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Placobdella parasitica (Rhynchobdellida: glossiphoniidae) from the eastern river cooter (Chelonia: Emydidae) in Oklahoma.

While the large glossiphoniid leech Placobdella parasitica (Say 1824) has been commonly reported throughout much of North America, distributional data on this species from the southern and western states remains poorly known (Sawyer 1972; Klemm 1982). On 15 March 1994, three adult specimens of P. parasitica were collected from the plastron of a single male specimen of the eastern river cooter Pseudemys concinna concinna (LeConte 1830) from Lake Texoma, Marshall County, Oklahoma. The length of the turtle's carapace was 21.5 cm and its width was 15.5 cm. All three leech specimens were dorsoventrally flattened with a greenish-brown dorsum, cream-colored mid-dorsal band of variable width, and irregular lateral patches. The ventrum of each exhibits 8 to 12 bluish-green longitudinal stripes. Specimens measured 2.0 cm, 3.2 cm and 3.5 cm in length. The crop ceca of all three specimens contained blood, indicating a natural association with the turtle. Two specimens (HWML 37846) are deposited with the holdings of the H. W. Manter Parasitology Laboratory, University of Nebraska State Museum.

This report of Placobdella parasitica represents a new addition to the leech fauna of Oklahoma. It also represents the first record of this species from Pseudemys concinna concinna. This leech is commonly reported to blood-feed on Chelydra serpentina and Chrysemys picta turtles (Sawyer 1972, 1986; Amin 1981), which may represent the preferred hosts for this leech. Placobdella parasitica has now been reported from 17 different species and subspecies of turtles (Table 1) as well as Rana pipens (cf. Meyer & Moore 1954), indicating that P. parasitica blood-feeds upon a wide variety of turtles and possibly other hosts.
Table 1. Reported turtle hosts of Placobdella parasitica.


Chelydra serpentina serpentina Sawyer 1972, 1986
Chelydra serpentina osceola Ernst & Barbour 1972
Macroclemys temminckii Ernst & Barbour 1972
Sternotherus depressus Dodd 1988
Sternotherus odoratus Ryerson 1915; Sawyer 1972
Kinosternon subrubrum Sawyer & Shelley 1976
Clemmys guttata Ryerson 1915; Sawyer 1972
Clemmys insculpta Koffler et al. 1978; Ricciardi & Lewis
Graptemys geographica Say 1824; Sawyer 1972
Graptemys pseudogeographica Sawyer 1986
Trachemys scripta Martin 1972; Sawyer 1972
Trachemys scripta elegans Hendricks et al. 1971
Pseudemys concinna concinna This study
Pseudemys nelsoni Ernst & Barbour 1972
Chrysemys picta picta Sawyer 1972, 1986
Chrysemys picta marginata Ryerson 1915; Sawyer 1972; Amin 1981;
 Ricciardi & Lewis 1991
Emydoidea blandingii Sawyer 1972; Amin 1981


The assistance of Dr. John D. Lynch with the turtle identification, the turtle collection by Scott Snyder and the critical reviews of the manuscript by Dr. Duane Hope and Dennis J. Richardson are gratefully appreciated.

Literature Cited

Amin, O. M. 1981. Leeches (Hirudinea) from Wisconsin, and a description of the spermatophore of Placobdella ornata. Trans. Am. Microsc. Soc., 100:42-51.

Dodd, C. K. Jr. 1988. Patterns of distributional and seasonal use of the turtle Sternotherus depressus by the leech Placobdella parasitica J. Herpetol., 22:74-81.

Ernst, C. H., & R. W. Barbour. 1972. Turtles of the United States. The University Press of Kentucky, Lexington, 347 pp.

Hendricks, A. C., J. T. Wyatt & D. E. Henley. 1971. Infestation of a Texas red-eared turtle by leeches. Tex. J. Sci., 22:247.

Klemm, D. J. 1982. Leeches (Annelida: Hirudinea) of North America. US Environmental Protection Agency, Cincinnati, 177 pp.

Koffler, B. R., R. A. Seigel & M. T. Mendonca. 1978. The seasonal occurrence of leeches on the wood turtle, Clemmys insculpta (Reptilia, Testudines, Emydidae). J. Herpetol., 12:571-572.

Martin, D. R. 1972. Distribution of helminth parasites in turtles native to southern Illinois. Trans. Ill. Acad. Sci., 65(3/4):61-67.

Meyer, M. C., & J. P. Moore. 1954. Notes on Canadian leeches (Hirudinea), with the description of a new species. Wasmann J. Biol., 12:63-96.

Ricciardi, A., & D. J. Lewis. 1991. New records of freshwater leeches (Annelida: Hirudinea) from Quebec. Can. Field-Nat., 105:368-371.

Ryerson, C. G. S. 1915. Notes on the Hirudinea of Georgian Bay. Contributions to Canadian Biology, Sessional Paper No. 39b. 5 George V, pp. 165-175.

Sawyer, R. T. 1972. North American freshwater leeches, exclusive of the Piscicolidae, with a key to all species. Ill. Biol. Monogr., 46:1-154.

______. 1986. Leech biology and behaviour. Vols. 1-3. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1065 pp.

______, & R. M. Shelley. 1976. New records and species of leeches (Annelida: Hirudinea) from North and South Carolina. J. Nat. Hist., 10:65-67.

Say, T. 1824. Keating's narrative of an expedition to the source of St. Peter's River, Lake Winnepeek, Lake of the Woods, etc., in 1823, under S. H. Long, 2 Vols. Philadelphia. Vol. II Appendix, D. Class Vermes. pp. 14-16.

William E. Moser

School of Biological Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska 68588-0118

Present address: Department of Invertebrate Zoology, Division of Worms, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 20560
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Title Annotation:GENERAL NOTES
Author:Moser, William E.
Publication:The Texas Journal of Science
Geographic Code:1U7OK
Date:Feb 1, 1995
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