From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Europäischer-Platt-Egel cropped.jpg
Helobdella europaea
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Annelida
Class: Clitellata
Subclass: Hirudinea
Order: Rhynchobdellida
Family: Glossiphoniidae
Genus: Helobdella
Blanchard, 1896

see text

Helobdella is a genus of leeches in the family Glossiphoniidae, the freshwater jawless leeches. They occur worldwide.[1]

These are small, flat leeches which do not feed on blood.[2]

Several species in this genus are used as model organisms in the study of developmental biology.[1]

It has been difficult to define species in this genus without DNA analysis. Like other leeches in this family, some Helobdella species are polymorphic, coming in different colors and patterns. On the other hand, some uniformly colored species are actually cryptic species complexes that may be divided into separate species with genetic analysis.[2]

As of 2004 there were approximately 40 described species, with species being described and reclassified continually.[3]

Species include:[2]