Petromyzon marinus (sea lamprey)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Biology and Ecology
- Latitude/Altitude Ranges
- Water Tolerances
- Natural enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Causes
- Pathway Vectors
- Impact Summary
- Economic Impact
- Environmental Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Links to Websites
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Petromyzon marinus Linnaeus, 1758
Preferred Common Name
- sea lamprey
Other Scientific Names
- Ammocoetes bicolor Lesueur, 1818
- Batymyzon bairdii Gill, 1883
- Lampetra marina Linnaeus, 1758
- Oceanomyzon wilsoni Fowler, 1908
- Petromyzon adriaticus Nardo, 1847
- Petromyzon americanus Lesueur, 1818
- Petromyzon bairdii Gill, 1883
- Petromyzon concolor Wright, 1892
- Petromyzon lampetra Pallas, 1814
- Petromyzon maculosus Gronow, 1854
- Petromyzon marinus dorsatus Wilder, 1883
- Petromyzon marinus unicolor Gage, 1928
- Petromyzon maximus Cuvier, 1816
- Petromyzon nigricans Lesueur, 1818
- Petromyzon rubber Lacepède, 1800
International Common Names
- Spanish: lamprea de mar
- French: lamproie marine
Local Common Names
- Albania: kavall deti; peshk kavall
- Belgium: lamproie marine
- Canada/Quebec: lamproie
- Croatia: paklara
- Czech Republic: mihule morská
- Denmark: havlampret; havniøje
- Faroe Islands: kjølsúgari; súgari
- Finland: merinahkiainen
- France: anguille musique; grande lamproie; lamparda; lampre; lampré; lampreda; lampresa; lamprez; lampria; lamproia; lamproie de mer; lamproie marbrée; lamprua; pesciu pece; sept-œil; suce-pierre; suchja pece
- Germany: Große Lamprete; Großes Neunauge; Meerneunauge; Neunaugenkönig; Seelamprete
- Greece: petromyzon
- Iceland: sæsteinsuga
- Ireland: an loimpre mhara; lamproie
- Italy: lampreda di mare
- Latvia: morskaja minoga
- Malta: buwahhal; qalfat; sangisug
- Netherlands: zeeprik
- Norway: havniøye
- Poland: minóg morski
- Portugal: lampreia do mar; lampreia-do-mar; lampreira marinha
- Romania: chiscar de mare
- Russian Federation: morskaya minoga
- Serbia: morska paklara
- Slovakia: mihula morská
- Slovenia: morski piskor; morski piškur
- Spain: amprea; amprega; chucladit; ferrêtimo; lampardia; lamprea; lampreia; llamprea; llampresa; llampresa de mar; pegatimôn; xuclador
- Sweden: havsnejonöga
- Switzerland: lamprete
- Turkey: derebofa baligi
- UK: great sea lamprey; green sea lamprey; marine lamprey; nannie nine eyes; stone sucker
- USA: eel sucker; green lamprey; lamper; lamprey eel; nine eyes; shad lamprey; spotted lamprey
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
P. marinus in native to both sides of the North Atlantic Ocean, but has now invaded the Great Lakes in North America. It has the ability to disrupt the community trophic structure through interactions with key species, which could result in cascading effects that alter the species composition of the environment. The parasitic phase of reproductively immature P. marinus has contributed to dramatic reductions and extirpations of populations of large predatory fish such as lake trout in the Great Lakes, resulting in drastic changes throughout food web and contribute to collapse of regional fisheries and large scale disruptions of the aquatic community.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Chordata
- Subphylum: Vertebrata
- Class: Cephalaspidomorphi
- Order: Petromyzontiformes
- Family: Petromyzontidae
- Genus: Petromyzon
- Species: Petromyzon marinus
DescriptionTop of page
P. marinusis an eel-like jawless fish with a soft cartilaginous skeleton. In the adult, the jaws are rudimentary, the mouth being a longitudinal slit when closed, but forming an elliptical disk at the tip of the snout when open, armed with many horny, hooked teeth arranged in numerous (11 to 12) rows, the innermost the largest (Bigelow and Schroeder, 2002).It has no scales and no paired fins, but has two close dorsal fins, seven gill openings on each side (Page and Burr, 1991; Jenkins and Burkhead, 1994), whereas the hag has only one gill pore on each side, and only one fin (Bigelow and Schroeder, 2002). P. marinus has a grey-blue back, metallic violet body colour on sides, shading to silver-white underneath and skin is often marbled. During the breeding season, the landlocked form takes on more brilliant hues, with the ground tint turning bright yellow (Bigelow and Schroeder, 2002).
