[Annelida] Xerobdella lecomtei leech in climate trouble?
(by g.read from niwa.co.nz)
Sun Sep 9 17:47:22 EST 2007
There is a better report than the one below online at:
Kutschera U et al. ( 2007 ). The European land leech: biology and
DNA-based taxonomy of a rare species that is threatened by climate
warming. Naturwissenschaften ( DOI 10.1007/s00114-007-0278-3 )
The paper is dedicated to the species discoverer, naturalist Georg
Ritter von Frauenfeld (18071873), on the occasion of his 200th
News report: Climate change sucks life from rare leech
Oslo, Sept 5 Reuters
The Austrian forest habitat has dried out since the 60s contributing to
the demise of the rare European leach, Xerobdella lecomtei
A rare European leech seems to be headed toward extinction as global
warming dries out the Austrian forest home of the tiny blood-sucker,
scientists said on Wednesday.
Researchers at German and Austrian universities found only one juvenile
leech in birch forests near Graz, Austria, in searches from 2001-2005.
Scientists had found 20 specimens, up to 4cms long, in the same forests
in the 1960s.
"Recent human-induced warming may have led over past decades to the
almost complete extinction of a local population of this rare animal
species," they wrote in a study to be published in the journal
A rise in average summer temperatures in the region of 3 deg C since the
1960s, widely blamed on greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, had
apparently dried out the forests where leeches lived on moist bark and
The leeches, formally known as Xerobdella lecomtei, were first found
only in 1868 and feed on earthworms. More studies would be needed to see
if the leeches were managing to survive in a cooler, higher region.
UN studies say that the world may be facing the worst wave of
extinctions since the dinosaurs vanished 65 million years ago because of
threats such as climate change and a loss of habitats to cities, roads
The scientists said that it was a rare example of a species in trouble
even though its habitat was broadly intact. The one leech found died
after about 10 months in a laboratory.
Geoff Read <g.read from niwa.co.nz>
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