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"Fierce monster, the notorious crocodile, which is born in the Nile... willingly allows you to clean your teeth razevaya harmless in that moment to fall. His mouth is huge, but deprived of language and for the most part is in the water, so between the teeth gets lots of leeches. When he leaves the river and will open their mouth, then... a friend found him the bird starts his teeth beak and pulls leeches, without exposing yourself to danger."

This is not the current popular scientific books are written by Apuleius, a long time ago, in the second century of our era. Perhaps he was the first to perpetuate the leech in the Golden Fund of world literature. With a light hand Apuleius leeches still do not leave the pages of fiction. But in popular science books and magazines about them as if composed of a conspiracy of silence. Let's break it. However, I already broke wrote about leeches in the journal "Chemistry and life" and talked a little bit about them in the book "Why do white poodle black nose?". But leeches deserve a more detailed conversation.

Sick dog-poodle, Signor Karabas Barabas, you give me, I'll throw in the pond to pevacica that they razzhireli.
A. Thick. The Adventures Of Pinocchio

Perhaps, with a fat leech dealt only in the Country of Fools. And not all. I am convinced that the all-wise Pinocchio knew the truth: all leeches - muscular athletes. Three layers of elastic muscles, running obliquely, allow the medical leech superb swim, crawl, walk on the tail, head and "worry" - instantly reduce body.

In 1791, academician Nikolay Ozeretskovskaya depicted leeches: "Longish worm, at whose mouth and tail can grow in a circle and suck; through pevica moves from one place PA more. There are 13 species, of which some have eyes". In the latest reference books number of species of leeches jumped to 400 (in our country there are about 60 species).

Perhaps the most detailed, most comprehensive and encyclopaedic book about the leeches was released, 1976, publishing house "Science". It at 484 pages E. I. Lukin detail tells the story of the original physiology leeches, about their bizarre reactions to pollution or the temperature of water, about their attitude towards the light or current. From the book you can learn about what and how they eat leeches, and about who and how they eat. Useful to mention that under the supervision of E. I. Lukin and Kharkov zooveterinary Institute is stored an extensive collection of leeches collected in various parts of the Soviet Union: in Transcarpathia and in the Kuril Islands, in Karelia and Georgia...

So what are leeches? The most different. Sometimes these include those animals which have no right to carry the title of leeches. Sometimes children and adults are afraid to go into the water if the pond is filled with beings similar to horse hair. If this is the most terrible leech. Nothing of the sort - it's a harmless worm crystals. In the skin it is not bites and not bloodthirsty. But back to leeches, rather, to their many eyes. For example, the medicinal leech five pairs of eyes, fish - four, bird - eight. Fish leech - a great original, wears his eyes on the tail. Alas, eyes leeches really can be seen only under the microscope: they are strange - without lens, without eyelashes, only the cluster of photoreceptor cells, surrounded by pigment.

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