A large scale investigation on trypanorhynch cestode infestation of tropical marine fishes was carried out along the Northeast Brazilian coast in the summer of 1991 and 1993. A total of 798 fish specimens belonging to 57 species and 30 families were examined. Metacestodes of 11 different trypanorhynchs were found: Callitetrarhynchus gracilis, Dasyrhynchus giganteus, Grillotia sp., Nybelinia edwinlintoni, N. indica, N. senegalensis, Nybelinia c.f. lingualis, Otobothrium cysticum, Pseudolacistorhynchus noodti, Pseudotobothrium dipsacum and Pterobothrium kingstoni. Scanning electron microscopy was used to clarify details of the tentacular armature of some species. Rose-thorn shaped hooklets, regularly arranged like microtriches, are described from the bothridial surface of N. edwinlintoni. Of the 57 fish species, 15 harboured trypanorhynch cestodes. Of these the mullid Pseudupeneus maculatus was the most heavily infested fish species, harbouring 5 different trypanorhynch species. P. noodti in P. maculatus had the highest prevalence (87%) and intensity (maximum = 63) of infestation. C. gracilis was the parasite with the lowest host-specificity. It could be isolated from 10 fish species. The cestode fauna of the Northeast Brazilian coast appears to be similar to that of the West African coast. Five of the trypanorhynch cestodes found during this study are common to both localities. The two single cases of intra musculature infestation in Citharichthys spilopterus and Haemulon aurolineatum by trypanorhynch cestodes indicate that marketability of the investigated commercially exploited fish species is inconsequential.