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Press Release 07-037

Misclassified for Centuries, Medicinal Leeches Found to Be Three Distinct Species

Discovery could have impact on future medical treatments

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2 species of leech: above, Hirudo medicinalis, below, Hirudo verbana.

Distinctive color patterns shown of two species of European medicinal leech, above, Hirudo medicinalis and below, Hirudo verbana.

Credit: Andrei Utevsky