Creature Feature – Sea Lamprey

Continuing with spooky season, in honour of Halloween, this week’s featured creature is the Sea Lamprey!

An ancient Atlantic fish, they are a jawless, and parasitic species. There are 38 species of lamprey, all of which lack scales, fins, and gill covers. Like sharks, their skeletons are made of cartilage.

Sea Lamprey

Taxonomy

Scientific Name: Petromyzon marinus

Phylum: Chordata

Order: Petromyzontiformes

Family: Petromyzontidae

Genus: Petromyzon

Sea Lamprey Fact File

? Size: Individuals can reach lengths of 1.2m and weigh up to 2.5kg

? Distribution: This species is native to the northern and western Atlantic Ocean

? Diet: Juveniles feed on algae, bacteria and detritus whilst the adult diet is comprised of bony fish

? Behaviour: They are migratory, and lay their eggs in clean, sandy gravel in rivers. The young larvae then move to the soft marginal silt of the river to grow and feed. When they are ready they will migrate to sea and start to feed parasitically on other fish by attaching themselves with their sucker-like mouths. They then migrate back into freshwater to spawn, after which they die

? IUCN Status: Least Concern. No large-scale threats are currently recorded