Tyrannobdella Rex: A Relatively Newly Discovered Type Of Blood Lizard

The tyrannical rex has very distinctive characteristics compared to other members of its family – its teeth are five times larger than other blood lizards!
Tyrannobdella rex: a relatively newly discovered type of leech

A little over ten years ago, a new type of leech was discovered in Peru: the Tyrannoscopic rex, or T. rex leech. The animal was found in the nostril of a little girl of nine years,  and the find was startling because it was almost five centimeters long and had a single jaw with giant teeth. It differed from all other types of leeches.

In previous years, similar specimens had been found in the noses of children from the same country, but had not really paid attention to it. After a review, however, it was discovered that the girl and the other children were swimming in the same water in the Amazon.

After that, new specimens were found in remote areas of the Amazon rainforest. This interesting blood lizard has now been noticed by many researchers, and today we will learn more about it. Unfortunately, this species has become infamous, and most people turn their backs when they hear its name. But is the blood lizard’s bad reputation well deserved?

Why is it called Tyrannobdella rex?

The name literally means “tyrant king of leeches”. The species it evolved from  probably coexisted with the dinosaurs,  and they are believed to have shared habitat over 200 million years ago.

Blood-toothed teeth

There are four other species that also go by the abbreviated name T. rex: two fossils from the Miocene period (a beetle and a snail), an ant that lives in Malaysia and of course the famous dinosaur  Tyrannosaurus rex .

Characteristics of Tyrannobdella rex

This leech is smaller than a little finger, but its jaw and teeth are five times larger than those of other leeches. The tyrannobdella rex  belongs to a group of leeches from the family Praobdellidae. In addition to the Amazon rainforest, its members are found in Africa, the Middle East and Mexico.

This leech is not directly popular and is considered quite disgusting. However, they have existed on Earth long before man arose. It is likely to play an important role in the balance of the animal kingdom.

What does this blood lizard live on?

Researchers do not yet fully agree on what this hedgehog’s main victim is, and there are many suggestions. However, given that it is a leech, we can be sure that its favorite food is blood.

The species seems to prefer to get its nutrition from aquatic animals. They attach to the nose or mouth of mammals  and remain there for weeks while sucking blood. After that, they look for a new victim to attach to; but do not worry, because they never completely drain the victim of blood.

Examination of leech

Ancestors and relatives of this leech

The discovery of this leech was the start of a major challenge for researchers. They were forced to completely redo the phylogenetic grouping, comparing it to other families of leeches.

Because of these morphology and DNA,  it is a cousin of another species that lives in Mexico, Hirudinaria granulosa , where it enters the mouths of cattle.

It is also related to  Pintobdella chiapasensis –  another leech from Mexico, more specifically in Chiapas. This feeds mainly on tapirs but also infects livestock.

Other species of leeches are also closely related to the Tyrannobdella rex,  such as the  Dinobdella fereox,  which is native to India and Taiwan. This hedgehog is well known and feared because it has a habit of feeding on the mucous membranes of human body openings.

It is very likely that the common ancestor of all these leeches existed before the continents divided – that is, on the supercontinent Pangea. That would explain the fact that they have spread to so many places in the world.

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