When measured 56 days postinfection the length, wet weight and dry-weight of Hymenolepis diminuta were all found to decrease with increasing number of cysticercoids given up to 20. The mean position of the worms in 10, 12 and 20 worm infections is significantly posterior to that of 1, 2 and 5 worm infections and the worms are attached over a wider area of the intestine.
Egg production by the worms was followed up to day 56 postinfection; the number of eggs produced per worm and even per rat decreased with increasing population density. Thus the best way to get most eggs and to maintain the parasite in the laboratory is to have rats infected with only one tapeworm.
Rats given 1–20 cysticercoids showed a mean recovery of 100–65%, while rats given 40–200 cysticercoids showed a mean recovery ranging from 13 to 2%. In addition to ‘normal’ worms, defined as worms > 10 mm, small, most probably destrobilated, worms were found. In the 50 and 100 cysticercoid infections, worm recoveries were, respectively, 8% ‘normal’, 16% small, and 2% ‘normal’, 5% small. From the significantly lower recovery from heavy infections it is concluded that a deleterious factor is operating during the 8 weeks after the infection.