Jan 19, 2019 | Updated: 08:24 AM EST

Scientists Finding Way To Combat Blood Sucking Sea Monster Lamprey

Feb 23, 2017 12:19 PM EST


The sea lamprey is considered as one of the deadliest creatures found mostly in coastal and fresh waters apart from venturing out in the open ocean. They are infamous for their jawless approach towards their victims such as salmon, whitefish or trout, with which they attach via a sucker mouth and drain out the blood and lymph from the body.

According to Concordia University, the sea lamprey arrived from Europe in the 20th century via shipping channels and since then, initiatives are being taken to combat their population. Lamprey causes an estimated loss of almost million dollars damage in lost commercial and recreational fisheries.  A recent project has developed a promising and natural solution towards the curbing of the sea lamprey.

The project has come up with solutions like a chemical lampricide, intended to kill the sea lamprey at its larval stage without harming other fish, which is very labor and cost-intensive and is potentially harmful to the watershed. Another eco-friendly solution is a low barrier concrete dam that denies the lamprey to go upstream as it cannot jump but this can also prevent some salmon and trout from getting through.

According to Michigan Radio, the US Environmental Protection Agency has approved a synthetic mating lure to help trap sea lampreys before they reproduce. It consists of a scent that is generally released by male sea lampreys to attract the female to nesting sites. This way, the female sea lamprey will be made to swim in a trap or a stream that doesn't have any breeding habitat, thinking that they have found a mating partner.

The traps are already proving effective in curbing the sea lamprey population. These traps, baited with synthetic pheromones, caught twice as many lampreys as those without them, like the chemical lampricides and concrete dams.

The Great lakes have been facing a huge problem in respect of the growth of various fishes due to the breeding of the sea lampreys. Experts are hopeful that the synthetic pheromones will join lampricides and barriers as weapons in the battle to control the sea lamprey population and restore ecological balance in the Great lakes. 

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