Varying lengths and weights have been reported for P. marinus. Sexually mature individualsin the USA averaged 60-75 cm long, up to a maximum of about 90 cm (Bigelow and Schroeder, 2002). However, maximum reported total length is as long as 120 cm (Page and Burr, 1991). P. marinus at 30-50 cm in length weighed 225-340 g, and at 98 cm in length weighing 1100 g (Bigelow and Schroeder, 2002). The maximum published weight and age of P. marinus is 2.5 kg (Bristow, 1992) and 9 years old (Froese and Pauly, 2008).
The larvae are different in appearance from the adults. Larvae are blind, toothless, with mouths and fins of different shape (Bigelow and Schroeder, 2002).
DistributionTop of page
P. marinus is native to the east coast of North America from Labrador to the Gulf of Mexico, the north-east Atlantic coast from Norway, Iceland and the Barents Sea, to northern Africa, and the Mediterranean Sea (Page and Burr, 1991). The distribution table indicates it as native throughout the Mediterranean Sea, however, its exact status and limits of the native range in the Mediterranean is uncertain, and it is considered absent in the Black Sea.
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Turkey||Absent, formerly present||Not invasive||Bilecenoglu et al., 2002||Status of threat: Regionally extinct|
|Canada||Present||Native||Coker et al., 2001||Native species ranging from Quebec to Newfoundland and Sable Island; introduced to Ontario|
|-New Brunswick||Present||Native||Coker et al., 2001|
|-Newfoundland and Labrador||Present||Native||Coker et al., 2001|
|-Nova Scotia||Present||Native||Coker et al., 2001|
|-Ontario||Present||Introduced||Coker et al., 2001|
|-Prince Edward Island||Present||Native||Coker et al., 2001|
|-Quebec||Present||Native||Coker et al., 2001|
|Greenland||Localised||Native||Not invasive||Robins and , 1986||Seen once at Cape Farewell where three specimens were found clinging to the side of a ship|
|Mexico||Present||Native||Page and Burr, 1991|
|USA||Widespread||Native||Invasive||Page and Burr, 1991||A serious pest in landlocked areas|
|-Connecticut||Present||Native||Not invasive||Fuller et al., 2008|
|-Delaware||Present||Native||Not invasive||Fuller et al., 2008|
|-Florida||Present||Native||Not invasive||Fuller et al., 2008|
|-Georgia||Present||Native||Not invasive||Fuller et al., 2008|
|-Maine||Present||Native||Not invasive||Fuller et al., 2008|
|-Maryland||Present||Native||Not invasive||Fuller et al., 2008|
|-Massachusetts||Present||Native||Not invasive||Fuller et al., 2008|
|-New Hampshire||Present||Native||Not invasive||Fuller et al., 2008|
|-New Jersey||Present||Native||Not invasive||Fuller et al., 2008|
|-New York||Present||Smith, 1985; Fuller et al., 2008||Native to coastal areas, introduced and invasive in inland areas|
|-North Carolina||Present||Native||Not invasive||Fuller et al., 2008|
|-Pennsylvania||Present||Emery, 1985; Froese and Pauly, 2008||Native to coastal areas, introduced and invasive in inland areas|
|-Rhode Island||Present||Native||Not invasive||Fuller et al., 2008|
|-South Carolina||Present||Native||Not invasive||Fuller et al., 2008|
|-Vermont||Present||Native||Not invasive||Fuller et al., 2008|
|-Virginia||Present||Native||Not invasive||Fuller et al., 2008|
|Belgium||Present||Native||Muus and Dahlström, 1978|
|Czech Republic||Absent, formerly present||Not invasive||Lusk and Hanel, 2000||Occured in Vltava and Otava rivers|
