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MEDICAL BLOODSUCKER OF HIRUDO MEDICINALIS (LINNAEUS, 1758) MEDYTSYNSKAYA P'YA÷KA
Class: BLOODSUCKERS (HIRUDINEA)
Group: BESKHOBOTNY BLOODSUCKERS (ARHYNCHOBDELLIDA)
Family: MAXILLARY BLOODSUCKERS (HIRUDINIDAE)
Category of protection: II CATEGORY

International importance:
The look is included in the MSOP Red list (TUCN, LR/nt, ver. 2.3, 1994); list of the Bern convention, 1979; has the national status of protection in Lithuania (kat. VU) and Latvia (kat. DD).
 

Description:
Rather large bloodsuckers with a dense body which length can reach 12 - 20 cm. Forward end of a body narrower. Ratio of width and length of a body about 1:10. Coloring of animals is very changeable and can vary from brown to green tones. The belly and back side of a body is framed oranzhevato - a yellow strip. Besides, on the back party is available two more longitudinal oranzhevo - motley strips. On the forward end of a body there are 5 pairs of eyes located an arch, not always well noticeable. The large back sucker on diameter exceeds a half of max. width of a body. The small anus is located on the back party slightly above a back sucker.

Rasprostraniyeniye:
Palearktiki's endemic. Lives in reservoirs of all yuzh. Europe, and also sowing. Africa and zap. Asia. In Belarus meets in reservoirs yuzh. and zap. Woodlands where there takes place sowing. border of an area of this thermophilic look.

Habitats:
Prefers the small and superficial, well warmed up reservoirs with dense vegetation.

Biology:
Hermaphrodite. Breeds sexually. Fertilization - internal. Oosperms are packed in ryzhevato - a gray cocoon which bloodsuckers, creeping out on the coast, postpone in damp soil of a coastal strip. Both amount of eggs in a cocoon (10 - 25), and the number formed by one individual of cocoons (1 - 4) are defined by trophic conditions during growth and puberty. In the nature of a bloodsucker eat blood of cold blooded (frogs) and warm-blooded animals who live in a reservoir or visit it for a watering place or hunting. At various power supplies of a bloodsucker grow quicker and ripen, and breed more effectively. Medical bloodsuckers need about 3 years for achievement of puberty. Special albumen - girudin which arrives at a sting of a bloodsucker from her salivary glands, interferes with fibrillation at the victim. It allows to keep blood in a stomach of a predator and to use it for requirements of the growing organism to a meeting with the following victim. Unique ability of a medical bloodsucker to produce the substances diluting blood within many centuries allowed to use these animals for treatment of patients with a high pressure, thrombophlebitis, a stroke and other diseases.

Number and tendency of its change:
To estimate number very difficult as these animals are very mobile and sensitive to sounds, temperature, the water movement. In attempt of the person to enter water and the more so movements in a reservoir, bloodsuckers try to attack the potential victim. For reservoirs of Polesia the indirect assessment can be close to 1 - 3 piece/sq.m.

Major factors of threat:
The pollution of reservoirs which is followed by deterioration in their gas mode. Industrial fishing of animals for sale.

Protection measures:
In the territory of Belarus it is necessary to carry out special work on inventory of reservoirs in which there live medical bloodsuckers and to develop system of security actions. In the future such reservoirs can be used as uterine for receiving initial material at industrial cultivation of animals for the medical and pharmacological purposes.

Article from the Red List of RB


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