Common Name: Sea Lampreys

Scientific Name: Petromyzon marinus


Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Cephalaspidomorphi

Order: Petromyzontiformes

Family: Petromyzontidae

Genius: Petromyzon

Species: P. marinus




General Information: Sea Lampreys are blood thirsty eel like animals that live in the sea. They were first discovered in Lake Ontario in 1835. Then they were discovered in Lake Eire in 1921, Lake Huron in 1932, and Lake Michigan in 1936, and at the end in Lake Superior in 1946. They are jawless fish which come in many colors. Sea Lampreys come in grey-blue back, some violet on the sides, and silver-white at the bottom. These animals usually grow up to be 84 centimeters (2.8 feet) and weigh up to be 8 to 13 ounces. You don’t want to mess with this teeth filled mouth parasite.


Eating: Lampreys have caused many destructive things during their appearance. A Sea Lamprey can kill more than 40 pounds of fish. Sea Lampreys feed on different types of marine animals especially large fish like lake trout, salmon, cat fish, and even sturgeon. To catch their prey they get ready for whatever their preys are to come. Then they open their teeth filled mouth and attach to their prey. Sea Lampreys then stay attached to their prey sucking on their blood and other body tissues until the prey is dead. By the early 1940’s some fishes’ population were going down.


Reproduction: Females will attach themselves to a stone next to the nest and the male will wrap his body around the female. This allows their “private parts” to be in close contact. Spawning occurs every 5-10 minutes and the adults continue making their nest. The female lays about 60,000 eggs on average and only 14% of those eggs will make it to the nest. When the eggs are in the nest they only have a 90% chance of hatching and living. After this big step of an adult lamprey’s life cycle they will die.


Author: Ricardo M.

Date Published: April 2006