|Denmark||Widespread||Native||Muus and Dahlstrøm, 1989||Spawns in larger streams and rivers throughout the country|
|Estonia||Present||Anon, 1999||Considered a stray species in the Estonian Baltic|
|Faroe Islands||Present, few occurrences||Native||Not invasive||Joensen and Vedel, 1970||Two known specimens - one sent to the Royal Museum of Natural History, Denmark, and one found in the sea east of Nólsoy 9 Nov. 1894, where it adhered to the rudder of a boat|
|Finland||Present, few occurrences||Native||Not invasive||Koli, 1990||A total of about 20 specimens caught in Finland, mostly in the Gulf of Finland. Considered as rare in its northern distribution.|
|France||Widespread||Native||Keith and Allardi, 2001||Occurs in all large rivers and coastal rivers but its wide area of distribution over France has been reduced because of the dams built on the waterways.|
|Germany||Localised||Native||Not invasive||Muus and Dahlström, 1968||Found in the Elbe Estuary. Endangered in 1984 . Critically endangered in 1992. Protected year-round in Schleswig-Holstein in 1997. Recorded from ballast water in commercial vessels with destination port in Germany.|
|Gibraltar||Present||Native||Muus and Dahlström, 1978|
|Greece||Present||Native||Vladykov, 1984||Doubtful presence along Ionian Sea|
|Iceland||Present||Native||Not invasive||Jonsson, 1992|
|Ireland||Widespread||Native||Muus and Dahlström, 1978|
|Isle of Man (UK)||Present||Native||Vladykov, 1984|
|Italy||Present||Native||Muus and Dahlström, 1978|
|Latvia||Present, few occurrences||Native||Not invasive||Blanc et al., 1971|
|Lithuania||Present, few occurrences||Native||Not invasive||Blanc et al., 1971|
|Malta||Present, few occurrences||Native||Not invasive||Vladykov, 1984|
|Netherlands||Present, few occurrences||Native||Not invasive||Nijssen and Groot, 1974|
|Norway||Present||Native||Muus and Dahlström, 1978|
|Poland||Present, few occurrences||Native||Not invasive||Vladykov, 1984|
|Portugal||Present||Native||Collares-Pereira et al., 2000||Found in Tagus estuary|
|-Madeira||Present||Native||Ribeiro et al., 2005|
|Russian Federation||Present||Native||Reshetnikov et al., 1997||Reported from the Gulf of Finland, the Narova and Luga rivers as well as in the Gulf of Kola and in the Ura River. Very rarely in the Baltic.|
|-Northern Russia||Present||Native||Reshetnikov et al., 1997|
|Serbia||Present||Native||Blanc et al., 1971|
|Spain||Present||Native||Muus and Dahlström, 1978|
|Sweden||Present||Native||Muus and Dahlström, 1978|
|Switzerland||Present, few occurrences||Native||Not invasive||Hartmann, 1827||Rarely migrates upward the Rhine until Basel|
|UK||Present||Native||Muus and Dahlström, 1978||Considered as rare in its northern distribution|
|-Channel Islands||Present||Native||Vladykov, 1984|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
From its native range, P. marinushas moved to the Great Lakes through the canal system, first discovered in its non-indigenous range in Lake Ontario in 1835, Lake Erie in 1921, Lake Michigan in 1936, Lake Huron in 1937, and Lake Superior in 1946 (Applegate, 1950; Lawrie, 1970; Smith, 1979; Smith and Tibbles, 1980; Smith, 1985; Fuller et al., 2008). However, there is some controversy as whether to classify P. marinusas an exotic species in Lake Ontario and some lakes in Vermont and New York states.
