Common Name:Leech

Scientific Name: Helobdella stagnalis

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Annelida

Class: Clitellata

Order: Rhynchobdellida

Family: Glossiphoniidae

Genus: Helobdella

Species: H. stagnalis

Have you ever heard of a helobdella stagnalis? I’m sure most of you haven’t. It is a bloodsucking leech in kingdom Animalia. It lives in fresh water. It’s really cool to learn about. They are a big help to our environment. In fact, while most leeches are blood-sucking, some leeches feed on soft invertebrates for food. In the neck of this leech, a dark spot is visible and science doesn’t know what it is. Anyways, back to eating. How do they suck blood? Well, all they do is use their proboscis that comes out of the mouth and sucks it up into their mouth. This is a very different way than most invertebrates feed or eat.

 

The reproductive system of a helobdella stagnalis takes about 4 months for the sperm to be produced. (leeches produce sexually, not asexually.) Gametogenesis takes place in the winter and takes longer to produce. In the spring it only takes about six weeks for gamesomeness to take place and produce the baby leech.

 

The helobdella stagnalis overall is amazing. At first, you hear the words “bloodsucking leech” and think the word “disgusting”. However, to take the time to learn about these animals is not a waste of time. The helobdella stagnalis is not just a bloodsucking leech. It is really great.

 

Author: Elayna D

Published: 02/2008

 

Sources: Gillis, Rick, and Roger H. Haro. "Leech 1." 2 July 2002. 20 Jan. 2008 http://bioweb.uwlax.edu/zoolab/Table_of_Contents/Lab-6b/Leech_1/leech_1.htm. "Helobdella Stagnalis." Zipcode Zoo. 6 Feb. 2008. 20 Jan. 2008 http://zipcodezoo.com/Animals/H/Helobdella_stagnalis.asp. Tillman, David L., and James R. Barnes. "Freshwater Biology." Blackwell Synergy. 29 May 2006. 25 Jan. 2008 .

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