24 June 2011 3 of 3


MAININA, LAUTÉM DISTRICT, TIMOR-LESTE

 

 

TIMOR-LESTE REPTILE & AMPHIBIAN SURVEY
PHASE V: WHERE THE RIVER VANISHES
(page 3)

We also picked up some less welcome hitch-hikers, leeches that left those members of the team wearings shorts with bloody legs. Leeches have three rotating jaws, making a Y-shaped incision. Because their saliva contains a local anaesthetic the bites are not felt. Once the victim begins to bleed the leech also adds an anticoagulent, and the bite will continue to bleed freely long after the sated worm has dropped off and hidden itself in the leaf-litter to digest its meal. Fortunately leech bites are harmless, although the bites can itch afterwards and can may become secondarily infected if scratched.

 

Hinrich's leg with hitch-hiker
click image to view culprit

 

Vegetation in the Land of the Giants