Tiger leech

Discuss natural history subjects not strictly related to birds. Reports of interesting mammal, reptile, and invertebrate sightings are welcome.
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Neil Fitzgerald
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Tiger leech

Postby Neil Fitzgerald » Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:51 pm

My Mum and son found some of these leeches in a farm pond a while ago.
I identified them as our native tiger leech, Richardsonianus mauianus but open to other opinion. Beautiful animals, but it was a bit awkward when one fed on my hand for about three hours.
Now the pond is likely to be drained by new owner for dairy conversion. Does anyone know anything about these animals and how rare they might be? I can find very little info about them.
Thanks

leach1.jpg
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leach2.jpg
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David Riddell
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Re: Tiger leech

Postby David Riddell » Tue Mar 11, 2014 2:48 pm

Don't know much about them, but have come across them at two places. The first was in a small dune lake amid pines just west of the Waipoua Forest (see https://maps.google.co.nz/maps?hl=en&ll ... 6&t=h&z=18) that I used to visit fairly regularly in university days back in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Looking at the Google Map image it looks pretty much unchanged and I imagine they're still there. It's a cool lake, with freshwater sponges and a fringing peat bed with sundews (Drosera binata), and the type locality for a rare copepod, Boeckella tanea. But swimming in it, or exploring the wetland at its head, left you prone to leech attack. You could see them swimming like little fish through the peat-stained but otherwise clear water - they're surprisingly good swimmers.

The other spot was near the edge of the Opuatia Swamp, in a small fenced farm pond (see https://maps.google.co.nz/maps?hl=en&ll ... 8&t=h&z=19). That was 15 years ago, and I really couldn't be sure they're still there. I see Rod Morris has a photo of one from here in Gordonton (http://www.rodmorris.co.nz/New-Zealand- ... &k=MhMwQbq).

Had a quick look for info on their threat status but couldn't find much. Doesn't sound like they're endangered (http://leeches-nz.co.nz/information-about-leeches.html), but they're rarely recorded (http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/resou ... s/leeches2).
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Neil Fitzgerald
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Re: Tiger leech

Postby Neil Fitzgerald » Tue Mar 11, 2014 5:36 pm

Thanks David. They are really cool to watch swimming. I kept them in an aquarium for a while.
Pat Miller
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Re: Tiger leech

Postby Pat Miller » Thu Mar 13, 2014 1:16 pm

Hi Folks,
Many years ago, as a school boy in 1968 or 69, me and a couple of friends rode our bikes from Dargaville out to the golf course at Bayly's Beach to check out records of a "different kind" of frog (turned out to be just newly metamorphosed Golden Bell Frogs L. aurea) and one of my friends got one of these leeches on his foot while wading in the pond. We were most surprised when we detached it and it latched on again at the other end! Around the same time I also caught one once in a farm pond near the top end of Hokianga Road in Dargaville while catching tadpoles by standing in the pond and grabbing them by hand when they started nibbling the hairs on my legs.

In the years since, I found them once in a shallow swampy dune lake on the Pouto Peninsula near Round Hill and once in a pond NW of Moerewa. This is all I can tell you about them. I haven't come across them in ponds I've hunted things in, in Eastern Northland. Interesting to hear about them being found at Gordonton David. That's quite a long way from South western Northland. Where were the ones your family found, Neil?
Pat
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Neil Fitzgerald
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Re: Tiger leech

Postby Neil Fitzgerald » Fri Mar 14, 2014 1:19 pm

These were/are near Waitomo, so further south again.
The cut mark they leave with their three jaws is very distinctive. A little alien bite!
Colin Miskelly
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Re: Tiger leech

Postby Colin Miskelly » Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:58 pm

The Snares Islands terrestrial leech Ornithobdella edentula also leaves a triangular bite, surrounded by a circular bruise just larger than the triangle

Cheers
Colin
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Re: Tiger leech

Postby Pat Miller » Mon May 29, 2017 8:35 pm

Recently I've found one of these leeches in two different places. The first was in April this year at the Wairua River Wildlife Management Reserve near Whangarei when one latched on to my foot when I was standing in a large shallow pond. The water was muddy from me stirring up the bottom and I thought I'd trodden on a stick when it bit me. I gave it a rub without looking and only discovered it was a leech when it reattached itself to my lower leg for a second go at a meal. Both wounds bled for ages if I scraped the dried blood away.
The second was yesterday in a flaxy weedy swamp next to SH1 at Akerama between Hukerenui and Kawakawa, where I caught one in a kilwell bait trap set overnight.
Both sites have Mosquito Fish Gambusia affinis, not many at Akerama, but lots at the Wairua River Wildlife Management Reserve. The Landcare research website says they are uncommon and each time I've seen them I've only found the one, though I've never been specifically looking for them.
Olwen
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Re: Tiger leech

Postby Olwen » Wed May 31, 2017 10:32 am

Should all this information go on NatureWatch? Its really interesting. We have a triangle in a circle as a 'stop' symbol on our printer.
andrewcrossland
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Re: Tiger leech

Postby andrewcrossland » Wed May 31, 2017 5:50 pm

I had a leach on my leg while wading bare foot at lake ellesmere bsck in the mid 1980s but have never seem them since. It was much smaller than the animal I'm your photo, about 2cm long, but similar colour and markings.
Hypno
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Re: Tiger leech

Postby Hypno » Thu Jun 01, 2017 5:21 pm

I have had very small leeches latch onto me in coopers lagoon Canterbury 2014 when i went for a swim in there looking for Koura, a lot of koura found in the spring stream but little in the warm lagoon

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