Background: Schistocephalus solidus is a well-established model organism for studying the complex life cycle of cestodes and the mechanisms underlying host-parasite interactions. However, very few large-scale genetic resources for this species are available. We have sequenced and de novo-assembled the transcriptome of S. solidus using tissues from whole worms at three key developmental states - non-infective plerocercoid, infective plerocercoid and adult plerocercoid - to provide a resource for studying the evolution of complex life cycles and, more specifically, how parasites modulate their interactions with their hosts during development. Findings: The de novo transcriptome assembly reconstructed the coding sequence of 10,285 high-confidence unigenes from which 24,765 non-redundant transcripts were derived. 7,920 (77 %) of these unigenes were annotated with a protein name and 7,323 (71 %) were assigned at least one Gene Ontology term. Our raw transcriptome assembly (unfiltered transcripts) covers 92 % of the predicted transcriptome derived from the S. solidus draft genome assembly currently available on WormBase. It also provides new ecological information and orthology relationships to further annotate the current WormBase transcriptome and genome. Conclusion: This large-scale transcriptomic dataset provides a foundation for studies on how parasitic species with complex life cycles modulate their response to changes in biotic and abiotic conditions experienced inside their various hosts, which is a fundamental objective of parasitology. Furthermore, this resource will help in the validation of the S solidus gene features that have been predicted based on genomic sequence.