★ Barbronia weberi
Barbronia weberi is a species of predatory freshwater leech in the family Salifidae. It is native to Southeast Asia, but has spread to other parts of the world, including Australia, South America, southern Europe, and the United States.
1. Description. (Описание)
Barbronia weberi grows to a body length of about 2.5-3 cm 1.0-1.2 inches, with individuals becoming sexually Mature with a length of about 1.4 cm 0.6 inches. The body has a width of about 1.9 mm 0.07 inch, and the rear sucker has a diameter of about 1.5 mm 0.06 inch. The surface of the body is covered with small papillae and has a uniform red to dark reddish-brown color, sometimes almost black. There are always three pairs of eyespots on the head. Segments are not recognized externally, and there are seventeen body segments, each consisting of five external ring formations. In the pharynx, there are one or two retraction stilettos on each of the three jaws. Between the male and the female genital opening of hermaphroditic animals, there are five or fewer anuleze. There is a Central auxiliary copulatory pore on the ventral surface next to the gonopores, but it is absent in young animals.
2. Distribution and habitat. (Распределение и среда обитания)
This species grows in India, Southeast Asia, the Philippines and Indonesia. From there, it spread to Australia, Europe, and South America. This is a freshwater species. In 2018, it was reported from two widely separated locations in North Carolina, but it is unclear whether they are the result of two different introductions or whether they mean that the leech has become widespread but was previously overlooked.
3. Ecology. (Экология)
As with all leeches, B. weberi is a hermaphrodite, the sperm is transmitted from one individual to another by traumatic insemination. The eggs are fertilized and the cocoon is secreted by the clitoris and receives between one and five eggs as it passes over the female gonopore. The eggs hatch after about a month, and the young leeches that appear become Mature after about four months. An adult can produce weekly cocoons for about three months before becoming senescent. Adults are often found attached to aquatic plants, and cocoons containing eggs are attached to rocks, submerged objects, or aquatic vegetation at the base of leaf whorls.it is likely that the transportation of aquatic plants by the aquarium trade is the means by which the leech has dispersed to new locations. This leech can be successfully grown from egg to egg in the laboratory and can be used as a model organism in developmental studies.
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