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Giant Amazonian leech facts

TAXONOMY

Haementeria ghilianii de Phillipi, 1849.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Perhaps the most important freshwater leech, this species can exceed 11.eight in (30 cm) lengthy and three.93 in (10 cm) vast. The species is dorsoventrally flattened and formed like a lance with a big caudal sucker. Adults usually seem merely darkish gray-brown in coloration, although youthful specimens have a attribute dorsal median damaged stripe and different common pigment patches on each third annulus. The somites within the head area carry one pair of eyes.

DISTRIBUTION

Found in places close to the mouth of the Amazon River, as far north as Venezuela and all through the Guianas.

HABITAT

Coastal wetland marshes.

BEHAVIOR

A succesful swimmer, this species is extra usually discovered on the underside of submerged rocks or particles the place it hides whereas digesting a blood meal or brooding younger.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Often discovered feeding on launched cattle, this species in any other case feeds on endemic amphibians when younger and on such native aquatic vertebrates as caimans, anaconda, and capybara. This leech feeds by inserting a muscular proboscis into the tissues of the host from which vascular blood is then pumped into its gastric pouches.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Mating is carried out by traumatic insemination of spermatophores into the integument (skin-like protecting) of a recipient leech. Fertilized eggs are deposited on the underside of the mum or dad and brooded till they hatch. The younger are then carried to their first blood meal by the mum or dad leech.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not listed by the IUCN. Although this leech is tough to discover, it isn't protected in any manner.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

The anticoagulant compound hementin, remoted from the salivary secretions of the large Amazonian leech, is able to breaking down a blood clot after it has fashioned. Hementin could also be helpful in medical remedy if it doesn't set off allergic reactions from the affected person’s immune system throughout power use. Another anticoagulant compound often called tridegin has additionally been remoted from the secretions of H. ghilianii.