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13 Mar 2021

Horse leech

A few weeks ago, after heavy rain and flooding in the front garden, I found what I first thought was a New Zealand Flatworm in the front lawn. Further investigation and some advice from several friends suggested it was actually a Horse Leech (haemopis sanguisuga). A new species for me and a new one for the garden.They don't feed on horses although there is anecdotal evidence of them getting up the nostrils of animals drinking from the water courses they live in.

They'll move onto land to search for earthworms they they ingest but will also feed on midge larvae and other small aquatic invertebrates. 

They're widespread throughout the UK but under recorded. They're hermaphroditic and each leech becomes impregnated at the same time when they mate.

Incredible creatures and a real surprise to find in our garden! 



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