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Blood Sucker

Blood Sucker
Photo Information
Copyright: Chris Chafer (sandpiper2) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1906 W: 107 N: 4875] (16757)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2005-02-27
Categories: Insects
Camera: Fujifilm Finepix S5000, Fujinon 10X zoom
Exposure: f/3.2, 1/400 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Invertebrates & Fungi of the Sydney region. [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2005-03-22 17:42
Viewed: 19838
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 40
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
One of the most hated creatures of the Australian bush is the blood-sucking Australian Land Leech (Gnatbobdellida libbata). Although most species of leech are found in aquatic environments, this one has adapted to life in the moist rainforests and wet eucalypt forests of eastern Australia. When conditions are suitable (moist ground conditions), these horrible relatives of the worm come out onto bushwalking and animal tracks and wait for their victims. They do this by ‘standing’ in an upright position, clasping the ground with their posterior sucker, as per the shot on the left. Chemical sensors and vibration are used to detect an approaching host, usually native mammals or humans. As the unsuspecting victim moves past they reach over and attach themselves with their anterior sucker. Once on their victim they make their way to a suitable vein near the surface, often around the ankle, upper foot or between your toes. The land leech has two jaws and makes a V-shaped incision, blood is prevented from clotting via an anticoagulant and a histamine with improves blood flow directly into the leech. Once attached the leech with fill-up with blood, perhaps tripling its size. When satisfied they drop off the victim and find a suitable niche to digest their meal.
After a while the wound becomes itchy and this is usually the first indication that you have been bitten. The itch can continue for a day or two and a large red sore is usually all that’s evident for your blood donation. Leeches do not carry any infectious disease. The Australian Museum web site says they can grow to 200mm, but the biggest ones I’ve ever seen is 50mm. This was about 30mm long when erect. They can easily be detached by sprinkling salt onto the leech and spaying and good insect repellent around your boots and socks is usually a good enough deterrent to avoid being ‘attacked’ in the first place.

If you’d like to know more about these fascinating animals, there is a useful fact sheet at the Australian Museum site here.

I shot this threesome on the ring track which goes around the mid point of Mt. Keira, a really beautiful walk with varied habitat, including rainforest.
Cropped, levels, 50%USM compilled in Photoshop and resized for TN.

milloup, marhowie, scottevers7, cantorboi, sAner, LordPotty, AndyB, red45, Janice, dew77, carper, Phoki, PDP, livios, gerhardt, Luc, extramundi has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To milloup: Two pairs of sockssandpiper2 2 03-23 17:17
To cantorboi: more nightmaressandpiper2 1 03-23 17:14
To fungiman: They don't eat muchsandpiper2 1 03-23 17:01
To eev: We have scorpions too!sandpiper2 1 03-23 16:58
To eev: Crocodiles too!Janice 1 03-23 03:33
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Critiques [Translate]

Yuk! I've actually been the "unsuspecting victim" on one of these chaps way back when visiting Kuranda, QLD, and going on a "rainforest walk" up there. I didn't realize till the critter had long since had its feed and left again, though, but I had a lump on my heel for ages afterwards to remind me - and the bugger even bit through my stockings to get at me..
Three nice and sharp captures of a disgusting critter ;-))

  • Great 
  • eev Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 64 W: 33 N: 66] (756)
  • [2005-03-22 19:38]
  • [+]

Hey..I thought I needed only to worry about spiders, snakes and sharks .. and jelly fishes. You live in a bloody dangerous place. Love you story and your picture.

Here in Canada.. all that stuff dies off or hides during the winter... we have a very mild environment.. other than the bears and wolves which we can see coming


Chis, A great three panel shot of this leach. The photos are great, and I had never heard of these. Great explanation of them in your notes. Well Done!

Yuck Chris They make my skin crawl and you have captured the way they sway to try to find and attach to you really well. These look like the really big stripey ones too. I have taken photos but only from a distance. I use heaps of aeroguard on socks, shoes and me to try to stop them finding me. I don't like shoes filled with blood
Lovely clear shots but yuck

One good reason not to go fungi hunting in ausie excelent set of pictures and a wounderfull write up.

If I hadn't seen it here, I wouldn't have believed it! Great photos, of course, and excellent description of this little monster. Thanks for providing fodder for my nightmares.

Excellent presentation Chris.Crystal clear images and a great note.
I am SO glad we don't get these here.I wouldn't be able to get half the shots I do if they were in the bush.

  • Great 
  • AndyB Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1366 W: 32 N: 1351] (3982)
  • [2005-03-23 2:29]

Nicely presented work of this horrible creature.
Excellent detail and a very interesting note,I didnt know they were on land as well,I've always associated them with water.
Great work,well done.

  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2005-03-23 3:05]

Believe me or not but I like leeches :-) I have got few in my aquarium, they live peacefully with other animals. Of course I know nothing about its Australian brothers :-) Great presentation Chris! Excellent quality of photos, very informative note and interesting subject. Great work!

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2005-03-23 3:36]

Not a nice creature at all. But this is very interesting - it looks so much like a worm. I like your 3 photos, nice and sharp. Excellent presentation and write up. Well done.

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2005-03-23 4:48]

Your trio presentation is perfect.Sharpness,composition and your notes are very good...And the only thing I'm happy about your note is ''Leeches do not carry any infectious disease'' :) TFS

  • Great 
  • sAner Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1455 W: 74 N: 1426] (4750)
  • [2005-03-23 6:10]

Very good sequence Chris! The note is very informative and the pictures are very good. Very good details, even though the pictures are small. Well done and TFS!

Great job on this set Chris. Very good sharpness & some great details coming through. An excellent write-up also. Well done!

VEry good and interesting composition.
Well done.

  • Great 
  • carper Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1973 W: 119 N: 2582] (8439)
  • [2005-03-23 10:49]

fantastic imformative shot Chris,
I have never seen this animal before, fantastic documentation shots, good composing shots and an exelent note, fantastic job.
gr. Jaap

  • Great 
  • PDP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 2821 W: 344 N: 3779] (11769)
  • [2005-03-26 14:47]

Wow! Amazing stuff. I never knew leeches lived on land, excellent set of shots Chris. Each one is of great quality and the note is great. Very well done.

  • Great 
  • livios Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2150 W: 319 N: 4263] (16942)
  • [2005-03-28 14:33]

Chris, excellent sharpness in all shots. Great compositions, backgrounds and note.

WOW, Chris. This is absolutely a stunning post. Great set of shots in sequence and a fantastic note to support this critter. Exceptional post. 10 Points.

  • Great 
  • Luc Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1835 W: 301 N: 4287] (14767)
  • [2005-04-15 9:52]

Personal assessment of the photo: great.
Good visual impact.
Aptness of the photo for the site: excellent.
Personal assessment of the note: complete.
Thanks, Chris, for this very instructive post.

Excellent set of shots. They are very descriptive and good quality. I enjoyed very much. A pity the right hand corner, just a bit missing.

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