Lampreys are one of two jawless fish alive today in the world and as such, the most primitive living vertebrates. They spend several years as ammocete larvae which filter feed before transforming into the adult stage in which they spend between a month and a year and a half. There are 31 species of lamprey in the world and 6 in the Northeast. While some measure under 6 inches as adults, others can reach up to 4 feet. While the sea lamprey which live in our area are parasites which attach onto larger fish, others species are nonparasitic or simply do not feed. Sea lampreys return in freshwater to spawn; females can carry 235 thousand eggs in a single run. They reach adulthood in five years. Because of the damage to commercial fish stocks, poisons are often used in lakes where they have been found. lamprey
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