It is established throughout the Great Lakes region and some tributaries (Fuller et al., 2008), including Illinois (Smith, 1979; Emery, 1985); Indiana (Gerking, 1955; Emery, 1985); Michigan (Applegate, 1950; Smith, 1979; Cudmore-Vokey and Crossman, 2000); Minnesota (Eddy and Underhill, 1974; Phillips et al., 1982; Emery, 1985); New York (Smith, 1985); Ohio (Trautman, 1981; Emery, 1985); Pennsylvania (Emery, 1985); and Wisconsin (Becker, 1983; Emery, 1985). Furthermore, it is also present in Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin; Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Indiana; Isle Royale National Park, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan (Tilmant, 1999); and Walnut Creek, Pennsylvania (Phillips et al., 2003).
Apart from the controversy whether P. marinus is exotic or native to Lake Ontario, this species is not native to the other Great Lakes and tributaries where it is now readily found (Fuller et al., 2008). The means of introduction is through canals and tributaries from its native range to the Great Lakes, P. marinus was previously prevented from spreading into Lake Erie and the rest of the Great Lakes basin by the Niagara Falls, but the Welland Canal opened in 1829, by-passed Niagara Falls providing a route to Lake Erie from Lake Ontario (Aron and Smith, 1971). From the opening of the Welland Canal to the discovery of P. marinus in Lake Erie in 1921, almost a century passed, and it was found throughout the Great Lakes as far as Lake Superior within 25 years of its arrival in Lake Erie (Fuller et al., 2008).
IntroductionsTop of page
|Introduced to||Introduced from||Year||Reason||Introduced by||Established in wild through||References||Notes|
|Natural reproduction||Continuous restocking|
|USA||Yes||Wonham et al. (2000)||Introductions attributed to ballast-water transport (including attributions to transport in bilge water or other seawater systems)|
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
Larval P. marinuscan be spread into non-native areas as it is being used as bait by anglers. Also, there are possibilities that P. marinuscan be introduced to new areas through ship/boat fouling or through ship ballast water and ship bilge water.
HabitatTop of page
P. marinus is an amphihaline species making important migrations from sea water to freshwater to breed. P. marinus spends its adult life in the sea for about 20-30 months (Froese and Pauly, 2008) and enters freshwater/estuaries for spawning in spring (Rochard and Elie, 1994). They are able to ascend falls if these are not too steep and high, by clinging to rocks with their oral discs and resting, and they may run upstream for long distances in large rivers (Bigelow and Schroeder, 2002). In marine environments it can be found at depths up to 2200 m (Froese and Pauly, 2008).
The larvae of P. marinus prefer soft sediment substrates in clear streams, and larvae are reported to spend 6-8 years in the substrate followed by metamorphosis and movement to the sea (Froese and Pauly, 2008). Larvae live in rivers where they feed on microorganisms and detritus (Rochard and Elie, 1994; Billard, 1997). The juvenile period is in the estuarine/marine environment which last 23-28 months, during which they grow from around 4 to 900 g and at the end of this period, they move into rivers as adults and reproduce (Gallant et al., 2006).
Habitat ListTop of page
|Lakes||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Lakes||Present, no further details||Natural|
|Rivers / streams||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Natural|
|Inshore marine||Principal habitat||Natural|
|Pelagic zone (offshore)||Principal habitat||Natural|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
The recorded haploid and diploid chromosomes number of P. marinus in the UK is 84 (n) and 168-168 (2n) (Arkhipchuk, 1999), and the same haploid and diploid chromosome numbers of P. marinus have been reported by Hardisty (1986) and Klinkhardt et al. (1995) in unspecified locations. Bryan et al. (2005) reported that the genetic structure of invasive P. marinus populations differ from that of their anadromous ancestors.
