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Hippopotamus Leech Facts

TAXONOMY

Placobdelloides jaegerskioeldi Johansson, 1909.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Dorsoventrally flattened and formed like a lance with a big caudal sucker. Adults have a tough physique floor due to the presence of huge numbers of tubercles (small nodules). Color is boring brown to gentle grey with orange ringlets organized in transverse rows. The somites within the head area carry one pair of eyes.

DISTRIBUTION

Found all through sub-Saharan Africa wherever there are hippopotami.

HABITAT

In swimming pools and pans frequented by hippos; specifically, contained in the rectum of the animals themselves.

BEHAVIOR

Very sluggish, not a powerful swimmer. Movement is generally by alternate use of suckers.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

This species is the one leech that's particular to a mammalian host. It feeds by inserting its proboscis into the rectal tissues of a hippopotamus, the place it feeds to the purpose of fullness and mates with different leeches.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Mating is carried out by traumatic insemination of spermatophores into the integument of a recipient leech. Fertilized eggs are deposited on the underside of the mother or father and brooded till they hatch. Brooding is believed to happen outside the hippopotamus host. The younger are then carried to their first meal within the rectum of the following hippopotamus by the mother or father.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not listed by the IUCN.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

So far this species is poorly studied however might show attention-grabbing to medical researchers in gentle of its being particularly tailored to counteract the mammalian blood clotting system.