Guardian Nature School Team Contact Blog Project Noah Facebook Project Noah Twitter

A global community of nature enthusiasts
photographing and learning about wildlife

Join Project Noah!
nature school apple icon

Project Noah Nature School visit nature school

Sea Lamprey

Petromyzon marinus


Lamprey's live most of their life at sea where they feed by being parasitic on other fish. When it's time to breed and spawn, they go up fresh water rivers, like this one that I found in the Millers River.

1 Species ID Suggestions

Sea Lamprey
Petromyzon marinus Sea lamprey

Sign in to suggest organism ID


Tom15 7 years ago

Thanks outsidegirl. Lampreys have quite a bizarre mouth.

outsidegirl0 7 years ago

wow, amazing spotting!

KarenL 8 years ago

Fun fact! The lamprey is a species of jawless fish with mouth that acts like a suction cup allowing it to attach to fish before rasping away flesh with a sharp, probing tongue and its teeth. These bizarre, alien-looking fish have remained virtually unchanged for nearly 300 millions years.

Tom15 8 years ago

Marta, they're like salmon that live at sea and swim up rivers to where they were born to lay eggs for the next generation.

The MnMs
The MnMs 8 years ago

Nice! Just one question: how come it was so far from the sea? are they also found in rivers?

Tom15 8 years ago

Leanne, I'm not sure even a mother could love that face:-)

LeanneGardner 8 years ago

A face only a mother could love! Great spotting Tom.

timmo.yoong 8 years ago

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 (35.5 in) long. Sea lampreys prey on a wide variety of fish. The lamprey uses its suction cup-like mouth to attach itself to the skin of a fish and rasps away tissue with its sharp, probing tongue and keratinized teeth. Secretions in the lamprey's mouth prevent the victim's blood from clotting. Victims typically die from excessive blood loss or infection.

Tom15 8 years ago

Thanks, I feel sorry for the poor fish that get one of these attached to it.

alicelongmartin 8 years ago

Fantastic picture, makes me want to back off a bit!

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 8 years ago

What a daunting figure! Interesting to read I can find this in my own backyard!

YukoChartraw 8 years ago


ShannaB 8 years ago

It sure would, Tom! It looks like something out of The X-Files. : )

Tom15 8 years ago

I don't think they latch to humans, but I suppose it's possible. That would make a good horror movie:-)

ShannaB 8 years ago

I had to look this up to find out more about what a lamprey actually is. They are like leeches of the fish world!! Do they ever latch on to humans??

Tom15 8 years ago

I was looking for dragonflies at the river so I had my dragonfly net with me. I saw the lamprey moving slowly in the water and used my net to get it out for pictures, then put it back.

ShannaB 8 years ago

Holy dooley!!

Maria dB
Maria dB 8 years ago

Did you put it back in the river? Amazing shot!

Tom15 8 years ago

You might think twice about swimming in the river:-)

Amazing !

QWMom 8 years ago

Cool shot! :)

LuisStevens 8 years ago

Great sci fi character!

Spotted by

Massachusetts, USA

Spotted on Jun 18, 2004
Submitted on Feb 7, 2013

Noah Guardians
Noah Sponsors

Join the Project Noah Team Join Project Noah Team