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SCIENCE FILE | In Brief

Rare leech could be near extinction

September 08, 2007|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

A rare European leech seems to be headed toward extinction as global warming dries out its Austrian forest home, scientists reported this week in the journal Naturwissenschaften.

Researchers at German and Austrian universities found only one juvenile leech in birch forests near Graz, Austria, in searches from 2001 to 2005. Scientists had found 20 in the same forests in the 1960s. A five-degree rise in average summer temperatures since the 1960s dried out the forests where leeches lived.

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