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Leech - Theromyzon tessulatum
(Protoclepsis tessellata)

Family - Annelida
Also known as - Duck Leech

A small freshwater gelatinous annelid, green to olive green in colour, redder if engorged, a freshwater leech species with six rows of small yellow spots, and four pairs of rudimentary eyes, they up to 60mm (2.4in) long, commonly feeding on dabbling ducks (Mallard) and other water birds entering the nasal cavities and throat.  This can cause conjunctivitis, bleeding or brain damage.  Found in fresh water except fast flowing streams, it is a common species in the UK and western Europe.  Using a pair of binoculars you might see ducks with Leeches protruding from the nasal cavity, especially birds seen vigorously shaking their heads, scratching their bills or sneezing.

Duck Leech - Theromyzon tessulatum (Protoclepsis tasselata), click for a larger image Duck Leech - Theromyzon tessulatum (Protoclepsis tasselata), click for a larger image Duck Leech - Theromyzon tessulatum (Protoclepsis tasselata), click for a larger image
Three photos above ©2005 Click any photo for a larger image
Duck Leech - Theromyzon tessulatum (Protoclepsis tasselata), click for a larger image Duck Leech - Theromyzon tessulatum (Protoclepsis tasselata), click for a larger image Duck Leech - Theromyzon tessulatum (Protoclepsis tasselata), click for a larger image
Click any photo for a larger imageThree photos above ©2018

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