As a hermaphrodite, it reproduces by self-fertilisation, or cross-fertilisation if gametes are exchanged between two different proglottids. Spermatozoa fuse with the ova in the fertilisation duct, where the zygotes are produced. The zygote undergoes holoblastic and unequal cleavage resulting in three cell types, small, medium and large (micromeres, mesomeres, megameres). Megameres develop into a syncytial layer, the outer embryonic membrane; mesomeres into the radially striated inner embryonic membrane or embryophore; micromeres become the morula. The morula transforms into a six-hooked embryo known as an oncosphere, or hexacanth ("six hooked") larva.
Adult T. solium is a triploblastic acoelomate, having no body cavity. It is normally 2 to 3 m in length, but can become much larger, sometimes over 8 m long.
The life cycle of T. solium is indirect as it passes through pigs, as intermediate hosts, into humans, as definitive hosts. In humans the infection can be relatively short or long lasting, and in the latter case if reaching the brain can last for life. From humans, the eggs are released in the environment where they await ingestion by another host. In the secondary host, the eggs develop into oncospheres which bore through the intestinal wall and migrate to other parts of the body where the cysticerci form. The cysticerci can survive for several years in the animal.
Throughout the world and is most common in countries where pork is eaten. It is a tapeworm that uses humans as its definitive host and pigs as the intermediate or secondary hosts. It is transmitted to pigs through human feces that contain the parasite eggs and contaminate their fodder. Pigs ingest the eggs, which develop into larvae, then into oncospheres, and ultimately into infective tapeworm cysts, called cysticercus. Humans acquire the cysts through consumption of uncooked or under-cooked pork and the cysts grow into an adult worms in the small intestine.