Smaller nerves emanate from the ganglion to supply the general body muscular and sensory ending.
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For example, vole and lemming tapeworms are only 13–240 mm (0.51–9.45 in) in length, and those parasitizing shrews only 0.8–60 mm (0.031–2.362 in).
Tapeworm parasites of vertebrates have a long history: recognizable clusters of cestode eggs, one with a developing larva, have been discovered in fossil feces (coprolites) of a shark dating to the mid- to late Permian, some 270 million years ago.
Sensory function includes both tactoreception (touch) and chemoreception (smell or taste). The body is composed of successive segments called proglottids.
The sum of the proglottids is called a strobila, which is thin, and resembles a strip of tape. Proglottids are continually produced by the neck region of the scolex, as long as the scolex is attached and alive.
The worm's head, known as a scolex, attaches to the intestine of the definitive host.
In some species, the scolex is dominated by bothria, or "sucking grooves" that function like suction cups.
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The best-known species are commonly called tapeworms.