Impurest's Guide to Animals #167 - T.rex Leech

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Edited By ImpurestCheese

Well it’s become quite busy as spring has sprung, the clocks creep forward and the sun begins to shine. Last week we had something to scream about when we focused on the Pharaoh Cicada, an insect that’s so elusive it only appears every seventeen years. This week we have a tyrannical dinosaurian issue, hope you guys enjoy.

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Issue #167 – T.rex

[1
[1

Kingdom – Animalia

Phylum – Annelida…

Wait!! Not more worms, yep April Fools!! Let’s start this again.

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Issue #167 - T.rex Leech

[2]
[2]

Kingdom – Animalia

Phylum – Annelida

Class – Clitelllata

Order – Hirudinea

Family – Praobdellidae

Genus – Tyrannobdella

Species – rex

Related Species -Tyrannobdella rex is currently the only member of its genus (1)

Range - So far Tyrannobdella rex has only been found in villages along the banks of the Peruvian Amazon

Tyrant Leech King

Tyrannobdella rex (whose name translates to Tyrant Leech King) is a small leech which has a girth of a centimetre and a length of about 3cm when fully grown. Like the majority of leeches, T.rex is largely aquatic, and navigates its watery home using chemical cues as well as a ring of eyes on the first (of 32 segments). Incidentally each segment of T.rex’s body contains its own brain, with the first four segments classed as the head, the next 21 classed as the mid-body which contains the stomach and reproductive organs, with the last seven segments fused together to form the leeches tail sucker and posterior brain (2).

Like several other species of leech Tyrannobdella feeds on blood fresh from a mammalian host. Unlike most species, T.rex prefers to feed internally on its host, either from inside the nose or the reproductive system of its victim, usually chewing through to the blood vessels with the eight large teeth (up to 0.13mm in length) that ring its jaw (another oddity since most leeches have three jaws). While most leeches are content to drop off their host when they’ve had their fill, T.rex will remain feeding for up to three months before vacating its host. At current the natural host of T.rex is unknown, since it has only been recorded from the noses of humans it infiltrated when they were swimming or bathing in the rivers T.rex lives in (3).

[3]
[3]

Like most leeches, Tyrannobdella rex is a hermaphrodite with each individual leech containing both male and female reproductive organs. The pair of leeches will line up against each other and shoot its mate with an injection of sperm which then travels up to the female reproductive organs of the female. Once fertilized the leeches will lay their eggs in a capsule (much like those laid by earthworms) on a plant, with the juvenile leeches emerging sometime later as miniature versions of their parents.

Five Creepy Leeches

The Giant Amazon Leech (Haementeria ghilianii) is the largest of the blood sucking leeches, with fully grown specimens as long as 45cm when fully grown accurately recorded.

Not all leeches are parasites, a large number are scavengers, and some are predators. The Kinabalu Giant Red Leech (Mimobdella buttikoferi) which can grow up to half a meter in length, is a good example of this, and feeds solely on earthworms and smaller leeches.

[4]
[4]

Not all leeches are restricted to watery habitats, a fair number of tropical species can be found in terrestrial habitats, particularly those that have a high humidity that prevent desiccation of the leech. Among these species the Tiger Leech (Haemadipsa picta), also known as the Stinging Land Leech, is the most well-known due to its relative abundance and unusually painful bite.

In addition to terrestrial leeches, there also marine leeches that live predominantly in salt water. Among these species is the Antarctic Leech (Trulliobdella captis) which feeds on fish, and is the only species that lives around the cold waters of the Falklands and the Sandwich Isles (4).

[5]
[5]

No conversation about leeches is complete without mentioning the European Medicinal Leech (Hirudo medicinallis), a species that was so readily harvested for medical practices that it is now protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). This species is sought after for medical practices due to the anticoagulant properties of the saliva, and is still used in ‘leech therapy’ to this very day.

Bibliography

1 -www.arkive.org

2 - Brian Payton (1981). Kenneth Muller; John Nicholls; Gunther Stent, eds. Neurobiology of the Leech. New York: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. pp. 35–50

3 - https://phys.org/news/2010-04-rex-leech-affinity-noses.html

4 - http://bionames.org/bionames-archive/issn/0018-0130/50/138.pdf

5 - Teiji Sota; Satoshi Yamamoto; John R. Cooley; Kathy B. R. Hill; Chris Simon; Jin Yoshimura (2013). "Independent divergence of 13- and 17-y life cycles among three periodical cicada lineages". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 110 (2): 6919–6924

Picture References

1 - https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s---oL1N5XV--/c_scale,f_auto,fl_progressive,q_80,w_800/813266302148042132.jpg

2 - https://3c1703fe8d.site.internapcdn.net/newman/gfx/news/hires/2011/anewlydiscov.jpg

