Leeches: what are they like in different parts of the world? (7 photos)

Category: Nature, PEGI 0+
21 June 2024

What do you know about leeches? Most will say that they drink blood, live in swamps and appear to be worms. Not that much, it turns out. Also, 2 out of 3 statements are crude generalizations that discredit the noble image of these animals!

Hello! You are so delicious! That would have eaten you.

Let's start with the truth: the fact that leeches are worms. Just like the rain ones that you compassionately transfer from the asphalt to the ground after a rainstorm. If you look at a leech point-blank, you will find that it seems to be assembled from longitudinal rings. In addition to hoops throughout the body, they are similar to earthworms in their relatively developed nervous system and structural features of the muscles.

In the photo, the Amazonian clepsin is the world's largest leech from South America. They also drink blood. Locals say that a flock of these leeches can eat a cow in a few hours.

And leeches live almost everywhere where there is water. Overgrown lakes, fast rivers and forest streams - leeches are found all over the world. And even in the World Waters! The family of fish leeches has completely moved to the ocean and feels great there.

Sea leeches are usually small. Often of bizarre shapes and colors.

But the most interesting thing is that leeches can be found outside the water. Many species are also found on land. The false horse leech, for example, is regularly found under stones and wet moss tens of meters from the nearest bodies of water. Here the leeches sit in ambush, waiting for prey.

The false horse leech can be found throughout our country, except for the far north. They live in bodies of water, but sometimes they go for a walk along the shore. Their jaws are very weak against our skin, so they are relatively safe for humans.

Unlike the usual medicinal leeches, serve meat to false horse leeches. The victims of these large, up to 10 centimeters in length, worms include small snails, woodlice, ticks and insects. But they especially love to eat fellow earthworms. Due to the fact that predator and prey are two vermicelli, the false horse leech is simply put on an earthworm, like a stocking on a leg.

But in the humid forests of Southeast Asia there live many true land leeches, which pose a real danger to humans, since they are adapted specifically for blood vampirism in mammals.

If this picture horrifies you, I have more news for you. She is far from alone in being a predator. Among all leeches, 3/4 of the species became bloodsuckers. But 1/4 honestly get their prey by classic hunting! This is how the Kinabalu leech grew up on a diet of protein spaghetti. One of the largest in the world.

*sound of spaghetti being sucked*

The Kinabalu giant leech is terrifyingly large - up to 70 centimeters in length. It doesn’t even go into the water - it lives in wet moss on the slopes of Mount Kinabalu, Borneo. And, fortunately for people, it is not at all dangerous. Its prey is the equally huge worms that live in this region.

Oh no, the smoked sausage is trying to escape.

I hope you not only learned more about leeches, but also realized that you don’t need to paint everyone with the same brush! Yes, many leeches are parasites and parasites, but even among this dubious company there are wonderful animals that exterminate insects and ticks harmful to humans.

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