Jun 06

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Shady Characters, Great Lakes Edition: Sea Lampreys

Blood-sucking vampire fish aren’t native to the Great Lakes, and yet…they’re heeeere! Listen up:


Teeth on teeth on teeth: lampreys are armed and ready vampires (via T. Lawrence, GLFC)

Sea lampreys, like many a scary-movie villain, attach themselves to other creatures and suck their blood and other body fluids. But instead of showing up on the silver screen, this invasive species is all over the Great Lakes.

Discovered in the Great Lakes in the 1800s, lampreys had invaded the entire system by the 1940s, devastating many once vibrant fisheries.

Ron Kinnunen of Michigan Sea Grant says lampreys spend the early part of their life cycle in local rivers: “They’re only out in the lake for a short time—about 12-18 months—where they mature into adults and during that time they can kill about 40 pounds of fish.”

A control program that includes chemicals, dams, and traps has reduced the lamprey population by 90 percent—allowing Great Lakes fisheries to recover.

Hear More:

Ron Kinnunen describes “lampricides”, chemicals used to control the growth and spread of sea lampreys in the early stages of life.

Get Schooled:

The fine print:




Permanent link to this article: http://www.currentcast.org/sustainable-fisheries/shady-characters-great-lakes-edition-sea-lampreys/