Hirudo medicinalis samples

Peter Trontelj peter.trontelj at Uni-Lj.si
Thu Jul 13 16:58:26 EST 2000

Dear colleagues,

The natural distribution of the medicinal leech (Hirudo medicinalis) has 
been heavily influenced by human activities including collecting and 
breeding for medical purposes in the past centuries, and, more recently, 
habitat destruction. A recent systematic revision has shown that there are 
probably at least two species commonly mentioned under the name H. 
medicinalis. Both have been used for medical purposes. I am trying to 
establish their systematic relationships and their phylogeographic pattern 
throughout Europe. I am also interested in the genetic structure of 
populations and questions like 'which parts of the current range have been 
occupied naturally, and which with the help of man?', 'where do the 
artificially bred leeches originate from?' I intend to study microsatellite DNA 
(I have already developed some markers) and maybe mitochondrial DNA.  

I would greatly appreciate receiving medicinal leech specimens from 
anywhere in Europe. Cultured animals are also welcome, provided their 
geographic origin is known. About ten specimens per population would 
suffice. Please note that for genetic analysis the animals are best if freshly 
fixed in ethanol abs. or 96 %.  

Thanks in advance for your help,


Peter Trontelj
Dept. of Biology
University of Ljubljana
P.O. box 2995
SI-1001 Ljubljana

phone:  +386 1 4233388
fax:    +386 1 2573390
e-mail: peter.trontelj at uni-lj.si

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