Common Name: Fresh Water Ribbon Leech

Scientific Name: Nephelopsis obscura

 

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Annelida

Class: Hirudinea

Order: Arhynchobdellida

Family: Erpobdellidae

Genus: Nephelopsis

Species: N. obscura

The common name for Nephelopsis obscura is fresh water ribbon leech.The kingdom freshwater leeches are in is Animalia. Its phylum is Annelida. Its class is Hirudinea. Its order is Arhynchobdellida. Its family is Erpobdellidae its genus is Nphelopsis, and its species is N. Obscura. Freshwater leeches weigh up to 1.20g. Leeches are often brightly colored. They can also change their shape by stretching or shortening their muscles. Leeches are slightly flattened and have suckers at either end. The mouth has three small jaws and sharp teeth.

 

Its niche is cool fresh water. Shallow lakes, ponds, backwaters of rivers, and creek temperature. They do well in that ecosystem because they are easily found for fish to eat. They are found in North America. Their role in the food web is bait. And their position in the food chain is secondary consumer(parasites/carnivore). They are eaten by Walleye fish and some insects, larvae. When they eat, they use their suckers to attach themselves to the substance and move by looping their body. Leeches hide to evade being eaten by predators. They are very difficult to see because they look like plant stems. Most leeches are predators and scavengers. There are only a few that suck blood.

 

Leeches were once used by doctors used to heal the sick, by removing bad blood. There are over 650 species of leeches. Leeches are more abundant during the summer. What allows them to compete for food is the leech provides its brood, but it leads to sibling rivalry as the young leeches compete for food. Leeches are increasing the size and decreasing health. I could not find out what is contributing to the change? And also whom do they compete for food with?

 

have learned that leeches were used by doctors to remove bad blood. I also learned that they use their suckers to attach themselves to the substance and move by looping their body to eat. The next thing I learned was where they were found in North America and that their niche is cool fresh water. I learned that they are related to earthworms, and they usually have three jaws. I learned that leeches are grouped by the different way they fed. I also learned that some feed on the blood of humans and other mammals, while others feed on parasites, fish, frogs, turtles or birds. The thing that stood out most as I read about my animal was that they were used by doctors and that people have farms of them. And also that leeches also include treatment of black eyes, and are treated in the same way as blood products. What also stood out to me was that they can thrive for months on a single meal, and leeches do provide food for all kinds of critters. They have male and female sexual organs and leeches can only reproduce sexually.

 

Author: Kamonnie D

Published: 02/2008

 

My sources: www.library.thinkquest.org; www.kidfish.bc.ca/leech.htm; www.naturegrid.org; www.spingerlink.com; www.wikipedia.org;

 

Photo Credit: Hugh Clifford, http://bio-ditrl.sunsite.ualberta.ca/detail/?P_MNO=2819

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