Lamprey
Overview
Lampreys are a family of jawless fish, whose adults are characterized by a toothed, funnel-like sucking mouth. Translated from an admixture of Latin and Greek
International Scientific Vocabulary
International scientific vocabulary comprises scientific and specialized words whose language of origin may or may not be certain, but which are in current use in several modern languages. The name "International Scientific Vocabulary" was first used by Philip Gove in Webster’s Third New...

, lamprey means stone lickers (lambere: to lick, and petra: stone). While lampreys are well-known for those species which bore into the flesh of other fish to suck their blood
Hematophagy
Hematophagy is the practice of certain animals of feeding on blood...

, most species of lamprey are non-parasitic and never feed on other fish . In zoology
Zoology
Zoology |zoölogy]]), is the branch of biology that relates to the animal kingdom, including the structure, embryology, evolution, classification, habits, and distribution of all animals, both living and extinct...

, lampreys are sometimes not considered to be true fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

 because of their distinctive morphology
Morphology (biology)
In biology, morphology is a branch of bioscience dealing with the study of the form and structure of organisms and their specific structural features....

 and physiology
Physiology
Physiology is the science of the function of living systems. This includes how organisms, organ systems, organs, cells, and bio-molecules carry out the chemical or physical functions that exist in a living system. The highest honor awarded in physiology is the Nobel Prize in Physiology or...

.
Lampreys live mostly in coastal and fresh waters, although some species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

, (e.g.
Encyclopedia
Lampreys are a family of jawless fish, whose adults are characterized by a toothed, funnel-like sucking mouth. Translated from an admixture of Latin and Greek
International Scientific Vocabulary
International scientific vocabulary comprises scientific and specialized words whose language of origin may or may not be certain, but which are in current use in several modern languages. The name "International Scientific Vocabulary" was first used by Philip Gove in Webster’s Third New...

, lamprey means stone lickers (lambere: to lick, and petra: stone). While lampreys are well-known for those species which bore into the flesh of other fish to suck their blood
Hematophagy
Hematophagy is the practice of certain animals of feeding on blood...

, most species of lamprey are non-parasitic and never feed on other fish . In zoology
Zoology
Zoology |zoölogy]]), is the branch of biology that relates to the animal kingdom, including the structure, embryology, evolution, classification, habits, and distribution of all animals, both living and extinct...

, lampreys are sometimes not considered to be true fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

 because of their distinctive morphology
Morphology (biology)
In biology, morphology is a branch of bioscience dealing with the study of the form and structure of organisms and their specific structural features....

 and physiology
Physiology
Physiology is the science of the function of living systems. This includes how organisms, organ systems, organs, cells, and bio-molecules carry out the chemical or physical functions that exist in a living system. The highest honor awarded in physiology is the Nobel Prize in Physiology or...

.

Physical description

Lampreys live mostly in coastal and fresh waters, although some species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

, (e.g. Geotria australis, Petromyzon marinus, Entosphenus tridentatus) travel significant distances in the open ocean, as evidenced by their lack of reproductive isolation between populations. They are found in most temperate regions except those in Africa. Their larva
Larva
A larva is a distinct juvenile form many animals undergo before metamorphosis into adults. Animals with indirect development such as insects, amphibians, or cnidarians typically have a larval phase of their life cycle...

e (ammocoetes) have a low tolerance for high water temperatures, which may explain why they are not distributed in the tropics
Tropics
The tropics is a region of the Earth surrounding the Equator. It is limited in latitude by the Tropic of Cancer in the northern hemisphere at approximately  N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere at  S; these latitudes correspond to the axial tilt of the Earth...

.

Adults physically resemble eel
Eel
Eels are an order of fish, which consists of four suborders, 20 families, 111 genera and approximately 800 species. Most eels are predators...

s, in that they have no scale
Scale (zoology)
In most biological nomenclature, a scale is a small rigid plate that grows out of an animal's skin to provide protection. In lepidopteran species, scales are plates on the surface of the insect wing, and provide coloration...

s, and can range anywhere from 13 to 100 centimetres (5 to 40 inches) long. Lacking paired fins, adult lampreys have large eyes, one nostril on the top of the head, and seven gill
Gill
A gill is a respiratory organ found in many aquatic organisms that extracts dissolved oxygen from water, afterward excreting carbon dioxide. The gills of some species such as hermit crabs have adapted to allow respiration on land provided they are kept moist...

 pores on each side of the head. The unique morphological characteristics of lampreys, such as their cartilaginous
Cartilage
Cartilage is a flexible connective tissue found in many areas in the bodies of humans and other animals, including the joints between bones, the rib cage, the ear, the nose, the elbow, the knee, the ankle, the bronchial tubes and the intervertebral discs...

 skeleton
Skeleton
The skeleton is the body part that forms the supporting structure of an organism. There are two different skeletal types: the exoskeleton, which is the stable outer shell of an organism, and the endoskeleton, which forms the support structure inside the body.In a figurative sense, skeleton can...

