Nurse using leech (Hirudo sp.) on thumb wound

Nurse using leech (Hirudo sp.) on thumb wound

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Credit: PASCAL GOETGHELUCK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Leech. Nurse using a medicinal leech (Hirudo medicinalis) to drain blood from a severely damaged thumb. A jar of leeches is seen at far right. 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. Each leech will only drink between 10 and 15 millilitres of blood in one meal, so several leeches may have to be used to drain a large amount of blood.

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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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