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The taxonomic status of dark-pigmented medicinal leeches of the genus Hirudo (Hirudinea: Hirudinidae)

The taxonomic status of dark-pigmented medicinal leeches of the genus Hirudo (Hirudinea: Hirudinidae)

Lauterbornia16: 1-6

The leech Hirudo verbana was described in 1820 by H. Carena based on individuals collected in the Lacus Verbanus (Lago Maggiore, Italy). Large populations of this colourful species, obtained from leech gatherers in Turkey, are maintained in artificial ponds in the ZAUG Blutegelzucht in Biebertal, Germany. Among some 1000 individuals, black-pigmented leeches were regularly found. Based on several criteria, these black medicinal leeches are described here as a colour variant of Hirudo verbana, var. nigra. The nominate species of this taxon is the coloured form Hirudo verbana. Hybrids between these varieties occur, but apparently at very low abundance.

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Accession: 023965488

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