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Leeches and Public Opinion

Mark Siddall mes at zoo.toronto.edu
Mon Apr 18 22:23:02 EST 1994

In article <bob-150494125855 at f180-181.net.wisc.edu> bob at students.wisc.edu (Bob) writes:
>I would like to express my growing concern with the way the leeches have
>been portrayed in the popular media.  That scene in "Stand by Me"
>illustrates my point nicely.  Why must people continually portray leeches
>as "parasites?"  Don't they know that when a leech latches onto your ankle,
>it is an act spawned of love?  They're just trying to kiss you a little. 
>With tongue.

I always read what rare articles/posts and whathaveyou about leeches
with a wistfull sigh, having a fondness for these critters myself.

You will find, however, thaat leeches are not getting as bad a rap as
all that.  In the last five to ten years in particular the little suckers
have made a bit of a comeback.   They have become quite popular in 
microsurgical applications and in terms of the isolation of their
salivary anticoagulants.  In 1987 (I think or maybe '88) the populist
science mag "Discover" ran a feature article on all of this.

Mark Siddall             The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance,
Department of Zoology       - it is the _illusion_ of knowledge.
University of Toronto                             D. J. Boorstein
mes at zoo.toronto.edu

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