, suggest that they are the sister taxon (see cladistics
Cladistics
Cladistics is a method of classifying species of organisms into groups called clades, which consist of an ancestor organism and all its descendants . For example, birds, dinosaurs, crocodiles, and all descendants of their most recent common ancestor form a clade...

) of all living jawed vertebrates (gnathostomes), and are usually considered the most basal group of the Vertebrata. They feed on prey as adults by attaching their mouthparts to the target animal's body, then using their teeth to cut through surface tissues until they reach blood and body fluid. They will generally not attack humans unless starved. Hagfish
Hagfish
Hagfish, the clade Myxini , are eel-shaped slime-producing marine animals . They are the only living animals that have a skull but not a vertebral column. Along with lampreys, hagfish are jawless and are living fossils whose next nearest relatives include all vertebrates...

, which superficially resemble lampreys, are the sister taxon of the true vertebrates (lampreys and gnathostomes).

Lampreys provide valuable insight into the evolution of the adaptive immune system
Adaptive immune system
The adaptive immune system is composed of highly specialized, systemic cells and processes that eliminate or prevent pathogenic growth. Thought to have arisen in the first jawed vertebrates, the adaptive or "specific" immune system is activated by the “non-specific” and evolutionarily older innate...

, as they possess a convergently evolved adaptive immunity with cells that function like the T cell
T cell
T cells or T lymphocytes belong to a group of white blood cells known as lymphocytes, and play a central role in cell-mediated immunity. They can be distinguished from other lymphocytes, such as B cells and natural killer cells , by the presence of a T cell receptor on the cell surface. They are...

s and B cell
B cell
B cells are lymphocytes that play a large role in the humoral immune response . The principal functions of B cells are to make antibodies against antigens, perform the role of antigen-presenting cells and eventually develop into memory B cells after activation by antigen interaction...

s seen in higher vertebrates. Lamprey leukocytes express surface variable lymphocyte receptors (VLRs) generated from somatic recombination of leucine-rich repeats gene segments in a recombination activating gene
Recombination activating gene
The recombination activating genes encode enzymes that play an important role in the rearrangement and recombination of the genes of immunoglobulin and T cell receptor molecules during the process of VDJ recombination...

-independent manner.
Geotria australis larvae also have a very high tolerance for free iron
Iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

 in the body, and have well-developed biochemical systems for detoxification of the large quantities of this metal
Metal
A metal , is an element, compound, or alloy that is a good conductor of both electricity and heat. Metals are usually malleable and shiny, that is they reflect most of incident light...

.

Fossils

Lamprey fossil
Fossil
Fossils are the preserved remains or traces of animals , plants, and other organisms from the remote past...

s are rare because cartilage
Cartilage
Cartilage is a flexible connective tissue found in many areas in the bodies of humans and other animals, including the joints between bones, the rib cage, the ear, the nose, the elbow, the knee, the ankle, the bronchial tubes and the intervertebral discs...

 does not fossilize as readily as bone
Bone
Bones are rigid organs that constitute part of the endoskeleton of vertebrates. They support, and protect the various organs of the body, produce red and white blood cells and store minerals. Bone tissue is a type of dense connective tissue...

. The first fossil lampreys were originally found in Early Carboniferous
Carboniferous
The Carboniferous is a geologic period and system that extends from the end of the Devonian Period, about 359.2 ± 2.5 Mya , to the beginning of the Permian Period, about 299.0 ± 0.8 Mya . The name is derived from the Latin word for coal, carbo. Carboniferous means "coal-bearing"...

 limestones, laid down in marine sediments in North America: Mayomyzon pieckoensis and Hardistiella montanensis.

