Life cycle of Ascaris lumbricoides

  Adult worms  live in the lumen of the small intestine.  A female may produce approximately 200,000 eggs per day, which are passed with the feces  .  Unfertilized eggs may be ingested but are not infective.  Fertile eggs embryonate and become infective after 18 days to several weeks  , depending on the environmental conditions (optimum: moist, warm, shaded soil).  After infective eggs are swallowed  , the larvae hatch  , invade the intestinal mucosa, and are carried via the portal, then systemic circulation to the lungs  .  The larvae mature further in the lungs (10 to 14 days), penetrate the alveolar walls, ascend the bronchial tree to the throat, and are swallowed  .  Upon reaching the small intestine, they develop into adult worms  .  Between 2 and 3 months are required from ingestion of the infective eggs to oviposition by the adult female.  Adult worms can live 1 to 2 years.