I mentioned going to the ASP conference last summer in my previous blog post about zombie ants. I learned some really neat stuff while I was there! For instance, I saw a talk by Mark Siddall, who is the leech expert. If you want to know a lot of things about leeches, check out his Q&A session from PBS.
Now, something that you really need to know about leeches is that one leech is a hippo anus specialist. That leech is Placobdelloides jaegerskioeldi. Parasite of the Day has blogged about this before, so I’ll keep my description brief. The leech is a hippo blood specialist, and the only place to get easy access to hippo blood is to feed through the tissue in the anus. (I remember Mark making a joke about how we now know why hippos are so grumpy all the time.) I really enjoyed this video of Mark Siddall talking about the quest to find the hippo ass leech, and I think you should check it out.
Also, here’s a cartoon!