Photo: Anna Phillips, Smithsonian curator of parasitic worms (image) Smithsonian Share Print E-Mail Caption An international team of museum scientists led by Anna Phillips, the Smithsonian's curator of parasitic worms, describe Macrobdella mimicus, the first new species of medicinal leech discovered in over 40 years, in the Aug. 15 issue of the Journal of Parasitology. Phillips oversees more than 20 million specimens in the Smithsonian's parasite collection along with information about where each specimen was collected and from what hosts. Phillips is photographed above with some of the specimens from the collection. After the initial discovery of the new leeches from collecting in the field, Phillips quickly retrieved dozens of North American leeches stored in the Smithsonian's parasite collection and examined them closely. "All of a sudden, I started finding [the new species] everywhere," she said. The new leeches had been found in locations from northern Georgia to Long Island, New York, and preserved in the museum's collection for years. The oldest, Phillips said, dated back to 1937. Credit Paul Fetters for Smithsonian Usage Restrictions News-media use of these photos in relation to this study is permitted with attribution. Share Print E-Mail Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.