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The authors review the major biological, biochemical, and molecular characters that are used to distinguish the seven Trichinella species (T. spiralis, T. nativa, T. britovi, T. pseudospiralis, T. murrelli, T. nelsoni, T. papuae) and three genotypes whose taxonomic status is yet uncertain (T-6, T-8, T-9). A comparison of host specificity, morphology, reproductive abilities, nurse cell development and freeze resistance is presented, along with useful biochemical and molecular markers. Finally, this information is used to construct a diagnostic key for the species. A phylogenetic classification of the species is needed.