RAUK - Archived Forum - big leeches

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big leeches:

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will
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Joined: 27 Feb 2007
No. of posts: 330


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Posted: 12 Jul 2009
Can anyone ID these leeches for me please ?  seen in the Lake District a few weeks ago, indulging in a feeding / mating frenzy actually outside the water on the muddy bank of the pond.  About 12cm long when extended, around 6cm normally.  I'm thinking probably horse leech, but never seen ones quite so big and so well marked.  Cheers, Will





dave fixx
Senior Member
Joined: 13 Mar 2007
No. of posts: 319


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Posted: 12 Jul 2009
I can offer no help sorry Will but they look like those graboid things from the film Tremors to me.
Dave Williams
davewilliamsphotography.co.uk
Chris Monk
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Joined: 21 Apr 2004
No. of posts: 157


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Posted: 12 Jul 2009
I'm no expert on leeches but they look like horse leeches. Some of the ponds near here have very high populations and doing a torchlight survey for newts you just find large numbers of leeches swimming across the water at the surface.
Only the other week we were discussing finding horse leeches in the evening out in wet grass near ponds and streams obviously moving some distance from the water.
Chris
Derbyshire Amphibian & Reptile Group
www.derbyshirearg.co.uk
will
Senior Member
Joined: 27 Feb 2007
No. of posts: 330


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Posted: 12 Jul 2009
Cheers Guys; I'll go for graboid horse leeches !
Suzi
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Joined: 06 Apr 2005
No. of posts: 860


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Posted: 12 Jul 2009

Considering we spent so much time in the summer swimming in Lake Windermere as kids I only saw one leech and that attached to a friend's leg. It was the size of these mentioned here. I think I've mentioned here before though how they would get in amongst our minnows which we stored in a large biscuit tin full of small holes in the lake for us to return to the next day to fish with. Sometimes the minnows (all of them) had been sucked empty by leeches. Grim.

In my tiny East Devon pond I have them, but I don't know how many. The first one I saw swim across the pond and recently when scooping duckweed out and putting it on the pond edge one immediately freed itself of the weed and shot back into the pond. I was amazed at how quickly it got back in. It was a smaller leech than those here.


Suz
AGILIS
Senior Member
Joined: 27 Feb 2007
No. of posts: 694


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Posted: 12 Jul 2009
I think leeches are now protected suckers and you aint allowed to stub your fags out on them if they get you otherwise you will be commiting two offences cruelty to leeches and smoking in public
   LOCAL ICYNICAL CELTIC ECO WARRIOR AND FAILED DRUID
-LAF
Senior Member
Joined: 03 Apr 2003
No. of posts: 317


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Posted: 12 Jul 2009
Horse leeches. Harmless little critters that simply swallow
soft bodied prey whole. Not blood suckers. They LOVE
earthworms...
Lee Fairclough
-LAF
Senior Member
Joined: 03 Apr 2003
No. of posts: 317


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Posted: 12 Jul 2009
It's worth noting that if a leech attaches itself to you in
this country it's the medicinal leech, Hirudo
medicinalis
, which is now very rare in the UK, is a BAP
list species and is well worth submitting a recording for
to the county recorders. Only a few populations are known
to be left but there may well be many others that were
previously unknown.
Lee Fairclough
will
Senior Member
Joined: 27 Feb 2007
No. of posts: 330


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Posted: 12 Jul 2009
Cheers Lee

I never knew they could get so big - pity the poor tadpoles which were in the pond !  Am I right that a species of leech similar in size to the medicinal leech has been found in the Lake District ? seem to remember reading this somewhere.

Chris Monk
Senior Member
Joined: 21 Apr 2004
No. of posts: 157


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Posted: 17 Jul 2009
Can Leeches Fly ?
That's the topic on Jeremy Biggs (Director of Research at Pond Conservation) Garden Pond Blog, with his posting today (17 July) about how two horse leeches have suddenly turned up in his newly created wildlife pond. Contacting an expert, he confirms what Lee says above that they love earthworms and leave the water to hunt for them. Read about it on http://thegardenpondblog.org.uk/

Chris
Derbyshire Amphibian & Reptile Group
www.derbyshirearg.co.uk
AGILIS
Senior Member
Joined: 27 Feb 2007
No. of posts: 694


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Posted: 18 Aug 2009
some of our most protected leeches are now losing their immunity in the house of parliment
   LOCAL ICYNICAL CELTIC ECO WARRIOR AND FAILED DRUID
Baby Sue
Senior Member
Joined: 19 Feb 2008
No. of posts: 412


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Posted: 14 Dec 2010
My God they're scary!
I wanted presents from lots of you. Snot fair that Ben Rigsby was the only one to send me Xmas & birthday presents.
Scale
Senior Member
Joined: 05 Dec 2010
No. of posts: 83


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Posted: 01 Feb 2011
When i was a young snipe i caught a huge Horse Leech on
an earthworm whilst fishing at my local lake. It had
managed to swallow my entire lobworm and hook. Until this
day i had never realised that earthworms were a
gastronomic preference of theirs. At another fishing
venue i watched masses of them going crazy over a scrap
of discarded bacon rind.

Which reminds me of when i was very young and found a
fully loaded H Leech squashed to a bloody pulp on a road
in Ireland. My dad reckoned that it had fallen off one of
the horses that ran traps for the tourists through the
Gap of Dunloe. I have always remembered that beached
Leech and the tick that my dad accomodated so generously
on his scrotum during that same holiday! I only heard
about that mind.

As a cub scout my mate Chris Smith got a leech on his leg
whilst swimming in the river Roden, Shropshire. This was
precisely the kind of reason i wasn't in there with him.
Arkala didn't really know what to do. Despite us telling
her to use fire she just popped it off with a stick which
caused a bit of an anticlimax to our collectively beheld,
enchanting and gruesome piece of folkloric knowledge.

Finally (before i rant on) an old school teacher of mine
swore blind that the mole on her ankle was actually a
leech's head that had been cut off and left under her
skin. We would have believed her until she proceeded to
tell us the story of being airbourne in a bus in east-
asia during a tornado. Then she witnessed a Chinese man
on a bike pedeling past her window in mid air...and she
later accused me of lying when i "borrowed" a classmate s
fossil fish after a show and tell exhibition. Mental.

Actually, looking back on it being a kid was far more
interesting.
ben rigsby
Senior Member
Joined: 27 Apr 2010
No. of posts: 337


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Posted: 01 Feb 2011
pah! these leeches are poxy.
seen far bigger at a London site -
Westminster.
and they want more than blood.
Diversity.

- big leeches

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