Piavis et al. (1970) assumed that P. marinus and Icthyomyzon unicuspis might hybridize, based on the gross similarities of the secondary sexual characteristics of the two species (Smith et al., 1968) and of other lampreys (Vladykov, 1949).
There have been a number of molecular studies on P. marinus, and in 1995 the complete mitochondrial genome of the species was published (Lee and Kocher, 1995).
Adult P. marinus enters freshwater and estuaries for spawning in spring, and after spawning they normally die (Rochard and Elie, 1994). As the two sexes mature, the males develop a strong ridge along the back, the females a crest-like fin between the anus and the caudal fin (Bigelow and Schroeder, 2002). P. marinus requires gravelly bottoms in rapid water for their spawning beds and with muddy or sandy bottoms in quiet water nearby, for the larvae. In many small streams, and in larger ones if these are blocked by dams or high falls, they may spawn only a short distance upstream; even within the influence of the tide, although invariably in fresh water (Bigelow and Schroeder, 2002).
P. marinus mate in pairs, sometimes with a second female assisting, making depressions 60-90 cm in diameter and about 15 cm deep in the stream bed in stretches where the bottom is stony or pebbly (Bigelow and Schroeder, 2002). A female P. marinus can lay between 35,000 to 100,000 eggs and small and non-yolky eggs are buried in spawning redds excavated in clean, hard bottom. Spawning commences when the temperature of the water is about 10°C and is completed by the time it is warmed to about 20-21°C (Bigelow and Schroeder, 2002). Fertilization takes place externally.
After hatching, the larvae, known as ammocoetes burrow into the sediment where they live for 6-8 years, followed by metamorphosis (Froese and Pauly, 2008). During this period, most of the time they live in burrows in the mud or sand, or hide under stones (Bigelow and Schroeder, 2002). At the end of this larval period, when they have grown to a length of 10-15 cm, they undergo transformation to the adult form and structure. During metamorphosis, the eyes and the sucker-like mouth develop and the adults then migrate to the sea. Juvenile feeding period lasts for 23-28 months, during which time they grow from around 4 to 900 g, and at the end of this period, they move into rivers as adults and reproduce (Galant et al., 2006).
In salt water they have been found preying on mackerel, various anadromous herrings, cod, haddock, American pollock (Pollachius), salmon, basking sharks, swordfish, hake (Urophycis), sturgeons and eels (Bigelow and Schroeder, 2002).
P. marinus parasitically attaches and feeds on healthy fish. Larvae feed on microorganisms and detritus (Rochard and Elie, 1994; Billard, 1997). During the juvenile feeding phase, they may not only feed on dead or netted fish, but also attach themselves to healthy fish, e.g. a wide variety of bony fishes, sharks and marine mammals, by scraping a hole in their skin and sucking out the blood, body fluids and flesh (Froese and Pauly, 2008). The landlocked form is very destructive to freshwater fishes and occasionally annoys bathers by clinging to them (Rochard and Elie, 1994). During the return to freshwater from the sea, P. marinus do not feed because the digestive organs degenerate, and shortly after spawning they die (Froese and Pauly, 2008).
The lake-phase feed parasitically on healthy fish including ciscoes (Coregonus spp.), lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush), walleye (Stizostedion vitreum), white sucker Catostomus commersoni), longnose sucker (Catostomus catostomus), redhorse (Moxostoma spp.), yellow perch (Perca flavescens), rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), burbot (Lota lota), channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus), northern pike (Esox lucius), and common carp (Cyprinus carpio).
