Loa Loa

The African Eye Worm

How does it Reproduce?

A male and female Loa Loa worm must be present in a host in order for reproduction to occur. Females will attract males with special pheromones. After mating the female worm releases eggs that will circulate through the host's blood stream. Adults are 20-70 mm (millimeters) long, while babies are 5-15 mm long.

Where do They Live?

The African Eye Worm is found in rainforests and swamps in central and west Africa. Eventhough they use the deer-fly as a sort of intermediate host, their favorite host is the homo-sapien-sapien (i.e. us).

How do They Feed?

The Loa Loa Worm eats fluids in the tissues of human flesh by secreting digestive enzymes on its feast and then absorbing the residual. The little worms have adapted to have a cuticle layer of skin which protects them so they can invade their host's digestive tract without getting harmed.

Fun Facts!

They can live for up to fifteen years and beyond. Juveniles live in their host's bloodstream during the day, but go into the lungs at night. They will swim across the cornea of one's eye or between one's skin and the bridge of one's nose. The worms do not have lips. The last case of the Loa Loa worm in the USA was in the 1920's.

Emma Stevens


Borg, Lindsay. "Loaisis." Standford University. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar 2013. <http://img.allvoices.com/thumbs/event/598/486/28527873-loa-loa.jpg>.

"Loaisis." CDC. Center for Disease Control, 02 Nov 2010. Web. 19 Mar 2013. <http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/loiasis/>.

Harris, M. 2003. "Loa loa" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed March 19, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Loa_loa/