Coloured SEM of the teeth of a medicinal leech

Coloured SEM of the teeth of a medicinal leech

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Credit: EYE OF SCIENCE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Leech mouth. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the mouthparts of the medicinal leech (Hirudo medicinalis). The leech feeds by sucking blood from human skin. It cuts the skin with three rows of chitinous teeth (white, two rows seen here). Their saliva contains a chemical, hirudin, which prevents blood from clotting. Typically, one leech drinks 10-15 millilitres (ml) of blood and drops off. 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. Magnification: x425 at 6x6cm size.

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Keywords: animal, bionic, bionics, blood sucker, hirudinea, hirudo medicinalis, invertebrate, invertebrates, leech, medicinal, medicinal leech, mouth, nature, parasite, sem, teeth, teeth sem, tooth, wildlife, zoology

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