Under experimental conditions, the time from fertilization of P. marinus eggs to 50% hatching and from hatching to 50% burrowing were found to be inversely related to incubation temperature (Rodrigues-Muncozet al., 2001). Hatching is favoured at 15-16°C, and larvae emerging from hatching at 15°C showed maximum survival during the first 3 months of exogenous feeding reared at constant 21°C, while larvae emerged from hatching at 19°C and 23°C showed very low survival. Rodrigues-Muncozet al. (2001) also reported that mean incubation temperatures during the embryonic development in the source river were estimated in 15.3±2.3°C and 16.7±1.76°C for the periods fertilization-to-hatching and hatching-to burrowing, respectively.
ClimateTop of page
|C - Temperate/Mesothermal climate||Preferred||Average temp. of coldest month > 0°C and < 18°C, mean warmest month > 10°C|
Latitude/Altitude RangesTop of page
|Latitude North (°N)||Latitude South (°S)||Altitude Lower (m)||Altitude Upper (m)|
Water TolerancesTop of page
|Parameter||Minimum Value||Maximum Value||Typical Value||Status||Life Stage||Notes|
|Water temperature (ºC temperature)||15||Optimum||Larval||15–23 tolerated (hatching), 21 preferred (larval rearing)|
Natural enemiesTop of page
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
P. marinus is believed to have migrated through the Erie, Welland and St Lawrence canal systems to the Great Lakes.
Larval P. marinus is used as bait in non-native areas and due to its parasitic nature it can be dispersed from one location to the other via the host.
P. marinus may have been introduced to new areas by attachment to boats through ship/boat hull fouling through canal system. Ship ballast water and ship bilge water is also another means of introduction into new areas.
Pathway CausesTop of page
Pathway VectorsTop of page
|Bait||Larvae||Yes||Fuller et al., 2008|
|Ship ballast water and sediment||Yes||Fuller et al., 2008|
|Ship bilge water||Yes||Fuller et al., 2008|
|Ship hull fouling||Adults||Yes||Fuller et al., 2008|
|Water||Adults. Migrated through Erie canal, Welland and St Lawrence canal systems into Great lakes||Yes||Fuller et al., 2008|
Impact SummaryTop of page
Economic ImpactTop of page
Decline of several large native species, including several ciscoes (Coregonus spp.), lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush), and walleye (Stizostedion vitreum), among others has been attributed to the introduction of P. marinus to the Great Lakes and its subsequent abundance, together with water pollution, over fishing, and the collapse in commercial fisheries during the 1940s and 1950s in many parts of the Great Lakes, particularly in lakes Huron and Michigan, and in eastern Lake Superior (e.g., Lawrie, 1970; Scott and Crossman, 1973; Christie, 1974; Smith and Tibbles, 1980; Becker, 1983; Emery, 1985; Courtenay, 1993; Fuller et al., 2008). As stated in Fuller et al. (2008) lake trout catch in Lake Huron fell from 1.55 million kg in 1937 to virtual failure in 1947 and in Lake Michigan, the catch fell from 2.5 million kg in 1946 to 183 kg in 1953. In Lake Superior, catch dropped from an average of 2.0 million kg to 0.16727 million kg in 1961 (Scott and Crossman, 1973).
Environmental ImpactTop of page
P. marinus has the ability to disrupt the community trophic structure through interactions with key species, which could result in cascading effects that alter the species composition of the environment (Chappin et al., 1997). The parasitic phase of reproductively immature P. marinus has contributed to dramatic reductions and extirpations of populations of large predatory fish such as lake trout in the Great Lakes, USA (Bryan et al., 2005), resulting in cascading effect that cause drastic changes throughout food web and contribute to collapse of regional fisheries and large scale disruptions of the aquatic community (Smith and Tibbles, 1980).
