Leeches are segmented parasitic or predatory worms that belong to the phylum Annelida and comprise the subclass Hirudinea. They are closely related to the oligochaetes , which include the earthworm , and like them have soft, muscular, segmented bodies that can lengthen and contract. Both groups are hermaphrodites and have a clitellum , but leeches typically differ from the oligochaetes in having suckers at both ends and in having ring markings that do not correspond with their internal segmentation. The body is muscular and relatively solid, and the coelom , the spacious body cavity found in other annelids, is reduced to small channels. The majority of leeches live in freshwater habitats, while some species can be found in terrestrial and marine environments. The best-known species, such as the medicinal leech, Hirudo medicinalis , are hematophagous , attaching themselves to a host with a sucker and feeding on blood, having first secreted the peptide hirudin to prevent the blood from clotting.
The popularity of leeching has waxed and waned over the centuries but still survives today. One day in a boy known to history only as W. His mother found him suffering from fever, wracked with body aches, and fatigued.
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You'd probably look like this too if you lived exclusively in the freezing groundwater and darkness of one of the deepest caves in the world. Over the next decade, researchers from the Croatian University Mountaineering Association would descend into the winding, dipping cave systems that stretch several kilometres inside Velebit to discover a series of chambers, pits and channels, ice-cold pools and streams, and a m free-fall vertical drop - the world's deepest hole. It's like discovering the properties of some other planet, something completely different and unexpected," says one of the team, Dalibor Paar, who descended m down the hole to catch a glimpse of the bottom, dangling on a rope to take measurements of his surroundings. Each instrument is connected to a rope, otherwise it would fall down for hundreds of metres. The team, led by speleologist the study of caves , Darko Baksic, also found a handful of other cave-dwelling species, including tiny snails, terrestrial isopods, millipedes, springtails and beetles and one super-rare cave harvestman, plus a new species of strange subterranean leech, Croatobranchus mestrovi , at 1, m below the surface. That is really special," says Paar. Three colonies were eventually discovered, all within 3 km from the other, and one larger than any subterranean leech colony ever found.
The thought of an icky leech crawling on them makes most people shudder. To have this ribby, squirmy, somehow-stuck-to-you thing sucking your blood…gross! Okay, wormy things are a bit creepy. But there are other types of leeches AKA toxic people that do far worse things to you than suck your blood and fall off. There are emotional leeches, productivity leeches, and financial leeches to contend with, as well. This three-part series will give you tips on identifying and removing them. This first part covers real leeches and emotional leeches. Description: Leeches are worm-like predatory invertebrates which live in fresh water, marine water, and on land. They survive by sucking on and ingesting the nutrients from their hosts.