Turns Out I’m 100 Percent That Leech

Photo: Paul Fetters/Smithsonian

It’s the last week of August. Did you know I haven’t been on vacation yet this summer? Did you know I’m about to finally go on vacation? And do you know who I’m going to channel while I’m on vacation?

This truly gorgeous leech with three jaws and 59 teeth.

She was recently discovered in a Maryland swamp, and, yes, she has more jaws and therefore more teeth than you or I could ever dream of. Yes, she hops onto your body and sucks your blood without asking for your permission.

The new species has finally been recognized, after being ignored in favor of all the other leech species for no reason. No longer “overlooked,” according to the parasitic worms curator who found and named the Macrobdella mimicus, this three-jawed queen is getting the recognition she deserves — for having an absolutely horrifying number of jaws and teeth.

Unlike some people, I don’t mind being compared to a parasite. I read about this leech and thought, Yes. Her. Like a capable, boneless mucus-secretor, I’m prepared to suck out the last dregs of summer like my little worm body depends on it. Leeches “come in very stealthy,” per the worm’s curator, and they “use their tail sucker, which is a muscle, to attach and then spread their mouth out and bite.” And a leech can suck two to five times its body weight in blood. Damn.

I don’t know about you, but slap me onto the end of summer like a hot new leech, finally getting her due, holding on for dear life to the last gasp of the season with my three jaws and 59 teeth, because I’m worth it — and, yes, I’m a leech. Jealous?

Turns Out I’m 100 Percent That Leech