Faeces of the Medicinal Leech, Hirudo medicinalis, are Haem

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The pigmented tissue around the gut of the blood feeding leech, Hirudo medicinalis, was regarded by Moquin-Tandon in 1826 (ref. 1) as a liver. Spiess2 challenged this concept on the grounds that the pigmented tissue was not derived from the gut, but he agreed that it was a functional liver even if it was not a morphological or an embryological one.

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  1. 1

    Moquin-Tandon, A., Monographie de la Famille des Hirudinées (Thesis, Montpellier, 1826).

  2. 2

    Spiess, C., Intern. Congr. Zool., 6, 391 (1905).

  3. 3

    Spiess, C., C. R. Acad. Sci. Paris, 141, 333 (1905).

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    Spiess, C., C. R. Acad. Sci., Paris, 141, 506 (1905).

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    Fukui, T., Z. Vergl. Physiol., 4, 201 (1926).

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    Falk, J. E., Porphyrins and Metalloporphyrins, 73 (Elsevier, New York, 1964).

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    Furman, N. H., Scott's Standard Methods of Chemical Analysis, 2, 5th edit., 462 (Van Nostrand, New York, 1939).

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    Vannotti, A., Porphyrins, 26 (Hilger arid Watts, London, 1954).

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    Gray, C. H., The Bile Pigments (Methuen, London, 1953).

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    Schlesinger, W., Dt. Med. Wschr., 29, 561 (1903).

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WINDSOR, D. Faeces of the Medicinal Leech, Hirudo medicinalis, are Haem. Nature 227, 1153–1154 (1970) doi:10.1038/2271153b0

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