Parasitology Research

, 98:61 | Cite as

A new species of the medicinal leech (Oligochaeta, Hirudinida, Hirudo) from Transcaucasia and an identification key for the genus Hirudo

  • Serge Y. Utevsky
  • Peter Trontelj
Original Paper


A recent molecular phylogenetic study has suggested that the genus Hirudo contains a neglected species previously known as the orientalis coloration type of the medicinal leech Hirudo medicinalis. In this paper, the new species is formally described as Hirudo orientalis sp. n. It can most readily be identified by the grass green coloration of the dorsum, segmentally arranged pairs of black quadrangular or rounded dots on its paramarginal dorsal stripes and similarly arranged, but less regular light-colored markings on the predominantly black venter. It has medium-sized epididymes and an evenly coiled vagina. H. orientalis is known from Transcaucasia, Iran, and Uzbekistan. It is widely used in medicine as the “medicinal leech.” Very little is known about its exact distribution, specific habitat, and conservation status. The paper contains an identification key to all species of the genus Hirudo.


Cytochrome Oxidase Subunit Medicinal Leech Longitudinal Stripe Zoological Nomenclature Reddish Stripe 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Our thanks go to Vladimir Samoylov (Kharkiv, Ukraine) for furnishing some of specimens and to Abdumalik Abdullaev (Samarkand, Uzbekistan) for the information on the distribution of medicinal leeches in Uzbekistan.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Zoology and Animal EcologyV. N. Karazin Kharkiv National UniversityKharkivUkraine
  2. 2.Biotechnical Faculty, Department of BiologyUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia

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