Common Name: Great Amazon Leech

Scientific Name: Haementeria ghilianii

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Annelida

Class: Hirudinea

Order: Rhynchobdellida

Family: Glossiphonphoniidae

Genus: Haementeria

Species: H. ghilianii

The animal I did research on is the Great Amazon Leech. It is quite interesting. The sizes of these are quite big. They are usually 11.8 in (30 cm) long and 3.93 in (10 cm) wide. Adults appear simply a dark gray-brown in color, though younger ones have a dorsal median broken stripe. Many leeches have special adaptations for blood feeding. The muscular caudal sucker is made up of the last seven segments of the segmented body. The sucker is to attach and to remain on the host to feed on their blood.

 

The Great Amazon Leech is the largest freshwater leech. They are flattened and shaped like a lance with a large caudal sucker. You can find these leeches in parts of the world like Europe, Africa, North America and South America. This is where you can mostly find them. They live in these parts of the world because of the freshwater ecosystem.

 

Their caudal sucker allows them to compete for food. They don’t compete with anyone for food. They don’t because they attach to an organism and then suck their blood for energy as food for them. What I learned about the Great Amazon leech is that they are leeches that are blood-suckers and they mostly live in freshwater environments.

 

Something else I learned was that doctors use leeches in hospitals to help people re-attach limbs like fingers, noses, and ears. They are used in plastic surgery and in reconstructive surgery.

  

Author: Andrea H

Published: 02/2008

 

Photo Credit: http://zbio.net/pictures/leech_s.jpg

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