Leech (Hirudo medicinalis) on injured thumb

Leech (Hirudo medicinalis) on injured thumb

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Credit: PASCAL GOETGHELUCK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Leech. Nurse's gloved hands using a medicinal leech (Hirudo medicinalis) to drain blood from a severely damaged thumb. Leeches are parasites which feed on blood. They are used in modern medicine to drain haematomas (accumulations of blood). Their saliva contains hirudin, a chemical which prevents the blood from clotting. A leech may drink between 10 and 15 millilitres of blood in one meal, which will feed it for months.

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Keywords: animal, blood sucker, hand, hirudinea, hirudo medicinalis, injury, invertebrate, invertebrates, leech, medical use, medicinal, medicinal leech, nature, nurse, nurse using, thumb, wildlife, wound use, zoology

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