Apr 6, 2009

Long-lived Leech

I'm having a hard time digging up much detail on Pontobdella muricata linnaeus, a marine leech. But it's looking like they feed of the gills of their hosts, and once engorged with blood, they politely disengage and drift away. One source says they can then go upwards of 18 months without feeding again.

I'm not happy with the existence of such long-lived leeches, though I have no idea how long leeches live in general. But there's some silver lining to be found in the fact that they don't need to feed that often. That must be some consolation to their oceanic hosts.

Thanks for the link, Ida.

Photo source: IMARES via World Register of Marine Species,


Laura said...

If you need further consoling, from what I have been able to discover (in a dedicated search on the web), leeches can't transmit diseases from their other victims' blood like mosquitos can.
Fine- maybe it's not that comforting. But at least it doesn't make them seem worse. ;)

Anonymous said...

Just how long do they live that is so disconcerting?

Raging Wombat said...

Anything over 24 hours is disconcerting to me.

LisaL said...

It looks like that thing from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. That thing that they put in to the ear and it translates everything.