Leeches are segmented parasitic or predatory worms of the subclass
Hirudinea in the phylum Annelida. Like earthworms, they have soft,
muscular, segmented bodies that can lengthen and contract, but the
coelom, the body cavity that can be spacious in other annelids, is
reduced to small channels, and they typically have suckers at both ends.
Most leeches live in freshwater habitats, though some species can be
found in terrestrial and marine environments. A minority of leech
species prey on small invertebrates, but most are hematophagous,
attaching themselves to a host with a sucker and feeding on blood. They
were used in medicine from ancient times until the 19th century to draw
blood from patients. In modern times, leeches have been used in
microsurgery and in the treatment of extremity vein diseases and joint
diseases such as epicondylitis and osteoarthritis. Hirudin, an
anticoagulant drug they secrete, has been used to treat blood-clotting
Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leech>
Today's selected anniversaries:
The islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon (modern city of Saint-
Pierre pictured) near Canada were visited by Portuguese explorer João
Álvares Fagundes, who named them after the 11,000 Virgins.
Florence Nightingale and a staff of 38 nurses and 15 nuns were
sent to the Ottoman Empire to help treat wounded British soldiers
fighting in the Crimean War.
After reporting contact with an unidentified aircraft,
Australian pilot Frederick Valentich disappeared while piloting a
Cessna 182L across the Bass Strait to King Island.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
smell you later:
(humorous, informal) See you later; goodbye.
Wikiquote quote of the day:
I pass, like night, from land to land; I have strange power of
speech; That moment that his face I see, I know the man that must hear
me: To him my tale I teach.
--The Rime of the Ancient Mariner