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leeches

Leeches
Image: iStockphoto.com/szefei

Leeches

For centuries, medical practitioners (often the local barber) applied leeches to patients’ skin to cure ailments. These bloodsucking worms attach themselves and inject an anticoagulant to get the blood to flow. They can consume up to 8 times their weight in blood.

As medicine modernized, leeches fell out of favor. But now they’re back, helping to control post-surgical swelling.

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Bloody Suckers: Once Bitten

Bloody Suckers: Once Bitten

Science filmmaker Mark Ferns let a vampire bat, a chipo bug, and a leech bite him and consume his blood — talk about dedication! More...

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NATURE/PBS
How to Remove a Leech

How to Remove a Leech

What would you do if a leech attached to your arm or leg? Here are handy tips for removing one of the creepy bloodsuckers, which exist around the world on land or in the water. More...

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wildmadagascar.org
Leeches Cure

Leeches Cure

Leeches play a prominent role in the traditional Indian medical system known as Ayurveda. Watch Ayurvedic doctors deploy their annelid assistants and explain the benefits. More...

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National Geographic
Leeches in Reconstructive Surgery

Leeches in Reconstructive Surgery

If you can just look past the leech’s creepy, crawly appearance, you’ll find a creature known to promote healing in post-surgical patients. Just what the doctor ordered! More...

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Hunt for the Giant Leech

Hunt for the Giant Leech

Critters tend to grow big in the Amazon, including the leeches. By the time you click through these images, you’ll know everything you need to know about the Amazonian giant leech. More...

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NOVA/PBS
Leech with Enormous Teeth Discovered

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There’s a new T. rex to worry about. A leech with teeth, discovered in Peru, has been named Tyrannobdella rex for its enormous choppers. Find out more! More...

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Leeches Spill Guts about Elusive Mammals

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The contents of a leech’s gut can give clues to the existence of rare mammals. Who knew? Danish scientists did. More...

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Leeches: Expert Q&A

Leeches: Expert Q&A

Leech expert Mark Siddell leaves no leech unstuck…errr…no stone unturned in his answers to a long list of leech questions from curious minds all over North America. More...

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NOVA/PBS
Mark Siddall: Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers

Mark Siddall: Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers

The Leechman Cometh: Mark Siddell, Curator and Professor of Invertebrate Zoology at the American Museum of Natural History, is the planet's go-to guy on leech matters. Check out his videos and blog here. More...

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NOVA/PBS

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