In the 22 June 2006 issue of Nature, Mee-mann Chang and colleagues reported on a fossil lamprey from the same Early Cretaceous
Cretaceous
The Cretaceous , derived from the Latin "creta" , usually abbreviated K for its German translation Kreide , is a geologic period and system from circa to million years ago. In the geologic timescale, the Cretaceous follows the Jurassic period and is followed by the Paleogene period of the...

 lagerstätte
Lagerstätte
A Lagerstätte is a sedimentary deposit that exhibits extraordinary fossil richness or completeness.Palaeontologists distinguish two kinds....

n that have yielded feathered dinosaurs, in the Yixian Formation
Yixian Formation
The Yixian Formation is a geological formation in Jinzhou, Liaoning, People's Republic of China, that spans 11 million years during the early Cretaceous period...

 of Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China, located in the northern region of the country. Inner Mongolia shares an international border with the countries of Mongolia and the Russian Federation...

. The new species, morphologically similar to Carboniferous and modern forms, was given the name Mesomyzon mengae ("Mesozoic lamprey"). The exceedingly well preserved fossil showed a well-developed sucking oral disk, a relatively long branchial apparatus showing branchial basket, seven gill pouches, gill arches and even the impressions of gill filaments, and about 80 myomere
Myomere
Myomere are the blocks of skeletal muscle tissue found commonly in chordates. They are commonly zig-zag, "W" or "V"-shaped muscle fibers. The myomeres are separated from adjacent myomere by connective tissues and most easily seen in larval fishes or in the olm...

s of its musculature.

Months later, in the 27 October issue of Nature, a fossil lamprey even older than the Mazon Creek genera, dated 360 million years ago, was reported from Witteberg Group rocks near Grahamstown, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. This species, dubbed Priscomyzon riniensis still strongly resembled modern lampreys despite its Devonian
Devonian
The Devonian is a geologic period and system of the Paleozoic Era spanning from the end of the Silurian Period, about 416.0 ± 2.8 Mya , to the beginning of the Carboniferous Period, about 359.2 ± 2.5 Mya...

 age.

Taxonomy

Some researchers have classified lampreys as the sole surviving representatives of the Linnean class
Class (biology)
In biological classification, class is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, order, family, genus, and species, with class fitting between phylum and order...

 Cephalaspidomorphi
Cephalaspidomorphi
Cephalaspidomorphs are a group of jawless fishes named for the cephalaspids, a group of osteostracans. Most biologists regard this taxon as extinct, but the name is sometimes used in the classification of lampreys because lampreys were once thought to be related to cephalaspids...

. Fossil evidence now suggests that lampreys and cephalaspids acquired their shared characters by convergent evolution
Convergent evolution
Convergent evolution describes the acquisition of the same biological trait in unrelated lineages.The wing is a classic example of convergent evolution in action. Although their last common ancestor did not have wings, both birds and bats do, and are capable of powered flight. The wings are...

.

As such, many newer works such as the fourth edition of Fishes of the World
Fishes of the World
Fishes of the World by Joseph S. Nelson is a standard reference for fish systematics. Now in its fourth edition, the work is a comprehensive overview of the 25,000-plus species known to science....

classify lampreys in a separate group called Petromyzontida (or Hyperoartia)
Hyperoartia
Hyperoartia or Petromyzontida is a group of jawless fish that includes the modern lampreys and their fossil relatives, the jawless fish of the class Anaspida. Examples of hyperoartians from early in their fossil record are Endeiolepis and Euphanerops, fishes with hypocercal tails that lived during...

.

The lampreys entail the single order Petromyzontiformes and family Petromyzontidae.

The following taxonomy is based upon the treatment by FishBase as of February 2011.
Within this family, there are 43 recorded species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 in eight genera and three subfamilies:

  • Subfamily Geotriinae
    • Genus Geotria
  • Subfamily Mordaciinae
    • Genus Mordacia
      Mordacia
      Mordacia is the sole genus of the subfamily Mordaciinae of the family Petromyzontidae. It contains the following species:* Mordacia lapicida * Mordacia mordax...

  • Subfamily Petromyzontinae
    • Genus Caspiomyzon
      Caspiomyzon
      Caspiomyzon is a small genus of 2 or 3 species of lamprey belonging to the sub-family Petromyzontinae. It currently contains the following species:* Caspiomyzon graecus -validity doubtful, may be junior synonym of C...

    • Genus Eudontomyzon
      Eudontomyzon
      Eudontomyzon is a genus of lamprey in the family Petromyzontidae. It contains the following species:* Eudontomyzon danfordi Regan, 1911 * Eudontomyzon lanceolata...

