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By K. H. Mann and G. A. Kerkut (Auth.)

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Extra info for Leeches (Hirudinea). Their Structure, Physiology, Ecology and Embryology

Sample text

All the evidence points to the existence of symbiotic bacteria as yet not isolated, which have taken over a part of the digestive process. 42 LEECHES 2. I N RHYNCHOBDELLAE Our knowledge of the nutrition of rhynchobdellid leeches is very scanty indeed. Food is obtained by inserting a proboscis into the tissues of the host. Many are fish parasites, but it is somewhat surprising that a proboscis containing no hard skeletal parts can be forced through the integument of a fish. A study of the forces involved would prove interesting.

1953. in the crop or in the intestine. Diwany (1925) injected milk, eggproteins and peptones into the gut of starving Hirudo but found that none was digested and the leeches continued to lose weight. 40 LEECHES Graetz and Autrum (1935) failed to find any proteolytic enzymes in extracts of Hirudo gut wall. They suggested that digestion depends on bacterial decomposition, but this is difficult to reconcile with the observation that the corpuscles remain unchanged for many months. A careful bacteriological examination was made by Busing (1951) who found that only one kind of bacterium was present, Pseudomonas hirudinis.

Change in Rest-Nitrogen content of blood kept with and without Pseudomonas hirudinis. , 1953. in the crop or in the intestine. Diwany (1925) injected milk, eggproteins and peptones into the gut of starving Hirudo but found that none was digested and the leeches continued to lose weight. 40 LEECHES Graetz and Autrum (1935) failed to find any proteolytic enzymes in extracts of Hirudo gut wall. They suggested that digestion depends on bacterial decomposition, but this is difficult to reconcile with the observation that the corpuscles remain unchanged for many months.

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