First Record of a Cavernous Land Leech Sinospelaeobdella cavatuses (Hirudinda: Haemadipsidae) from Thailand


  • Teerapong Seesamut Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Rangsit University, Pathum Thani 12000, THAILAND
  • Ratmanee Chanabun Program in Animal Science, Faculty of Agricultural Technology, Sakon Nakhon Rajabhat University, Sakon Nakhon 47000, THAILAND; Biodiversity and Utilization Research Unit, Center of Excellence in Modern Agriculture, Sakon Nakhon Rajabhat University, Sakon Nakhon 47000, THAILAND
  • Natdanai Likhitrakarn Program of Agriculture, Faculty of Agricultural Production, Maejo University, Chiang Mai 50290, THAILAND
  • Warut Siriwut Animal Systematics and Molecular Ecology Laboratory, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10400, THAILAND
  • Ruttapon Srisonchai Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen 40002, THAILAND
  • Arthit Pholyotha Animal Systematics Research Unit, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, THAILAND
  • Chirasak Sutcharit Animal Systematics Research Unit, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, THAILAND
  • Ekgachai Jeratthitikul Animal Systematics and Molecular Ecology Laboratory, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10400, THAILAND


Cave-dwelling bat, DNA barcoding, Land leeches, Sinospelaeobdella, Thailand


Sixteen specimens of cavernous land leeches collected from a cave in Chiang Mai Province, northern Thailand, were examined by integrating morphological and molecular analyses. A phylogenetic tree based on COI sequences nested these specimens within the clade of the cavernous land leech Sinospelaeobdella cavatuses (Yang, Mo & Wang, 2009), bloodsucking leech that feeds exclusively on cave-dwelling bats, recently described from China and now representing the first record of a cavernous leech species in Thailand. Average genetic distance between Thai and Laotian specimens (4.02% P-distance) was higher than between Thailand and Chinese specimens (0.95% P-distance). Morphological description of Thai specimens is provided. Thai materials showed smaller body dimensions than the range reported in recent studies on this species.


Bolger, T. and Ellis, M. 2015. An overview of caves and caving in Thailand. Asian Transkarst Conference, Lichuan, Hubei, China, November 6–8, 2015, Proceedings, Lichuan, 203–207.

Borda, E., Oceguera-Figueroa, A. and Siddall, M.E. 2008. On the classification, evolution and biogeography of terrestrial haema-dipsoid leeches (Hirudinida: Arhynchobdellida: Hirudinifor-mes). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 46(1): 142–154.

Borda, E. and Siddall, M.E. 2010. Insights into the evolutionary history of Indo-Pacific blood feeding terrestrial leeches (Hirudinida: Arhynchobdellida: Haemadipisdae). Invertebrate Systematics, 24(5): 456–472.

Brigić, A., Medak, K., Rebrina, F., Jelić, M., Alegro, A. and Kerovec, M. 2022. Ecology and Biology of the Rare Endemic Land Leech Xerobdella anulata (Xerobdellidae). Diversity, 14, 701.

Chatterjee, N., Dhar, B., Bhattarcharya, D., Deori, S., Doley, J., Bam, J., Das, P.J., Bera, A.K., Deb, S.M., Devi, N.N., Paul, R., Malvika, S. and Ghosh, S.K. 2018. Genetic assessment of leech species from yak (Bos grunniens) in the tract of Northeast India, Mitochondrial DNA Part A, 29(1): 73–81.

De Vivo, A., LoMastro, F. and Piccini, L. 2005. Namun: grotte d’oriente. Kur Magazine, 5: 6–16.

Frézal, L. and Leblois, R. 2008. Four years of DNA barcoding: Current advances and prospects. Infection, Genetics and Evolution, 8(5): 727–736.

Folmer, O., Black, M., Hoeh, W., Lutz, R. and Vrijenhoek, R. 1994. DNA primers for amplification of mitochondrial cyto-chrome c oxidase subunit I from diverse metazoan inverte-brates. Molecular Marine Biology and Biotechnology, 3(5): 294–299.

Hebert, P.D.N., Cywinska, A. and Ball, S.L. 2003. Biological identifications through DNA barcodes. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 270: 313–321.

Huang, T., Liu, Z., Gong, X., Wu, T., Liu, H., Deng, J., Zhang, Y., Peng, Q., Zhang, L. and Liu, Z. 2019. Vampire in the darkness: A new genus and species of land leech exclusively blood-sucking cave-dwelling bats from China (Hirudinda: Arhyn-chobdellida: Haemadipsidae). Zootaxa, 4560(2): 257–272.

Jeratthitikul, E., Bantaowong, U. and Panha, S. 2017. DNA barcoding of the Thai species of terrestrial earthworms in the genera Amynthas and Metaphire (Haplotaxida: Megascole-cidae). European Journal of Soil Biology, 81: 39–47.

Jeratthitikul, E., Jiranuntskul, P., Nakano, T., Sutcharit, C. and Panha, S. 2020. A new species of buffalo leech in the genus Hirudinaria Whitman, 1886 (Arhynchobdellida, Hirudinidae) from Thailand. ZooKeys, 933: 1–14.

