Leeches

Geoff Read g.read at niwa.cri.nz
Fri Apr 13 21:50:44 EST 2001


> I am trying to breed leeches for the Hospitals in New Zealand. Are there 
> any papers or books I can obtain that will take me right through this 
> process.  

Probably not since little is known about the NZ leech, apparently 
Richardsonianus mauianus (Benham), recently used in hospitals. There 
are some leech suppliers listed on the Annelid Resources website links 
page, but I don't know how much they would volunteer of their 
techniques. R. T. Sawyer, who runs one of those companies, has a leech 
biology book which would be useful. And there is a little book by K. H. 
Mann published in 1962 "Leeches (Hirudinea) their structure, physiology, 
ecology and embryology."   

There's an old book [1937 and reprinted later] called 'Culture methods for 
invertebrate animals', edited by Lutz and others that has a short leech 
section (I can send a xerox on request) and it mentions that "leech 
culture was elaborately described in many books published [in the 19thC] 
mostly in France. Unfortunately they may be rather difficult to obtain (let 
alone understand) today! I couldn't find much specific to breeding 
leeches in laboratory culture in the sources available online except  this 
recent paper on the medicinal leech:   

Davies, R. W., & N. Mcloughlin. 1996. The effects of feeding regime on 
the growth and reproduction of the medicinal leech Hirudo medicinalis. 
— Freshwater Biology 36:563-568.   


Irrelevant PS: The topic of leech breeding reminds me of one of those 
naughty, witty titles that New Scientist sometimes comes up with for its 
articles. This one was "Leech rides the tunnel of love", a reference to the 
fact that mating in Placobdelloides jaegerskioldi is restricted to the rectum 
of  Hippopotamus amphibius! As I recall, they did not run a closeup 
picture.  


--
Geoff Read <g.read at niwa.cri.nz>


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