Common Name: Caspian lamprey

Scientific Name: Caspiomyzon wagneri

 

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Cephalaspidomorphi

Order: Petromyzontiformes

Family: Petromyzontidae

Genus: Caspiomyzon

Species: C. wagneri

 

 


 

Many creatures in the world have not been discovered yet, and are unknown to some parts of the world.  A Caspiomyzon wagneri, or Caspian lamprey is an animal that could fit into this category to some individuals.  This animal is not the most pleasant creature, and belongs to a small class.  It belongs to the class of jawless fish which are hagfish and lampreys. 

 

This type of lamprey resembles an eel, but has no jaw.  It may be jawless, but has hundreds of small teeth.  Among these rows of teeth are six to eight large dull ones.  This creature has a pair of eyes, one on each the side of its head.  Also, right below its eyes is a set of seven gills on each side.  It is a thin creature and has a mouth that looks somewhat like a sucker.  It has a form of a tail with a dorsal fin on its lower back, and a caudal fin on the tip of the tail.  The Caspian lamprey is not a common creature and is a rare find in its natural habitat..  Some sites do estimate that its average lifespan is six years of age and that males can grow up to 36.0 cm and females up to 37.0.

 

Caspian lampreys are not found around here in California.  This animal is found in segments of Europe and Asia.  One main place that the Caspian lamprey can be found is in the Caspian Sea near Asia.  As adults they live in the sea, yet when they spawn these slimy creatures travel up rivers or streams to lay their eggs.  These can only reproduce once in their lifetime, because once their eggs are laid their cloacas stay open, then become infected with fungus and soon die. When a mother does have eggs she can have as many as 35,000 to 100,000 eggs.  Even with a high egg production the population for these creatures is still poor.  The species is declining in population. 

 

These creatures are commonly found by sailors on their fishing boats linked to fish they have caught. Hardly, ever the animals are caught in multiplies.  The creatures are endangered, and are disappearing in some areas of Europe.  So, no definite number of population is known for this type of lamprey.  As of now no conservations acts are affirmed on this creature.  Some people may be trying to wipe out the lamprey because it could be harming some fishing industries.  This could be possible since the Caspian lamprey is currently endangered.

 

They do have a complete digestive system with no distinct stomach but a long gut that runs the length of its body.  These creatures attach to fish similar to the way leeches stick to their prey.  These animals will mainly hunt for fish and other mammals for food.  Sadly for the fish they cannot remove the lamprey from the sides of their bodies once the lamprey is attach to them.  They mainly eat the flesh of the fish, and some of the meat inside. They end up shredding their food (mostly fish) to pieces with their hundreds of sharp dagger-like teeth.  All lampreys are parasitic feeding off other living creatures.  Still these animals do not constantly need large amounts of food since their metabolism is slow.  No animal-like predators are known for consuming this animal.  This animal is a parasite, so nothing would probably want to nor be able to eat this creature.  This lamprey’s most common predator is mankind.  We do not hunt them as food; we are trying to remove them from our fishing environments.

 

In addition all lampreys are very unique, and unlike any other animal of all vertebrates.  The Caspian lamprey should hopefully be researched more by biologist.  The species has a life style of eating and reproducing.  They have no other main purpose,  and after all it is a parasite living off other creatures.  The Caspian lamprey is a very abnormal animal with a particular lifestyle.

 

 

Author: Haley B.

Published: February  2013

 

Sources:Cohen, Daniel M. "The Fishes: A Survey of the Largest Vertebrate Group" The Book of Popular Science.  New York: The Golier Society Inc., 1964. 93-94. Print

 

Michaelis, Ramona R. "Lamprey." Grolier Universal Encyclopedia. 6. New York: 1965.

 

Freyhof, J. & Kottelat, M. 2008. Caspiomyzon wagneri. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 20 February 2013.

 

Krock, Lexi. "Other Fish in the Sea." NOVA beta. Public Broadcast Service, 1 01, 13. Web. 19 Feb 2013. <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/nature/other-fish-sea.html>.