Jiranuntskul, P., Boonporn, A., Kongrit, C., Panha, S. and Jeratthi-tikul, E. 2022. Biodiversity of the buffalo leeches genus Hirudi-naria (Arhynchobdellida, Hirudinidae) in southern Thailand revealed from DNA barcoding. Zoological Studies, 61: 84.

Kumar, S., Stecher, G., Li, M., Knyaz, C. and Tamura, K. 2018. MEGA X: Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis across computing platforms. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 35(6): 1547–1549.

Kutschera, U., Pfeiffer, I. and Ebermann, E. 2007. The European land leech: biology and DNA-Bbased taxonomy of a rare species that is threatened by climate warming. Naturwissen-schaften, 94: 967–974.

Lai, Y., Nakano, T., and Chen, J. 2011. Three species of land leeches from Taiwan, Haemadipsa rjukjuana comb. n., a new record for Haemadipsa picta Moore, and an updated description of Tritetrabdella taiwana (Oka). ZooKeys, 139: 1–22.

Merckx, V.S.F.T., Hendriks, K.P., Beentjes, K.K., Mennes, C.B., Becking, L.E., Peijnenburg, K.T.C.A. et al. 2015. Evolution of endemism on a young tropical mountain. Nature, 524, 347–350.

Miller, M.A., Pfeiffer, W. and Schwartz, T. 2012. The CIPRES Science Gateway: Enabling high-impact science for phyloge-netics researchers with limited resources. In: Proceedings of the 1st Conference of the Extreme Science and Engineering Disco-very Environment. Bridging from the extreme to the campus and beyond. Association for Computing Machinery, USA, 1–8.

Nakano, T., Eto, K., Nishikawa, K., Hossman, M.Y. and Jeratthi-tikul, E. 2018. Systematic revision of the Southeast Asian macrophagous leeches, with the description of two new gastrostomobdellid species (Hirudinida: Arhynchobdellida: Erpobdelliformes), Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 184(1): 1–30.

Nakano, T., Jeratthitikul, E., Nguyen, T.T., and Panha, S. 2016. A new species of Tritetrabdella (Hirudinida: Hirudiniformes: Haemadipsidae) from northern Indochina. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, 64: 105–116.

Nakano, T., Suzuki, H., Suzuki, N., Kimura, Y., Sato, T., Kamigai-chi, H., Tomita, N. and Yamasaki, T. 2020. Host–parasite relationships between seabirds and the haemadipsid leech Chtonobdella palmyrae (Annelida: Clitellata) inhabiting oceanic islands in the Pacific Ocean. Parasitology 147(14): 1765–1773.

Ngamprasertwong, T., Thirakhupt, K. and Panha, S. 2005. Notes on land leeches biology in Thailand (Hirudiniformes: Haemadip-sidae). The Natural History Journal of Chulalongkorn Univer-sity, 5: 97–98.

Ngamprasertwong, T., Thirakhupt, K. and Panha, S. 2007. Two new species of land leeches from Thailand (Hirudiniformes: Haemadipsidae). The Natural History Journal of Chulalongkorn University, 7: 155–159.

Okanishi, M., Sentoku, A., Martynov, A. and Fujita, T. 2018. A new cryptic species of Asteronyx Müller and Troschel, 1842 (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea), based on molecular phylogeny and morphology, from off Pacific Coast of Japan. Zoologischer Anzeiger, 274: 14–33.

Seesamut, T., Sutcharit, C., Jirapatrasilp, P., Chanabun, R. and Panha, S. 2018. Morphological and molecular evidence reveal a new species of the earthworm genus Pontodrilus Perrier, 1874 (Clitellata, Megascolecidae) from Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia. Zootaxa, 4496(1): 218–237.

Singh, M., Griaud, C. and Collins, C.M. 2021. An evaluation of the effectiveness of protected areas in Thailand. Ecological Indica-tors, 125(9): 107536.

Smith, M.A., Wood, D.M., Janzen, D.H., Hallwachs, W. and Hebert, P.D. 2007. DNA barcodes affirm that 16 species of apparently generalist tropical parasitoid flies (Diptera, Tachi-nidae) are not all generalists. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(12): 4967–4972.

Stamatakis, A. 2014. RAxML Version 8: A tool for phylogenetic analysis and post-analysis of large phylogenies. Bioinformatics, 30(9): 1312–1313.

Won, S., Park, B.K., Kim, B.J., Kim, H.W., Kang, J.G., Park, T.S., Seo, H.Y., Eun, Y., Kim, K.G., Chae, J.S. et al. 2014. Mole-cular identification of Haemadipsa rjukjuana (Hirudiniformes: Haemadipsidae) in Gageo Island, Korea. The Korean Journal of Parasitology, 52(2):169–175.

Yang, T., Mo, X. and Wang, D.B. 2009. A new species of cavernous blood-sucking land leech (Hirudinea, Haemadip-sidae) in the west of Yunnan Province, China. Zoological Systematics, 34: 125–129. [in Chinese]




How to Cite

Seesamut, T., Chanabun, R., Likhitrakarn, N., Siriwut, W., Srisonchai, R., Pholyotha, A., Sutcharit, C. and Jeratthitikul, E. 2023. First Record of a Cavernous Land Leech Sinospelaeobdella cavatuses (Hirudinda: Haemadipsidae) from Thailand. Tropical Natural History. 7 (May 2023), 213–220.



Original Articles