leech

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Related to leeches: Medicinal leeches

leech,

predacious or parasitic annelid worm of the class Hirudinea, characterized by a cylindrical or slightly flattened body with suckers at either end for attaching to prey. The leech, like other annelids, is segmented, but its numerous surface folds obscure the internal segments. In many forms the mouth has three small jaws equipped with sharp teeth. The digestive tract has lateral pouches that hold enough of the leech's staple food, blood, to last for months. The reproductive system is complex; leeches are hermaphroditic and cross-fertilizing. Nearly all leeches are aquatic, abounding in freshwater ponds in temperate regions, but they also are found in the tropics, in polar oceans, and in deserts. Some are permanent parasites of humans, horses, cattle, fish, and mollusks, but most are merely predatory. The salivary secretions of the leech contain hirudin, an anticoagulant, and other substances that promote blood flow. The medicinal leech (Hirudo medicinalis), a European freshwater leech once used by physicians to bleed patients suffering from almost any ailment, are now used to remove pooled blood from under skin grafts and other reconstructive surgeries, to treat bruises (such as black eyes), and to treat some osteoarthritis. Certain small leeches of the E Mediterranean region may enter the bodies of humans and animals through drinking water and lodge as parasites in the mouth or the respiratory passages. The giant Amazon leech can grow as large as the forearm of an adult human being. Leeches are classified in the phylum AnnelidaAnnelida
[Lat., anellus=a ring], phylum of soft-bodied, bilaterally symmetrical (see symmetry, biological), segmented animals, known as the segmented, or annelid, worms.
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, class Hirudinea.

leech

[lēch]
(invertebrate zoology)
The common name for members of the annelid class Hirudinea.

leech

1
1. any annelid worm of the class Hirudinea, which have a sucker at each end of the body and feed on the blood or tissues of other animals
2. an archaic word for physician

leech

2, leach
Nautical the after edge of a fore-and-aft sail or either of the vertical edges of a squaresail

leech

(networking)
Someone who downloads files but provides nothing for others to download. The term is common on BitTorrent, which relies on having multiple sources for files to improve download speed.

leech

A person who takes without giving. A free loader. See bandwidth leech and BitTorrent leech.

Leech

(dreams)
Leeches are parasites that drain your energy and your resources. They are literally “bloodsuckers” and what they represent from your life is up to you to determine. Think about all of the draining things around you or inside of you. Usually dreams are designed to make us more aware of ourselves. Thus, the leeches may represent your own habits, thoughts, and negative emotions rather than someone in your environment. In the old days (and maybe in some remote parts of the world this is still happening) leeches were used frequently for medical purposes. They were harvested and used in case of infection, when a poisonous or harmful substance needed to be removed from the body. Maybe the leeches in your dream are there to suck out all of the negativity that you acquire throughout your day or in a particular situation.
References in periodicals archive ?
Kalinicheva, a secretary in a Moscow office, said she had suffered from intolerable lower back pain before trying leeches, applied weekly at a walk-in medical centre, the Hirudotherapy Clinic.
Learn how and why scientists are using leeches to find rare animals.
Leech socks are pulled over the wearer's trousers to prevent leeches reaching the exposed skin of the legs and attaching there or climbing towards the torso.
At Somerton (37[degrees]63'S, 144[degrees]95'E) near the southern boundary of Craigieburn Grasslands, four leeches were located separately on the foam caps of freshly laid L.
Nasal leech infestation: report of seven leeches and literature review.
Transferring our newly-arrived leeches from their container to the aquarium was an ordeal I never wish to experience again
Our best chances of finding leeches are when it's pouring rain and we're wandering through a wet jungle," explains Siddall, a scientist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
Approval of this brand of leeches for medicinal use.
Comment: The medicinal use of leeches peaked in the mid-1800s but began increasing in the 1960s.
Now, the US Food and Drug Agency (FDA) has approved the commercial marketing of leeches for medical purposes.
Last used in the early 1900s by local apothecaries for storing blood-thirsty leeches, this little house is the most unusual that property agent George F White has been asked to sell.
Our institution keeps leeches in the plastic surgery research lab.