FAMILY : PISCICOLIDAE
Stibarobdella macrothela (Schmarda, 1861)

" In the photograph below you will see two orange spots on the far left end of the leech (the oral sucker). These are large eyespots and are characteristic of Stibarobdella macrothela.This leech is a parasite of sharks (all marine leeches are fish parasites) and occurs worldwide in tropical to subtropical waters.They take a blood meal and then drop off, find a secluded place to digest the meal (which may take months for a leech this large),and then have to find a host for the next meal. Leeches in this species can get up to 15cm so this is actually a small one(6cm). This leech is pretty rare. It is interesting that the colour is pinkish. Usually they are green with white tips on the bumps(tubercles)"

Identification and description courtesy of Dr Eugene Burreson,Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

Leech attached to Wobbegong shark

© All images Copyright 2010 Denis Riek. All rights reserved.