Erpobdella obscura

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Erpobdella obscura
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Annelida
Class: Hirudinea
Order: Arhynchobdellida
Family: Erpobdellidae
Genus: Erpobdella
Species: E. obscura
Binomial name
Erpobdella obscura
(Verrill, 1872) [1]
  • Nephelopsis obscura Verrill, 1872

Erpobdella obscura is a freshwater ribbon leech common in North America. It is a relatively large leech and is commonly used as bait by anglers for walleye and other sport fish. In Minnesota, live bait dealers annually harvest over 45,000 kg of bait-leeches, raising concerns of over-harvest.[3]

Erpobdella obscura have semelparous life history, i.e., they die after reproduction. Generation length is from 12 to 24 months, with spring and summer generations occurring in some ponds.[4][5] It is not a blood-sucking leech but is a predator on other invertebrates.


  1. ^ "Nephelopsis obscura Verrill, 1872". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. 
  2. ^ Mark E. Siddall (2002). "Phylogeny of the leech family Erpobdellidae (Hirudinida : Oligochaeta)" (PDF). Invertebrate Systematics. 16: 1–6. 
  3. ^ Peterson, Dirk L.; Floyd A. Hennagir (1980). Minnesota Live Bait Industry Assessment Report. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. p. 89. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 
  4. ^ Davies, R. W.; Everett, R. P. (1977). "The life history, growth, and age structure of Nephelopsis obscura Verrill, 1872 (Hirudinoidea) in Alberta". Canadian Journal of Zoology. 55 (3): 620–627. doi:10.1139/z77-079. 
  5. ^ Peterson, Dirk L. (1983). "Life cycle and reproduction of Nephelopsis obscura Verrill (Hirudinea: Erpobdellidae) in permanent ponds of northwestern Minnesota". Freshwater Invertebrate Biology. 2 (4): 165–172. doi:10.2307/1467147. JSTOR 1467147.