Most tongue worms live in the lungs of their definitive hosts, although two genera, Leiperia and Subtriquetra, inhabit the trachea and nasal sinuses respectively. At least one member of the genus Elenia infests the throats of monitor lizards. All Linguatula species live in the nasal sinuses of mammals, and Reighardia species are located in the body cavity and air sacs of their avian hosts. An intermediate host is usual in the life cycle of tongue worms. In these cases infective larvae encyst in the tissues of arthropods or vertebrates, depending on the species.

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