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Term: leech
References: Desolation Island, page 15
The Commodore, page 156
The Hundred Days, pages 44, 153
Meaning: Any of about 650 species of segmented, or annelid, worms of the class Hirudinea. A small sucker, which contains the mouth, is at the anterior end; a large sucker is at the posterior end. All leeches have 34 body segments. Leeches that attack humans belong to the family Gnathobdellidae. Some species have been used medically for centuries; in Europe the use of leeches to drain off blood reached its height of popularity in the 19th century. In addition to H. medicinalis of Europe, the Algerian dragon (H. troctina) was used. Gnathobdella ferox was commonly used in Asia.

Additional information

Maturin's Medicine — This article is based on information from Maturin's Medicine, compiled and edited by Kerry Webb, with the help of a number of contributors.

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