThe lancet liver fluke (Dicrocoelium dendriticum) is a parasitic flatworm that exhibits multiple sophisticated parasitic behaviors throughout its complex life cycle. This website discusses the life cycle and multiple parasitic behaviors of the lancet liver fluke as they relate to Nikolass Tinbergen's Four Questions, specifically, the evolutionary history of the life cycle and parasitic behaviors (phylogeny), the development of these behaviors across the life span of an individual lancet liver fluke (ontogeny), the ways in which these behaviors function physically and chemically (mechanism), and how these behaviors are beneficial to lifetime reproductive success (adaptive value). While much is still unknown about the lancet liver flukes, what has been discovered illustrates just how truly remarkable these organism are.

The inspiration for this website came from a marvelous comic of the lancet liver fluke life cycle, which can be found here.

A short National Geographic video can be found here.











Tinbergen's Four Question:

Tinbergen's Four Questions

Image courtesy of Professor Suzy Renn.