Leeches can be classified as a parasite or a symbiote as it is dependent on the blood. But a leech is much more than that if used purposefully. In this article, you will learn all about leeches including where are leeches found, and are leeches dangerous.
1. What are Leeches?
Leeches, often interpreted as vampire worms, are basically segmented predatory worms. They are closely related to earthworms in terms of soft, muscular, and segmented bodies that can grow and contract in length. But this is where the similarity between an earthworm and leeches ends. Leeches have a ring-like marking at both ends that act as an entry point for the sucking tube. (See Why Do Earthworms Come Out in the Rain?)
2. Where are Leeches found in the USA?
Leeches can be abundantly found in the USA. Moreover, the Americans have found a way to use leeches and their capabilities to make a profit out of them. There are over 79 out of 680 species found in the northern parts of the United States. Lake Champion hosts a variety of leeches, mainly in areas around the docks and sheltered bays.
3. Where are Leeches found in India?
India is more prone to leeches than the United States. They are usually inhabited in water bodies in deep dark forests. If you ask someone where do leeches come from, they’ll probably say America. However, the origin of leeches falls back to Greece and India. They are still an important part. (See How Do You Get Chiggers Out of Your Yard?)
4. How are Leeches used?
Leeches are used in medicine, not only traditional but also the mainstream practice of modern medicine. In ancient India, leeches were used in medicinal treatment, which was first adopted by the British Empire and later used by the United States. The uses and methods of applications of leeches were mentioned in the Ayurvedic texts. Moreover, they have proven to be useful in the concept of bloodletting.
- Either they are applied to the skin in order to extract some kind of poison or a foreign fluid that might have entered the body.
- Or they are also used to inject useful fluids found inside them.
5. Are Leeches dangerous?
Leeches can be very dangerous because of their predatory nature. To put it simply, leeches suck blood from animals like fish, frogs, lizards, and even humans. They do that in order to grow and reproduce. However, once they stick to your skin, it is hard to remove them as they have slimy skin which is hard to take off. It is a common scenario for an adventurer or explorer to face such a problem while expediting a forest. That’s why these people always remain as clothed as possible when walking through water bodies. For instance, famous adventurer, Bear Grylls has faced the same scenario. (See also How to Identify Bugs in My Garden)
6. What are its uses in Modern Medicine?
Leeches have a place of honor in modern medicine. Leeches secrete a substance while sucking blood which acts as an anti-coagulant. Scientists have learned that this substance helps in increasing blood flow and prevents blood clotting. Many treatments like plastic surgery, reattachment of limbs, and skin grafting have been benefitted by the use of leeches to prevent blood clotting in sensitive areas. Many of the surgeries would fail due to blood clots, so leeches have helped our doctors to prevent the blood from clotting. (Also read Marijuana: 8 Reasons Why was it made illegal in the first place)
7. Why is the word Leech termed derogatory?
Leech is also used as terminology for people that are doing the same exact thing, what a leech does. No, not the medicinal treatment part but the blood-sucking segment. There are people, who leech off other people in order to survive. They are highly dependent on other people which means that they need one or more individuals to get their job done. An example of a leech would be a tenant who hasn’t paid his dues for a long period of time, even though he is capable of doing so. He chooses to take advantage of the owner intentionally.