A Catalogue of the Piscicolidae, Ozobranchidae, and Arhynchobdellida (Annelida, Clitellata, Hirudinea) from South America

Martin Lindsey Christoffersen


A catalogue of the families Americobdellidae, Cyclobdellidae, Cylicobdellidae, Erpobdellidae, Euhirudinea, Hirudinidae, Macrobdellidae, Ozobranchidae, Piscicolidae, Salifidae, Semiscolecidae, and Xerobdellidae produced 66 nominal species reported to date from South America. 86% of this fauna is endemic to the South American continent. Synonyms and detailed South American occurrences are provided. This is the first reassessment of South American leeches other than Glossiphoniidae in 26 years. An inventory of this littlestudied group may be important from an applied point of view. Leeches have very high endemicity rates in South America, perhaps unparalleled in freshwater environments. Arguably these animals could serve as important model organisms for ecological studies, particularly as environmental indicators.

Key words: biodiversity, environmental indicators, leeches, Neotropical region.

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