    • Genus Ichthyomyzon
      Ichthyomyzon
      Ichthyomyzon is a genus of lampreys in the sub-family Petromyzontinae. It currently contains the following species:* Ichthyomyzon bdellium, Ohio lamprey - Ichthyomyzon is a genus of lampreys in the sub-family Petromyzontinae. It currently contains the following species:* Ichthyomyzon bdellium,...

    • Genus Lampetra
      Lampetra
      Lampetra is a genus of lamprey in the sub-family Petromyzontinae.It contains the following species:* Lampetra aepyptera Lampetra is a genus of lamprey in the sub-family Petromyzontinae.It contains the following species:* Lampetra aepyptera Lampetra is a genus of lamprey in the sub-family...

    • Genus Lethenteron
      Lethenteron
      Lethenteron is a genus of fish in the Petromyzontidae family. It contains the following species:* Lethenteron camtschaticum * Lethenteron kessleri...

    • Genus Petromyzon

Taxonomists place lampreys and hagfish in the Subphylum Vertebrata of the phylum
Phylum
In biology, a phylum The term was coined by Georges Cuvier from Greek φῦλον phylon, "race, stock," related to φυλή phyle, "tribe, clan." is a taxonomic rank below kingdom and above class. "Phylum" is equivalent to the botanical term division....

 Chordata, which also includes the invertebrate subphyla Tunicata (sea-squirts) and the fish-like Cephalochordata (`lancelets' or `Amphioxus'). Recent molecular and morphological phylogenetic studies place lampreys and hagfish in the super-class Agnatha
Agnatha
Agnatha is a superclass of jawless fish in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata. The group excludes all vertebrates with jaws, known as gnathostomes....

 or Agnathostomata (both meaning without jaws). The other vertebrate super-class is Gnathostomata
Gnathostomata
Gnathostomata is the group of vertebrates with jaws. The term derives from Greek γνάθος "jaw" + στόμα "mouth". Gnathostome diversity comprises roughly 60,000 species, which accounts for 99% of all living vertebrates...

 (jawed mouths) and includes the classes Chondrichthyes
Chondrichthyes
Chondrichthyes or cartilaginous fishes are jawed fish with paired fins, paired nares, scales, two-chambered hearts, and skeletons made of cartilage rather than bone...

 (sharks), Osteichthyes
Osteichthyes
Osteichthyes , also called bony fish, are a taxonomic group of fish that have bony, as opposed to cartilaginous, skeletons. The vast majority of fish are osteichthyes, which is an extremely diverse and abundant group consisting of over 29,000 species...

 (bony fishes), Amphibia, Reptilia, Aves (birds), and Mammalia.

Uses

Lampreys have long been used as food
Food
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals...

 for humans. They were highly appreciated by ancient Romans
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

. During the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, they were widely eaten
Medieval cuisine
Medieval cuisine includes the foods, eating habits, and cooking methods of various European cultures during the Middle Ages, a period roughly dating from the 5th to the 16th century...

 by the upper class
Upper class
In social science, the "upper class" is the group of people at the top of a social hierarchy. Members of an upper class may have great power over the allocation of resources and governmental policy in their area.- Historical meaning :...

es throughout Europe, especially during fasting
Fasting
Fasting is primarily the act of willingly abstaining from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. An absolute fast is normally defined as abstinence from all food and liquid for a defined period, usually a single day , or several days. Other fasts may be only partially restrictive,...

 periods, since their taste is much meatier than that of most true fish. King Henry I of England
Henry I of England
Henry I was the fourth son of William I of England. He succeeded his elder brother William II as King of England in 1100 and defeated his eldest brother, Robert Curthose, to become Duke of Normandy in 1106...

 is said to have died from eating "a surfeit of lampreys". On March 4th, 1953, the Queen of the United Kingdom's
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

 coronation pie was made by the Royal Air Force using lampreys.
Especially in southwestern Europe (Portugal, Spain, and France), larger lampreys are still a highly prized delicacy
Delicacy
A delicacy is a food item that is considered highly desirable in certain cultures. Often this is because of unusual flavors or characteristics or because it is rare....

