#Biodiversity150 number 28 of 150 Sea lamprey

28/150: Vampires of the Sea (and your worst nightmare)

animalia: Chordata: Cephalaspidomorphi: Petromyzontiformes: Petromyzontidae: Petromyzon: Petromyzon marinus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Sea Lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) look like eels but don’t be fooled! They are jawless and have concentric circles of teeth in their horrifying, suction-cup like mouth. They are a predatory species and they attach on to the side of a fish, tear away its skin, and suck out its blood. The fish will most likely die of infection, blood loss, or by being weakened greatly and becoming prey for something else. Lampreys are native to oceans and freshwater lakes in the Northern Hemisphere but are invasive in the Great Lakes. They invaded in the early 20th century and have caused enormous declines in ecologically and economically important fish species, such as the lake trout. They are part of a binational control program between USA and Canada using trapping, lampricide, and low-head barrier dams to prevent their spread. Lampreys are actually a delicacy in some parts of Europe; the Queen was given a lamprey pie made from Canadian lampreys for her Diamond Jubilee gift. I like pie, but that’s definitely not a pie I would eat! #Canada150 #Biodiversity150

Specimen 06-196 – Eastern Scotian Shelf – Nova Scotia Photo Credit: CBG Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics
Petromyzon marinus mouth of death. These vampires of the sea use their teeth and sharp probing tongue to suck the blood of unsuspecting fish. Photo Credit: Drow male goo.gl/2dI3ih
Emelia Myles-Gonzalez with a Sea Lamprey suctioned to her forehead. Apparently this is some sort of rite of passage within the McLaughlin lab at the University of Guelph. Photo Credit: Emelia Myles-Gonzalez

Here’s the barcode sequence information for this species:

Process ID:  SCFAC428-06

nucleotide sequence


amino acid sequence


Visual representation of DNA barcode sequence for Sea Lamprey

Learn more about it’s BIN (Barcode Index Number): BOLD:AAB3742