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Tiger Leech

Haemadipsa picta


The leech in the first 2 photos had got my 'scent' and was stretched out, waving around trying to get my direction. In the last 2 photos they are at rest, and have contracted. It was wet in the park, muddy underfoot, and these leeches were waiting on the edges of leaves bordering the path. The darker leeches I have seen, seem to wait on the ground. Tiger Leeches are easily recognized by their longitudinally striped reddish brown dorsum: there is a broad, bluish-gray, yellow-greenish, or multicolored median-paramedian field that contains three to five black or dark brown broken stripes inside. There is also a white or pale yellowish longitudinal marginal stripe with dark-spotted borders. The venter is uniformly yellowish brown. I had only seen dull dark ones before. These ones had a magnificent pattern.


Montane wet temperate forest, Namdapha N.P. Arunachal Pradesh,


ned some help as to which category this fits in...

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pamsai 7 years ago

thanks Neil... this one wasn't on me, but others were!!

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 7 years ago

I'm not overly fond of leeches, but this one is quite beautiful. Nicely spotted, Pam. Glad it was on the leaf and not on you :)

pamsai 7 years ago

thanks Ashley for the nomination for these beautiful leeches !!

AshleyT 7 years ago

Your spotting has been nominated for the Spotting of the Week. The winner will be chosen by the Project Noah Rangers based on a combination of factors including: uniqueness of the shot, status of the organism (for example, rare or endangered), quality of the information provided in the habitat and description sections. There is a subjective element, of course; the spotting with the highest number of Ranger votes is chosen. Congratulations on being nominated!

pamsai 7 years ago

Thanks Sukanya, good to know...

SukanyaDatta 7 years ago

Yes, Pam I did and Many thanks for your inputs on leech socks...I have ALREADY checked those out online. I will get a pair!
And I remember dissecting leeches in college. The GI tract was a straight tube with inflatable balloon-like structures on the side...those fill up as the leech drinks blood and then, finally when all those side-bladders are full the leech drops off...we were told NEVER to drag a leech off; they have three jaws that will remain embedded in the skin and fester!!!
It is the bleeding (because of the thoughtful anti-coagulants they use) that leech bites freak people...otherwise leech bites do not transmit disease (how kind) Many thanks, Pam.

DanielePralong 7 years ago

Great spotting Pam! To answer your question about category, you're correct with Other. Leeches belong to the phylum Annelida, also known as ring worms or segmented worms.

pamsai 7 years ago

Sukhanya, did you read the link I included?

pamsai 7 years ago

Yes leech sox work great. Apparently even nylon stockings (knee length ones) worn over your sox and trousers are very effective. I have ones sewn out of silky material, and have watched the leeches climb onto them, then contract and drop off. But the main thing is to seal the place between your sox and trouser bottoms. They can climb down over wellies and up under the trousers, so wear sox over your trouser bottoms. Leech sox tie off just under the knees. And I heard that it's better to run your finger nail along the skin and break the leeches mouth seal. Less chance of them regurgitating stuff up before they let go, it seems. Hard the first time, but gets easier !!

SukanyaDatta 7 years ago

OH! There are leech socks...How wonderful. I was not sister asked me t wear wellies :)
I always used salt...a pinch and they drop off (lived in Assam as a kid and learnt the trick) never needed to use it till last year. You gt some GREAT shots!

pamsai 7 years ago

Yes Sukanya, several "got me", but mostly the fear is a psychological thing really, they bite, suck blood and fall off when full if you don't spot them. Some of the places continuing bleeding for a while, then slowly stop.

First few days I wore sandals and as I walked through the mud, they would 'wake up' and come moving towards me really fast! I was surprised at how fast they can move. But leech sox do the trick. Then you don't have to think about them. One day before I had the sox, I had to stop every 10 paces and remove a leech before it bit me. Didn't get much butterfly photography achieved that day! Couldn't stay in one place without an army approaching !!

LaurenZarate 7 years ago

Ugh! Pam! They're beautiful and horrible!

SukanyaDatta 7 years ago

I hope it did not get you...I had a rather bloody encounter with a couple of leeches last year.I was reading up about leeches yesterday (planning a trip to leech-infested place) and saw a similar photo. It was called Tiger leech.

Spotted by

Arunachal Pradesh, India

Spotted on Mar 30, 2016
Submitted on May 20, 2016

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