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Bloodsuckers For Science

Of the primary things that feed on human blood–mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, leeches, vampires, and vampire bats–only the latter two have any value. Vampire bats are cute and cuddly–well, they’re cute–and vampires keep us entertained. They also serve a psychologically healthy purpose in that they make the concept of death less frightening, easier to process; in that sense, they serve the exact same purpose as religion, so it isn’t surprising that vampirism today has morphed into a sort of religion all its own. Anyway, as far as beneficial bloodsuckers go, we can now add leeches to that list.

According to researcher Mark Siddall: “Our recent work has demonstrated that we can determine what mammals are in a protected area without hunting, without trapping, without the use of scat or hair samples, and especially without camera traps–all of which are problematic methods for one reason or another. Instead, by sequencing the host DNA that remains inside of terrestrial jungle leeches for months after feeding, we can out-perform all other methods of biodiversity monitoring in terms of accuracy, completeness, speed, and cost. We even get the small mammals that most other methods miss.”

There you have it. Let’s hear it for the leeches!

WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS (,, specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced and directed (and occasionally acted in) over a dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and Crime genres. His first novel, THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT CHRISTOPHER: WEREWOLF, is available for purchase here:


TheCheezman • March 27, 2018

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