Where Does it Live?
Leeches live mostly in fresh and salt water but can sometimes live on land. Usually, if they live on land, they live in a tropical or temperate climate. They are found mostly around South America and Asia. Very little are in cold, northern places, but they have been found in Iceland.
How Does it Feed?
Most people assume leeches rely mostly on sucking human blood. Many leeches do this, but a lot of leeches bite animals instead and some can't even bite and eat decomposed creatures. They also feed on very small invertebrates and swallow them whole.
How Does it Reproduce?
Leeches are hermaphrodites, but they still mate with another leech. The proccess involves both leeches producing multiple cocoons that have one or a small amount of eggs in them, which are protected well with layers.
What are the Hosts of Choice?
Depending on the kind, a leech will either feed on human or mammal blood, or they will eat birds, turtles, fish, frogs and even other leeches. if they eat from other leeches they have the risk of death.
Special Adaptations to Deal With its Host...
The main adaptation of a leeches is their teeth and mouth. Their mout has a suction to help suck the blood and stay connected to the host. The teeth have to be sharp enough to get through skin to recieve the blood.
In North America, most leeches are very small, especially when they are young. They range from about one centimeter to four inches. In some places, they can get up to about 20 inches when they reach adulthood.
Other Interesting Facts...
- Leeches have been used in medical cases to stop clots and draw blood.
- Leech saliva is being studied due to the belief that it may prevent blood clots.
- Leeches have 300 teeth just in one set of gums, but have several rows of gums and teeth.