Medicinal leech sucking blood from human skin

Medicinal leech sucking blood from human skin

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Caption: Leech. Medicinal leech, Hirudo medicinalis, feeds by sucking blood from human skin. The leech cuts through the skin using three jaw-plates like a circular saw. Its saliva contains a chemical, hirudin, which prevents blood from clotting. It drinks 10-15 millilitres (ml) of blood and drops off; a further 20-50 ml drips from the wound after the feeding. A single large meal of blood will feed a leech six months. Leeches were once used to treat illnesses attributed to an excess of blood. In modern medicine they are used for dissolving or draining accumulated blood (a haematoma) and for drawing blood into transplanted tissue until circulation is established.

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Keywords: animal, blood sucker, haematoma, hirudinea, hirudo medicinalis, invertebrate, invertebrates, leech, leech treatment, medicinal, medicinal leech, nature, parasite, wildlife, zoology

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