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Worms that are not polychaetes

Annelida: Hirudinea  -  leeches


Hirudinea: Stibarobdella macrothela [illustrator: D.Kowarsky]

Hirudinea: Austrobdella bilobara [illustrator: D.Kowarsky]

Leeches are segmented worms with short thick muscular bodies with suckers at either end. Segments and chaetae are present but are not easily seen.


Most leeches are terrestrial and live in damp environments. However, a few species are marine, and apparently most of these are associated with elasmobranch hosts (sharks and rays), although they also occur on bony fishes.

Marine leeches have not been systematically studied in Australian waters.


Edgar, GJ. 1997. Australian Marine Life. Reed, Kew, Victoria.

Shepherd, SA and Thomas, IM. 1982. Marine Invertebrates of Southern Australia Part I. Handbooks Committee of the South Australian Government, Adelaide.