From the crop of the medicinal leech, Hirudo medicinalis, only Aeromonas veronii bv. sobria can be cultured consistently. Serum-sensitive A. veronii mutants were unable to colonize H. medicinalis, indicating the importance of the mammalian complement system for this unusual simplicity. Complementation of one selected mutant restored its ability to colonize. Serum-sensitive mutants are the first mutant class with a colonization defect for this symbiosis.