The Medicinal Leech


When you think of leeches, several things may come to mind. Like in Rob Reiner's 1986 movie, Stand by Me, when the boys walk through the murky waters to cross the other side, they emerge only to realize that dozens of 
leeches attached to their skin for a bite to eat. Frightened beyond belief, they hastily rip off the slimy leeches, and aren't relieved until the very last one is gone. Yes, for most people, leeches are seen as gross, slimy vampires- a worst nightmare for anyone  who decides to swim in a river. But is there a good side to these creatures? As it turns out, YES! For thousands of  years leeches have been used for therapeutic purposes and even with today's arsenal of high-tech medical equipment, the leech is still being used.
                  Hirudo Medicinalis at at New Forest Pool. Courtesy of Ian Boyd

This website explores one particular leech species that is widely used in the medical setting--Hirudio medicinalis. Navigate through the pages and explore the information on  classification, habitat, adaptation,  reproduction, nutrition, and the medicinal use of this leech.

Hirudo medicinalis on peat moss.  Photo courtesy of Atli Arnarson.
Hirudo medicinalis on peat moss.  Photo courtesy of Atli Arnarson.

                                               Lets get started! Click HERE to learn about the classification of Hirudo medicinalis

                                            Click Here to learn about the author of this website

Click on the link below to visit the University of La Crosse website Click on the link below to see other organism websites made by UW-L students at
Click here to visit the University of La Crosse website! Click here to see other organisms made by UW-L students