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The following just feeds into my list of ridiculous but possible paranoia.

According to a journal entry in PloS One, the Tyrannobdella rex (tyrant leech king) is a new species of leech best known for its “ferociously large teeth.” The critter is less than two inches long and favors nestling in the nasal cavities of its victims.

Anecdotal reports state victims found a “black mass” inside their nasal cavity. Local doctors can successfully remove these leeches with little or no serious consequence to the patient.

These leeches have been found in the upper regions of the Amazon in Peru.

As such, if you happen to wade in the rivers or lakes of Peru, these animals can enter your body through different orifices. By all accounts, a most unpleasant experience.

I suggest you avoid the Amazon altogether unless you are viewing it on film or by air.

For more information, read the full journal article in this PLoS ONE page.

April 15, 2010

Photo credit: Phillips, et al. / PLoS ONE 2010