Predation by P. marinus is partially responsible for the extinction of three native species in the Great Lakes; the longjaw cisco (Coregonus alpenae), the deepwater cisco (Coregonus johannae), and the blackfin cisco (Coregonus nigripinnis)(Miller et al., 1989). With reduced numbers of large predators due to lamprey predation, the invading alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) from the Atlantic Ocean into Great Lakes in the 1940s resulted in an explosion of its population with serious consequences on distributions and abundances of native fish (Smith and Tibbles, 1980). In freshwater, P. marinus attacks white sucker Catostomus commersoni, longnose sucker Catostomus catostomus, redhorse Moxostoma spp., yellow perch Perca flavescens, rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss, burbot Lota lota, channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus, northern pike Esox lucius, and common carp Cyprinus carpio (Scott and Crossman, 1973;Fuller et al., 2008). IUCN Red List status of P. marinus is LR (low risk)/LC (least concern) (World Conservation Monitoring Centre, 1996).
In freshwater, P. marinus attacks white sucker Catostomus commersoni, longnose sucker Catostomus catostomus, redhorse Moxostoma spp., yellow perch Perca flavescens, rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss, burbot Lota lota, channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus, northern pike Esox lucius, and common carp Cyprinus carpio (Scott and Crossman, 1973;Fuller et al., 2008). IUCN Red List status of P. marinus is LR (low risk)/LC (least concern) (World Conservation Monitoring Centre, 1996).
IUCN Red List status of P. marinus is LR (low risk)/LC (least concern) (World Conservation Monitoring Centre, 1996).
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page Invasiveness
- Invasive in its native range
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Has a broad native range
- Highly adaptable to different environments
- Is a habitat generalist
- Highly mobile locally
- Long lived
- Fast growing
- Has high reproductive potential
- Altered trophic level
- Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
- Negatively impacts livelihoods
- Negatively impacts aquaculture/fisheries
- Reduced native biodiversity
- Threat to/ loss of endangered species
- Threat to/ loss of native species
- Competition - monopolizing resources
- Parasitism (incl. parasitoid)
- Difficult/costly to control
UsesTop of page Economic Value
Uses ListTop of page
Animal feed, fodder, forage
Human food and beverage
- Meat/fat/offal/blood/bone (whole, cut, fresh, frozen, canned, cured, processed or smoked)
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
P. marinus can hardly be mistaken for any other fish, its eel-like appearance coupled with two dorsal fins and the jawless mouth identifying it at a glance (Bigelow and Schroeder, 2002). However, the larval stage can be confused with native species and the adult phase can be confused with species such as Lampetra appendix (American brook lamprey or lamproie de l'est). Small P. marinus and Lampetra appendix are distinguished on the basis of oral teeth, with Lampetra appendix having a single row of oral teeth, whereas P. marinus has several rows of oral teeth.
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Sea lamprey traps are operated at various locations throughout the Great Lakes, designed to catch lampreys as they travel upstream to spawn often in association with barriers, and male lampreys caught in the traps are used for the sterile-male-release-technique (see biological control). Today, traps are operated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the US Army Corps of Engineers (Great Lakes Fishery Commission, 2008).
Early methods to control the movement of this species included mechanical weirs and electrical barriers (Scott and Crossman, 1973; Smith and Tibbles, 1980). Barriers have been used to block the upstream migration of spawning sea lampreys, while allowing other fish to pass with minimal disruption. Various types of barriers have been able to replace chemical lampricide treatment on some streams (Great Lake Fishery Commission, 2008). New barrier designs include velocity barriers that take advantage of the lamprey's poor swimming ability, and adjustable-crest barriers which can be inflated during the spawning run and then deflated to allow other fish to pass during the rest of the year (Great Lake Fishery Commission, 2008).
