The neurobiology of feeding in leeches

Sci Am. 1988 Jun;258(6):98-103. doi: 10.1038/scientificamerican0688-98.


How does a simple nervous system control a behavior? In the bloodsucking medicinal leech a single neurotransmitter, serotonin, has been found to orchestrate the animal's search for a target, the movements of its jaws, the filling of its crop and even the distension of its body that eventually tells the leech enough is enough.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Leeches / anatomy & histology
  • Leeches / physiology*
  • Nervous System / cytology
  • Nervous System Physiological Phenomena
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Serotonin / physiology


  • Serotonin