Lamprey

(Esox masquinongy)

Lampreys (sometimes inaccurately called lamprey eels) are an ancient extant lineage of jawless fish. The adult lamprey may be characterized by a toothed, funnel-like sucking mouth. The common name "lamprey" is probably derived from Latin lampetra, which may mean "stone licker" (lambere "to lick" + petra "stone"), though the etymology is uncertain. The plural form lamprey is sometimes seen.

Adults superficially resemble eels in that they have scaleless, elongated bodies, and can range from 13 to 100 cm (5 to 40 inches) in length. Lacking paired fins, adult lampreys have large eyes, one nostril on the top of the head, and seven gill pores on each side of the head.

INVASIVE SPECIES:  Sea lampreys have become a major pest in the North American Great Lakes. It is generally believed that they gained access to the lakes via canals during the early 20th century, but this theory is controversial. They are considered an invasive species, have no natural enemies in the lakes, and prey on many species of commercial value, such as lake trout.

lamprey.jpg