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Tiger Leech Facts

TAXONOMY

Haemadipsa picta Moore, 1929.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Jungle leech; terrestrial leech.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Pale brownish or orange physique with a distinguished paramedial pair of darkish stripes of pigmentation on dorsum and irregular chain-link patterns medially. In its unfed state, it's usually 0.39–0.78 in (1–2 cm) in size and 0.16–0.19 in (4–5 mm) in width. When the leech is foraging and prolonged, cephalic somites kind an apparent piriform (pear-shaped) form like the top of a snake. Parabolic arc of 10 cephalic eyes organized in 5 pairs. Three jaws in pharynx with positive denticles. Respiratory slits (auricles) are placed alongside the perimeters close to the caudal sucker.

DISTRIBUTION

Malesian subregion from southern Burma and southern China so far as Sumatra and Borneo.

HABITAT

Terrestrial in rainforests, particularly in leaf litter.

BEHAVIOR

Though poorly understood, the organism’s foraging is assumed to contain a superb capability to reply to motion as detected by its 10 eyespots, in addition to the detection of carbon dioxide given off by close by hosts. Mechanoreceptors on the pores and skin of these leeches enable them to pursue actions on land comparable to footsteps. They transfer fairly quickly over surfaces in an inchworm fashion.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Haemadipsids just like the tiger leech forage on the bottom, alongside the branches and leaves of underbrush and different uncovered surfaces. They connect themselves to these surfaces by their bigger caudal sucker and prolong their our bodies up or out, with the oral sucker prepared to connect to a passing host. Though this species most likely subsists on frogs, any passing mammal will serve for an acceptable blood meal. Following a rainstorm, these leeches might quantity within the a whole lot alongside trails and on brush; they are often fairly oppressive to people within the area.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Mating takes place by means of gonopore-to-gonopore copulation. The eggs are laid in clitellar secretions surrounding the physique, that are then slipped over the top to kind a protecting egg case or cocoon left beneath leaf litter. Development is direct.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not listed by the IUCN. Not sufficient is understood in regards to the inhabitants dimension of this leech. The tiger leech exists solely in endemic rainforests, nonetheless, all of that are beneath grave risk within the areas the place this species is discovered.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Where they happen, jungle leeches are among the many most self-assertive and omnipresent components of a rainforest. Although it's unlikely that anybody would bleed to dying from the handfuls of leeches that discover their method into socks or beneath shirts and trousers, many have been pushed to distraction by their tenacity, the lack to escape their attentions, or the itchy welts that will come up from their bites. Occasionally featured in movement footage (e.g., Apocalypse Now).