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article imageNew species of leech found up girl’s nose

By Andrew John     Apr 17, 2010 in Science
A new species of leech sporting large teeth has been identified by scientists after it was plucked from a girl’s nose in Peru.
The creature has the Latin binomial Tyrannobdella rex (“tyrant leech king”), and was first found in the nose of a nine-year-old who was admitted to La Merced Hospital in Peru’s Chanchamayo province, according to research in PLoS One.
The paper says: “A new genus and species of leech from Peru was found feeding from the nasopharynx of humans. Unlike any other leech previously described, this new taxon has but a single jaw with very large teeth.
“This new species, found feeding from the upper respiratory tract of humans in Peru, clarifies an expansion of the family Praobdellidae to include the new species Tyrannobdella rex.”
It continued: “Moreover, the results clarify a single evolutionary origin of a group of leeches that specialises on mucous membranes, thus posing a distinct threat to human health.
“Male and female reproductive organs extremely micromorphic, same size as or smaller than ventral ganglia . . . No other leech species is known to have but a single armed jaw with such large teeth.”
More about Leech, Tyrannobdella rex, Chanchamayo, Merced hospital, Nose
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