Such a Lovely Leech

Yesterday was quite warm and several turtles took advantage of the conditions to do a little basking. Why do they bask? In part to get rid of pesky little critters like leeches.
We have at least six different species of aquatic leeches in the millpond. I have seen them attached to turtles, frogs, submerged logs, and the occasional canoe.
This one was not actively feeding, it was just hitching a ride on the turtle's carapace. In its contracted state it was a tad wider than my thumb and about an inch and a half long. Bet it would have been impressive all stretched out. Posted by Picasa


Floridacracker said...

I have kept these in an aquarium for months with nothing for them to eat and they get smaller, but survive. It makes me wonder just how long they can go between meals.

Mr. Bloggerific Himself said...

*thinks about poor Charles Allnut*


Watchmania said...

Eeeuw. A whole lot of leeches dropped out of trees into my hair once, in the rainforest in Australia. Fortunately I have thick hair and they hadn't travelled very far before we hoiked them out. It was very gross. I know leeches are part of the ecosystem and all that, and probably they have little leechy souls and love their children, but nevertheless they are gross and they should stay out of my hair.

Mr. Bloggerific Himself said...

*feels like making hippo noises over the side of the African Queen*

Nelumbo said...

This is a great picture of the segments on the leech! I always imagined them as big blobs and didn't understand why they were classified with the segmented worms like the earthworm.

swamp4me said...

Leeches are interesting critters. I would like to learn more about them -- although it is sort of difficult at times to get the images of Humphrey Bogart covered in leeches out of my mind :)
The researcher who IDed the different species present in the Millpond works with the Smithsonian. It would be great to spend a day with him and learn to ID these annelids on my own.