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About Leeches

Leeches are annelids comprising the subclass Hirudinea. There are fresh water, terrestrial, and marine leeches. Like their near relatives, the Oligochaeta, they share the presence of a clitellum. Like earthworms, leeches are hermaphrodites. There are 650 known species of leeches. The Hirudo leech has three jaws with 100 teeth on each jaw - making 300 teeth in all. The Medicinal leech, Hirudo medicinalis, which is native to Europe, and its congeners have been used for clinical bloodletting for thousands of years.

Medicinal leeches are any of a group of several species of leeches but most commonly Hirudo medicinalis or the European Medical Leech. Other species sometimes referred to as Medical Leeches include (but are not limited to): Hirudo verbana, Macrobdella decora (North American Medical Leech), Hirudo troctina, Hirudo orientalis and Hirudinaria manillensis (Asian Medicinal Leech)


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