Leaping leeches! Video may show first-ever evidence blood-sucking creatures can jump

A new video shows what appears to be the first evidence of jumping land-dwelling leeches in Madagascar, Africa.

It was taken in 2017 by Mai Fahmy, who posted about the findings on Instagram on Thursday.

"What we have here is the first-ever recorded evidence to our knowledge of a terrestrial leech taking a jump," Fahmy said.

Fahmy, a postdoctoral researcher at Fordham University, delved into the discovery published Thursday in the peer-reviewed journal Biotropica titled, "A jumping terrestrial leech from Madagascar." She co-authored the study with Michael Tessler, an assistant professor at Medgar Evers College, part of the City University of New York.

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In the video, the blood-sucking creature jumps from one leaf to the other.

"First, the leech takes a preliminary, short jump across a section of the leaf it is perched on. The leech has a clear set-up for the jump, in which its body coils back, much like a cobra preparing to strike," the report, obtained by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, said. "This seemingly builds up, and likely maximizes, potential energy."

A second clip shows two leeches next to one another before one plops down. The researchers noted that the animals are a type of Chtonobdella leech.

"Our observations establish that at least two terrestrial leeches possess the musculature, coordination, and inclination to execute a jump," the study said, per the outlet.

According to Fahmy, scientists have debated whether leeches could jump for centuries. She referenced explorer Ibn Battuta, who documented a "flying leech" in the 14th century, and as the Scientific American reported, biologist Ernst Haeckel made a similar claim in the 1880s about leeches springing to "reach their victim."

"The lesson here is to take a moment to observe your surroundings," Fahmy stated in her Instagram video.

Taylor Ardrey is a news reporter for USA TODAY. You can reach her at tardrey@gannett.com.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Can leeches jump? Video shows first 'recorded evidence' they can