Lamprey Fish : Two New Species
A recent study has uncovered two potential new species of lamprey fish in California waters.
- Lampreys are boneless, jawless fish with eel-like bodies that date back over 350 million years.
- They belong to a relic (primitive) group of jawless fish called Agnathans.
- They live in coastal and fresh waters and are found in temperate regions around the world, except Africa.
- Unlike “bony” fish like trout, cod, and herring, lampreys lack scales, fins, and gill covers.
- They breathe through a distinctive row of seven pairs of tiny gill openings located behind their mouths and eyes.
- Like sharks, their skeletons are made of cartilage.
- Lamprey’s jawless mouth is a circular, fleshy sucker filled with hundreds of small teeth and a rasping tongue.
- They are migratory fish, moving between fresh and saltwater to complete their lifecycle.
- They spend most of their lives at sea and only move into freshwater to spawn and for their juvenile life stage.
- They attach themselves to large animals like fish and whales using their sucker mouth. They feed as parasites, rasping into the host’s flesh with their sharp teeth and sucking out blood.