Leeches

Serge Yu. Utevsky Serge.Yu.Utevsky at univer.kharkov.ua
Fri Apr 20 15:47:08 EST 2001


Dear Leech Farmers,

My field of expertise is the systematics of leeches but I have some 
experience in medicinal leech aquaculture.  There is the extensive 
Russian literature on breeding leeches but I suppose the most available 
and helpful article on leech aquaculture is  

R.W. Davies, N.J.McLoughlin. The effects of feeding regime on the 
growth and reproduction of the medicinal leech Hirudo medicinalis. 
Freshwater biology (1996) 36, 563-568. 
See also references in the article.  

Here is the general information which can help you to begin breeding 
leeches immediately. Leeches should be maintained in aquaria (100 c.c. 
per a leech) containing dechlorinated tap water at 20 - 25 C. Young 
leeches are fed every 20 days with homogenated fresh bovine blood 
using a bovine intestine. It is necessary to make blood sausages and to 
place them in an aquarium. Leeches are maintained singly for a months 
before the copulation and then two individuals per an aquarium during the 
copulation for a month. Medicinal leeches deposit cocoons in wet 
substrate like soil (not in water!). The best substrate for cocoon 
deposition is peat. Leeches produce much more cocoons when 
maintained singly in a container. I think this is the basic information you 
must know to breed medicinal leeches.  

If you have any further questions please let me know. I will be glad
to help you.

Sincerely,
Serge Utevsky
Dr. Serge Yu. Utevsky
Department of Zoology and Animal Ecology 
Kharkov National University 
Kharkov 61077 
UKRAINE 

<Serge.Yu.Utevsky at univer.kharkov.ua> 
<http://www.univer.kharkov.ua/main/dep/biology/zoology/sutevsk.htm> 


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