Bite mark left by a medicinal leech in human skin

Bite mark left by a medicinal leech in human skin

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Credit: GEOFF TOMPKINSON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Leech bite. Bite mark left in human skin by a medicinal leech, Hirudo medicinalis. The leech cuts through the skin using three jaw-plates. This causes the skin to peel back and allow the leech to drink blood from the wound. Its saliva contains a chemical, hirudin, which prevents blood from clotting. Other chemicals in the saliva anaesthetise the wound so that the victim may be unaware that they have been bitten. The leech 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 for six months.

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Keywords: animal, bite, bite mark, bites, blood sucker, hirudinea, hirudo medicinalis, invertebrate, invertebrates, leech, medicinal, medicinal leech, nature, wildlife, zoology

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