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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Biology and Biodiversity of the Marine Leeches of California

  • Author(s): Kim, Bernard
  • Advisor(s): Buth, Donald
  • et al.

The marine leeches of California are found on many host species, but the biology, distribution, and ecology of these leeches is not well understood. In this thesis I describe two previously unknown species: the leeches Mysidobdella californiensis, found on mysid shrimp hosts in Bodega Bay, CA, and Heptacyclus cabrilloi, found on giant kelpfish in San Pedro, CA. I also describe a method that addresses the problem of measuring the size of leeches, which is considered to be difficult because of the inconsistencies in the body proportions of soft-bodied invertebrate organisms. I utilize digital photography to measure leech size and use maximum- likelihood estimation to fit a model of size/age cohort distributions to a sample of leeches.

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