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Re: leaches & plants

> > Remember, leaches feed on blood, usually (if I remember correctly)
directly from a living critter.

This brings to mind a program by Notre Dame's Steve Saul. He was with a
department there which studied mosquitoes - especially in reference to the
spread of tropical diseases.

The university had a collection of mosquito cultures. They were "safe" in
that they had not been exposed to people carrying the diseases. Steve
brought in the larvae of a couple species. One was a huge thing, easily 3/4s
of an inch long (over  2 cm). He noted that when that one transformed into a
flying insect it didn't need to bite an animal for the blood component
necessary for reproduction because it fed on the larvae of other mosquitoes
while it was in the larval stage.

In the course of his fascinating and funny presentation. he noted that one
of the more prolific mosquitoes was raised mostly on plant juices they drew
from plants left in the cage. For the blood component to their diets the
keepers would leave hamsters in the cage from time to time. (The hamsters
weren't consulted.)

He cheerfully claimed that their bite wasn't all that annoying though and
(since it was winter) they were easy enough to culture and represented a
nice treat for the killies. The aquarists could just stick his arm in the
window screen cage once and a while. ;)

A couple of the attendees actually took some mosquitoes home and gave them a
try. Ah innocence!

The next meeting, all complained that the mosquitoes' bites were much more
painful than advertised. Everyone had destroyed their cultures. (Probably
for the better anyway.)

It is amazing the lengths though, which killinuts will go to get their
killies a special snack.!

All the best!


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