3 - https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/96/Tyrannobdella_rex_teeth.png/220px-Tyrannobdella_rex_teeth.png

4 - http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/03052/Leech_3052497k.jpg

5 - http://www.hirudohorti.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Medicinal-leeches.jpg

Well that’s April Fools over for another year, and to any bdellaphobics I offer my most sincere apologies to any distress I caused you. Next week we follow an unusual mammal as it takes to the water, but until then make sure to critic, comment and suggest future issues as well as making sure you check past issues in Impurest’s Bestiary

Many Thanks

Impurest Cheese

Want more IGTA? Click here to check out this issue on the smelliest creature of the ocean the Stinky Squid. Or click here to check out when I covered alluring wood nymphs and Hamadryades.

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Emperor339

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Me after seeing title: Aww yisss, a mutherflupping T-Rex!

Me after seeing that it's actually about a leech:

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Ooohhhhhh yeah. It's a good thing I don't get skeeved out easily. These little beggers are just nasty. lol

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deactivated-5a2b0053414c5

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Lol, saw the fluffy, chicken dinosaur and was curious; then I saw the leech. Still pretty cool.

You should do one on pill bugs O: I just learned yesterday they're not even insects, but crustaceans.... felt stupid lol :T

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Green_Tea

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You really got me there Cheese, lol. But seeing the little guy was pretty cool. Do you focus on current animals and nothing prehistoric by any chance?

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Amendment50

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And here I got all excited for the chicken king of the dinosaurs.

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@emperor339: April Fools!! Thanks for the comment

@heroup2112: Not so little for one of them, but yes they are adorably terrible

@queen_marceline: Smells like a request :-). To be honest I was going to do one on pill millipedes so its been almost on the table for a while.

@solid_snake97: I generally stick to extant animals, although I did cover a dinosaur a while back

@amendment50:It's April Fool's here in the Czech Republic :-P

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amazing_webhead

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t-rex or leech. both terrifying in their own way.

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ImpurestCheese

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@amazing_webhead: Yep leeches don't swallow you whole, but then a Tyrannosaur will never lodge itself in your nose for the next three months.

@heroup2112: I guess so.

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black_wreath

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Oh that was just mean! >.<

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#12 MajinBlackheart  Moderator

I learned a great deal from this. That leech eating the other leech is one of the most bizarre things I've seen.

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Toratorn

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Okay, you got me with the fake-out. I was already getting ready for T.Rex info (the art with feathers looks interesting, btw), but then you fed me with a leech. Nice one.

The info is still interesting, thanks for that.

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sineyaprime

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Aaaaand I'm too paranoid to swim in lakes again, thanks for that.

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#16  Edited By ImpurestCheese

@black_wreath: Yeah I apologise for that

@jloneblackheart: It is quite odd I'll admit, I guess it doesn't help that the red leech has no teeth and has to swallow its victim whole

@major_hellstorm: No problem

@toratorn: Yeah it's an IGTA tradition for April Fools to go for the Fake Out. Thanks for the comment

@sineyaprime: Sorry ?

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Pipxeroth

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Leeches are the reason I carry McDonald's salt packets on me at all times lol.

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ImpurestCheese

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@pipxeroth: Salting a leech when its feeding off you is dangerous to you and the leech. Salt causes leeches to regurgitate potentially infected blood into your body. Better to coax them off by sliding something flat and blunt under their mouth and anterior suction cup. It's far more humane for both parties

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LordOfTheLight

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Nice trick. And blog :).

Are you a med student?

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Amendment50

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@impurestcheese said:

Salt causes leeches to regurgitate potentially infected blood into your body.

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#23 juiceboks  Moderator

Lol nice one. I'm actually kinda glad it turned out to be a leech, I find them fairly fascinating creatures. That Red leech in particular is quite interesting to say the least.

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That's cool

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BlueEcho

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Very cool, good 04/01 joke too.

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ImpurestCheese

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@juiceboks: Thanks, so did I, leeches are pretty cool, although the Medicinal Leech is my particular favourite, ever since I did some leevh surveys a while back

@jaycool2: Cool thanks for the comment

@blueecho: Thanks I always plan the April 1st Issue 11 months in advance

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laflux

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Leeches are cool, I was told that where more derived than Polycheates and Oligocheates (excuse spelling), which I also thought was weird. Great issue as always. (And kudos for using a feathered representation of T-Rex) :)

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@laflux: Ah cool, thanks for the comment it took me ages to decide on which fuzzy rex I was going to chose.

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#29  Edited By XLR87T3
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#36  Edited By ImpurestCheese
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deactivated-097092725

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I find leeches disturbing. Unfair, I know, but I do. April Fool's, indeed.

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@ms-lola: Personally I reaaly like them. Thanks for the comment