, Volume 700, Issue 1, pp 277–286 | Cite as

Downstream migration and hematophagous feeding of newly metamorphosed sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus Linnaeus, 1758)

  • S. SilvaEmail author
  • M. J. Servia
  • R. Vieira-Lanero
  • F. Cobo
Primary Research Paper


The metamorphosis of sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus Linnaeus, 1758) allows young postmetamorphic individuals to migrate to the sea and start the hematophagous feeding. However, the information about this phase is very limited, especially for European populations. Herein, we provide for the first time a comprehensive study on the phenology of downstream migration, the timing and location of first feeding and the prey species in the River Ulla and its estuary (NW Spain). Results show that downstream migration occurs between October and May with a peak in March. At least for a part of the postmetamorphic lampreys this migration stops for several months when they reach the estuary, where lampreys find shelter and abundant food, before moving to coastal waters. Hematophagous feeding in the estuary allows postmetamorphics to increase their total length and weight exponentially. Our results also suggest that part of the postmetamorphics (10–30%) start the hematophagous feeding in the river, with a special affinity for anadromous species, probably because of their larger size.


Estuary Migration Petromyzon Salmo Alosa Liza 



Part of this study has been carried out in the laboratories of the Station of Hydrobiology of the USC ‘Encoro do Con’ in Vilagarcía de Arousa. The authors thank the staff of this station due their participation in the surveys, especially D. J. Nachón. We also thank the staff of Ximonde permanent trap for their collaboration in this study. This study has been partially supported by the project 10PXIB2111059PR of Xunta de Galicia and the project MIGRANET of the Interreg IV B SUDOE (South-West Europe) Territorial Cooperation Programme (SOE2/P2/E288).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Silva
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • M. J. Servia
    • 3
  • R. Vieira-Lanero
    • 2
  • F. Cobo
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de Zoología y Antropología FísicaUniversidad de Santiago de CompostelaSantiago de CompostelaSpain
  2. 2.Estación de Hidrobioloxía “Encoro do Con”Vilagarcía de Arousa, PontevedraSpain
  3. 3.Departamento de Biología Animal, Biología Vegetal y Ecología, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad de A CoruñaA CoruñaSpain

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