Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Guide to New Zealand's freshwater invertebrates

Leeches ( Salifidae : Barbronia )

Diagnostic features

Barbronia weberi is an introduced leech found mainly in ponds and slow flowing streams. Like other leeches they are visibly segmented, very flexible and there is a suction disc at the tail end. Barbronia is more elongated than most freshwater leeches, and they have a distinctive pattern of six eyes (see bottom photo).

Typical habitats

Many of our records of Barbronia have come from urban stormwater treatment ponds, but they are also known from slow-flowing weedy streams.


The salifid family of leeches are predators of other freshwater invertebrates.

Indicator value

Barbronia are common in some Auckland stormwater treatment ponds so they appear to be quite pollution tolerant. This genus has not been assigned tolerance values but the Subclass Hirudinea (leeches) have low tolerance values of 3 (hard bottom sites) and 1.2 (soft bottom sites).