. Overfishing has reduced their number in those parts. Lampreys are also consumed in Sweden, Finland, Russia, the Baltic countries
Baltic countries
The term Baltic states refers to the Baltic territories which gained independence from the Russian Empire in the wake of World War I: primarily the contiguous trio of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania ; Finland also fell within the scope of the term after initially gaining independence in the 1920s.The...

 and South Korea.
In Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

, lampreys are commonly used as bait, normally as dead bait. Pike
Northern Pike
The northern pike , is a species of carnivorous fish of the genus Esox...

, perch
European perch
The European perch, Perca fluviatilis, is a predatory species of perch found in Europe and Asia. In some areas it is known as the redfin perch or English perch, and it is often known simply as perch. The species is a popular quarry for anglers and has been widely introduced beyond its native area,...

 and chub
European chub
The European chub , sometimes called the round chub, fat chub, chevin, pollard or simply "the" chub, is a freshwater fish of the family Cyprinidae...

 all can be caught on lampreys. Lampreys can be bought frozen from most bait and tackle
Fishing tackle
Fishing tackle, is a general term that refers to the equipment used by fishermen when fishing. Almost any equipment or gear used for fishing can be called fishing tackle. Some examples are hooks, lines, sinkers, floats, rods, reels, baits, lures, spears, nets, gaffs, traps, waders and tackle...

 shops.

Research

The lamprey has been extensively studied because it has a relatively simple brain that is thought in many respects to reflect the brain structure of early vertebrate ancestors. Beginning in the 1970s, Sten Grillner and his colleagues at the Karolinska Institute
Karolinska Institutet
Karolinska institutet is a medical university in Solna within the Stockholm urban area, Sweden, and one of Europe's largest medical universities...

 in Stockholm have used the lamprey as a model system to work out the fundamental principles of motor control in vertebrates, starting in the spinal cord and working upward into the brain. In a series of studies, they found that neural circuits within the spinal cord are capable of generating the rhythmic motor patterns that underlie swimming, that these circuits are controlled by specific locomotor areas in the brainstem and midbrain, and that these areas in turn are controlled by higher brain structures including the basal ganglia and tectum. In a study of the lamprey tectum published in 2007, they found that electrical stimulation could elicit eye movements, lateral bending movements, or swimming activity, and that the type, amplitude, and direction of movement varied as a function of the location within the tectum that was stimulated. These findings were interpreted as consistent with the idea that the tectum generates goal-directed locomotion in the lamprey as it does in other species.

Lampreys are used as a model organism
Model organism
A model organism is a non-human species that is extensively studied to understand particular biological phenomena, with the expectation that discoveries made in the organism model will provide insight into the workings of other organisms. Model organisms are in vivo models and are widely used to...

 in biomedical research where their large reticulospinal axon
Axon
An axon is a long, slender projection of a nerve cell, or neuron, that conducts electrical impulses away from the neuron's cell body or soma....

s are used to investigate synaptic transmission
Synapse
In the nervous system, a synapse is a structure that permits a neuron to pass an electrical or chemical signal to another cell...

. The axons of lamprey are particularly large and allow for microinjection
Microinjection
Microinjection refers to the process of using a glass micropipette to insert substances at a microscopic or borderline macroscopic level into a single living cell. It is a simple mechanical process in which a needle roughly 0.5 to 5 micrometers in diameter penetrates the cell membrane and/or the...

 of substances for experimental manipulation.

As pests

Sea lampreys have become a major plague
Pest (animal)
A pest is an animal which is detrimental to humans or human concerns. It is a loosely defined term, often overlapping with the related terms vermin, weeds, parasites and pathogens...

 in the North American Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

 after artificial canals allowed their entry during the early 20th century. They are considered an invasive species
Invasive species
"Invasive species", or invasive exotics, is a nomenclature term and categorization phrase used for flora and fauna, and for specific restoration-preservation processes in native habitats, with several definitions....

, have no natural enemies in the lakes and prey on many species of commercial value, such as lake trout
Lake trout
Lake trout is a freshwater char living mainly in lakes in northern North America. Other names for it include mackinaw, lake char , touladi, togue, and grey trout. In Lake Superior, they can also be variously known as siscowet, paperbellies and leans...