In 1991, following 20 years of research and development, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission began a large-scale experimental program to determine whether sea lamprey sterilization aimed at reducing the success of sea lamprey spawning could be an effective, non-chemical control technique in the Great Lakes. According to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (2008), each year, male sea lampreys are collected and sterilized during their spawning runs and when they are released back into streams, the sterile males compete with normal males for spawning females, resulting in reduced fertilization of eggs. Since they are caught during spawning runs rather than during the parasitic phase, sterilized males do not prey on fish when they are released back into the spawning streams. Further information on the efficacy of this technique is required. Chemical control In late 1950s, P. marinus was successfully controlled by use of the lampricide 3-trifluoromethyl-4-nitrophenol (TFM), a chemical agent that kills larval lampreys in their stream habitats (Smith and Tibbles, 1980). The lampricide reduced the population by over 90% as compared to the 1961 peak (Scott and Crossman, 1973). However, in order to keep P. marinus populations under control, continued use of TFM was required (Scott and Crossman, 1973; Becker, 1983). About 175 Great Lakes streams are treated at regular intervals with TFM to kill larval sea lampreys (Great Lakes Fishery Commission, 2008). The use of TFM has limitations, as it is sometimes harmful to other fish (e.g., walleye) (Becker, 1983), as well as to the larvae of non-parasitic lamprey species, and it is a costly control method.
In late 1950s, P. marinus was successfully controlled by use of the lampricide 3-trifluoromethyl-4-nitrophenol (TFM), a chemical agent that kills larval lampreys in their stream habitats (Smith and Tibbles, 1980). The lampricide reduced the population by over 90% as compared to the 1961 peak (Scott and Crossman, 1973). However, in order to keep P. marinus populations under control, continued use of TFM was required (Scott and Crossman, 1973; Becker, 1983). About 175 Great Lakes streams are treated at regular intervals with TFM to kill larval sea lampreys (Great Lakes Fishery Commission, 2008). The use of TFM has limitations, as it is sometimes harmful to other fish (e.g., walleye) (Becker, 1983), as well as to the larvae of non-parasitic lamprey species, and it is a costly control method.
ReferencesTop of page
Bryan MB; Zalinski D; Filcek KB; Libants S; Li W; Scribner WT, 2005. Patterns of invasion and colonosation of the sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) in North America as revealed by microsatellite genotypes. Molecular Ecology, No. 14:3757-3773.
Collares-Pereira MJ; Cowx IG; Ribeiro F; Rodrigues JA; Rogad L, 2000. Threats imposed by water resource development schemes on the conservation of endangered fish species in the Guadiana River Basin in Portugal. Fish. Manage. Ecol, No. 7:167-178.
Lee WJ; Kocher TD, 1995. Complete sequence of a sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) mitochondrial genome: early establishment of the vertebrate genome organization. Genetics, 139(2):873-887.
Phillips EC; Washek ME; Hertel AW; Niebel BM, 2003. The round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) in Pennsylvania tributary streams of Lake Erie. Journal of Great Lakes Research. International Association of Great Lakes Research, 29(1):34-40.
Reshetnikov YS; Bogutskaya NG; Vasil'eva ED; Dorofeeva EA; Naseka AM; Popova OA; Savvaitova KA; Sideleva VG; Sokolov LI, 1997. An annotated check-list of the freshwater fishes of Russia. J. Ichthyol, 37(9):687-736.
Ribeiro F; Beldade R; Dix M; Bochechas J, 2005. Carta piscícola Nacional Direcçao Geral dos Recursos Florestais-Fluviatilis, Lda. (online). http://www.fluviatilis.com/dgf/?nologin=true. Publicação electrónica (versão 12/2005)
Smith BR; Tibbles JJ, 1980. Sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) in Lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior: history of invasion and control, 1936-78. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 37(11):1780-1801.
OrganizationsTop of page
Italy: FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, http://www.fao.org/
Switzerland: IUCN (The World Conservation Union), Rue Mauverney 28, Gland 1196, Gland, Switzerland, http://www.iucn.org/
USA: United States Geological Survey, USGS National Center 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, VA 20192, http://www.usgs.gov/
ContributorsTop of page
19/05/08 Original text by:
Sunil Siriwardena, Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA, UK
Distribution MapsTop of page
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