Fourteen species of aquatic birds, including 11 species of ducks, were infested with leeches Theromyzon rude and Placobdella ornata near Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Leeches infested 88% of 41 American Wigeon (Anas americana) and 31% of 86 Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis) examined after death. Lesser Scaup captured by drive-trapping contained significantly more leeches than undisturbed ducks. Leeches were attached to the host within the mucosa of the nasal chamber, to the conjunctiva of the eye and on the skin of the body. Although only two deaths of ducklings were directly attributed to leech infestations, other birds probably died as a result of parasitism by leeches.
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Leech (Hirudinea) infestations among waterfowl near Yellowknife, Northwest Territories