The development of the monogenean Diplozoon (Nordmann, 1832) (Diplozoidae) necessitates fusion of two larval stages (diporpae) into one double organism. How diporpae find, distinguish and contact each other is unclear, nor is the nature of the stimuli responsible for the dedifferentiation of cells and the formation of new tissues at the site of somatic fusion. Previous studies have implied a role for carbohydrates and glycoproteins in the interactions between helminth parasites and their hosts. Hypothetically, glycoconjugates may also be involved in the establishment of parasite–parasite associations. Changes in the surface saccharide residues during the development of Eudiplozoon nipponicum, a gill ectoparasite of carp (Cyprinus carpio) are described. Flat-fixed specimens and sections of diporpae, juveniles (just-fused) and adult worms were examined following exposure to a panel of 12 FITC-conjugated lectins. All developmental stages exhibited a specific surface binding pattern with ten lectins, indicating that Man/Glc, GlcNAc, Gal and GalNAc are probably present on their surfaces. No reaction was observed with Fuc-specific lectins (UEA-I and LTA). There is evidence that parasite development is accompanied by both qualitative and quantitative changes in the saccharide pattern distribution. The diporpa sucker reacted with nine lectins, excluding BS-II. A very strong binding of PNA, LCA and ConA (Gal and Man/Glc-specific lectins) was observed with the papilla glands of juvenile worms. The role of glandular secretions in this unique fusion process is discussed.