|MadSci Network: General Biology|
This is a question that I am fairly certain has not been addressed directly- unless there is some work published on land leeches. According to Bates (1949)and Gillett (1972) some leeches will attack mosquito larvae, but there is no mention of the reverse happening. Partly this is because most leeches are aquatic and no adult (blood-feeding) mosquito lives under water. The totally terrestrial leeches in the family Haemadipsidae (see Barnes 1987) could very well be attacked by mosquitoes, as they are abundant in the tropical forests of Southeast Asia and Australia. The main problem for mosquitoes would be to get through the thick epidermis of a leech and into the gut, if they were to tap the leech's food (blood meal), or into the leech's circulatory system, if they were sucking the leeches blood. I don't think that the "blood" of many leeches would be palatable to mosquitoes, although land leeches do have hemoglobin in their blood. What this boils down to is that, assuming that a mosquito did feed on the blood of a leech, the size of the leech and the number of mosquitoes involved would probably influence the effect on the leech- smaller leeches being most likely to be damaged than larger ones. Feeding on the blood meal of the leech would probably cause little damage, other than mechanical. Finding a leech would be a big problem for any mosquito hunting leeches. As far as scientists know CO2, sweat odors, and hody heat are very important for all mosquitos to recognice a possible food source. All of the above is nearly not produced by leech. References: Barnes, R. D. 1987. Invertebrate Zoology, 5th ed. Saunders. Philadelphia. Bates, M. 1949. The Natural History of Mosquitoes. Macmillian, New York, N.Y. Gillett, J. D. 1972. The Mosquito. Doubleday, Garden City, N. Y.
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