Blood Sucking Leech With 3 Jaws Identified From DC Area Swamp

Alright, get ready to be mildly grossed out.

A blood sucking leech with 3 jaws and 59 teeth was discovered in a Maryland swamp in 2015 and is now being identified as macrobdella mimicus, the first medicinal leech to be discovered in North America in over 40 years. According to the Smithsonian, it is "olive-green worm with an orange belly. Reddish orange dots within spots of darker green line its back. Each end sports a suction-cup – one of which has sharp teeth designed to bite an unsuspecting host."

Even though the leech was actually discovered 4 years ago, scientists originally thought that they found a macrobdella decora, but "different signatures in parts of their DNA" prompted the team to take another look at it and they therefore identified it as a new kind of leech. Oh, and the DMV apparently isn't the only place it resides. Research from Smithsonian research zoologist Anna Phillips suggests that the leech's residence spans from Northern Virginia up to Long Island, NY. Read more about it here.

 

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