Macrobdella sestertia Whitman, 1886

New England medicinal leech



Taxonomy & Nomenclature



Conservation Status

Rediscovered in or before 1977 (Smith, 1977). May be missing since (Carlson & Phillips, 2020)



Maine, Massachusetts (eastern) & New Hampshire


Biology & Ecology










Original scientific description:

Whitman, C. O. (1886). The leeches of Japan. Part I. The ten-eyed leeches, or the Hirudinidae. Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science (New Series, No. 103) 26(part 3): 317-416, pls. 17-21.


Other references:

Barnes, Robert D. (1987). Invertebrate Zoology. Fifth Edition. Saunders College Publishing, New York, New York. 893 pp.

Carlson, Colin J. and Phillips, Anna J. (2020). Is the New England medicinal leech (Macrobdella sestertia) extinct? Biological Conservation
243: 108495. [Abstract]

NatureServe. (2015). NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available (Accessed: May 24, 2016).

Phillips, Anna J., Sals-Montiel, Ricardo and Oceguera-Figueroa, Alejandro. (2016). Distribution of the New England Medicinal Leech, Macrobdella sestertia Whitman, 1886 and redeterminations of specimens of Macrobdella (Annelida: Clitellata: Macrobdellidae) at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 129(1): 103-113. [Abstract]

Poly, William J. (2018). Range Extension for the Elusive New England Medicinal Leech, Macrobdella sestertia Whitman, 1886 (Hirudinida: Macrobdellidae), in South Carolina, U.S.A., with Notes on Morphology, Coloration, and Biology. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, ser. 4, 64(12): 347-359, 8 figs.

Smith, D. G. (1977). The rediscovery of Macrobdella sestertia Whitman (Hirudinea: Hirudinidae). Journal of Parasitology 63(4): 759-760.

Smith, D. G. and Hanlon, S. (1997). Macrobella sestertia (Hirudinea: Hirudinidae) in Maine and a key to the hirudiniform leeches of Maine. Northeastern Naturalist 4(4): 231-236.

Thorp, J. H. and Covich, A. P. (eds). (1991). Ecology and classification of North American freshwater invertebrates. Academic Press, Inc., Boston, MA. 911 pp.


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