Scary New Leech Species

A small but terrifying new species of leech roams the Amazon basin. Tyrannobdella rex seeks out animal orifices to enter and attach itself inside, in order to suck the victim's blood. The case of a 9-year-old girl in Peru with a leech in her nasal cavity brought the creature to the attention of doctors and researchers. Three years later, earlier cases have been confirmed and a report has been published in the journal PLoS ONE.
"We named it Tyrannobdella rex because of its enormous teeth," said researcher Mark Siddall, curator in the division of invertebrate zoology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Although its teeth only reach up to 130 microns high — a little more than the width of a human hair — "that's at least five times as high as that of other leeches," Siddall said. "And every one of the people who were found with these in the clinical cases had a frontal headache. Their teeth are big, and these things hurt."

Link -via Unique Daily

(image credit: Anna J. Phillips et al., PLoS ONE)

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