. Lampreys are now found mostly in the stream
Stream
A stream is a body of water with a current, confined within a bed and stream banks. Depending on its locale or certain characteristics, a stream may be referred to as a branch, brook, beck, burn, creek, "crick", gill , kill, lick, rill, river, syke, bayou, rivulet, streamage, wash, run or...

s that feed the lakes, with special barriers to prevent the upstream movement of adults, or by the application of toxicants called lampricide
Lampricide
Lampricide is a chemical which is designed to target the larvae of lampreys in river systems before their recruitment as parasitic adults. TFM is one such chemical...

s, which are harmless to most other aquatic species. However those programs are complicated and expensive, and do not eradicate the lampreys from the lakes but merely keep them in check. New programs are being developed including the use of chemically sterilized
Infertility
Infertility primarily refers to the biological inability of a person to contribute to conception. Infertility may also refer to the state of a woman who is unable to carry a pregnancy to full term...

 male lamprey in a method akin to the sterile insect technique
Sterile insect technique
The sterile insect technique is a method of biological control, whereby overwhelming numbers of sterile insects are released. The released insects are normally male as it is the female that causes the damage, usually by laying eggs in the crop, or, in the case of mosquitoes, taking a bloodmeal from...

. Research currently under way on the use of pheromones and how they may be used to disrupt the life cycle (Sorensen, et al., 2005) has met with some success. Control of sea lamprey
Sea lamprey
The sea lamprey is a parasitic lamprey found on the Atlantic coasts of Europe and North America, in the western Mediterranean Sea, and in the Great Lakes. It is brown, gray, or black on its back and white or gray on the underside and can grow up to 90 cm long. Sea lampreys prey on a wide...

s in the Great Lakes is conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, frequently referred to as DFO , is the department within the government of Canada that is responsible for developing and implementing policies and programs in support of Canada's economic, ecological and scientific interests in oceans and inland waters...

. The work is coordinated by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission
Great Lakes Fishery Commission
The Great Lakes Fishery Commission is a bi-national commission made up of representatives of the United States and Canada. It was formed by the Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries, ratified in 1955. It has eight members: four members are appointed by the President of the United States, serving...

.

Lake Champlain
Lake Champlain
Lake Champlain is a natural, freshwater lake in North America, located mainly within the borders of the United States but partially situated across the Canada—United States border in the Canadian province of Quebec.The New York portion of the Champlain Valley includes the eastern portions of...

, bordered by New York State, Vermont
Vermont
Vermont is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state ranks 43rd in land area, , and 45th in total area. Its population according to the 2010 census, 630,337, is the second smallest in the country, larger only than Wyoming. It is the only New England...

, and Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

, and New York's Finger Lakes
Finger Lakes
The Finger Lakes are a pattern of lakes in the west-central section of Upstate New York in the United States. They are a popular tourist destination. The lakes are long and thin , each oriented roughly on a north-south axis. The two longest, Cayuga Lake and Seneca Lake, are among the deepest in...

 are also home to populations of sea lampreys whose high populations have warranted control. Lake Champlain's lamprey control program is managed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. New York's Finger Lakes sea lamprey control program is managed solely by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Folklore

Lampreys are called "nine-eyed eels" (i.e., per side) from a counting of their seven external gill slits on a side with one eye and the nostril. A German word for lampreys is `Neunauge(n)' which means `nine-eye(s).

In literature

Vedius Pollio
Vedius Pollio
Publius Vedius Pollio was a Roman equestrian of the 1st century BC, and a friend of the Roman emperor Augustus, who appointed him to a position of authority in the province of Asia. In later life he became known for his luxurious tastes and cruelty to his slaves – when they displeased him,...

 was punished by Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

 for attempting to feed a clumsy slave to the lampreys in his fishpond.
...one of his slaves had broken a crystal cup. Vedius ordered him to be seized and then put to death, but in an unusual way. He ordered him to be thrown to the huge lampreys which he had in his fish pond. Who would not think he did this for display? Yet it was out of cruelty. The boy slipped from the captor’s hands and fled to Caesar’s feet asking nothing else other than a different way to die — he did not want to be eaten. Caesar was moved by the novelty of the cruelty and ordered him to be released, all the crystal cups to be broken before his eyes, and the fish pond to be filled in... – Seneca
Seneca the Younger
Lucius Annaeus Seneca was a Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist, and in one work humorist, of the Silver Age of Latin literature. He was tutor and later advisor to emperor Nero...

, On Anger, III, 40


"Lampreys have been seen before attacking a human in the great lakes. The lamprey let go a few seconds later after realizing its mistake. The man (who chose to be not named) was taken to the hospital with various injuries." – From the novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea is a classic science fiction novel by French writer Jules Verne published in 1870. It tells the story of Captain Nemo and his submarine Nautilus as seen from the perspective of Professor Pierre Aronnax...

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