The Eastern Arctic Seas Encyclopedia

2016 Edition
| Editors: Igor S. Zonn, Andrey G. Kostianoy, Aleksandr V. Semenov

Pacific Lamprey and Arctic Lamprey (Lethenteron camtschaticum)

Reference work entry
Pacific Lamprey and Arctic Lamprey (Lethenteron camtschaticum) – anadromous fish of the lamprey family (Petromyzontidae). The length is 50–60 cm. The body is long, eel-like, and naked. They are distributed in the basins of the White, Barents, Kara, Chukchi, and Bering Seas, the Sea of Okhotsk, and the Sea of Japan and in the rivers of the Arctic Ocean to the Ob inclusive. The most numerous is in the Onega, the Northern Dvina, and the Mezen. Off the coast of America, L. is found in the Gulf of Alaska. At the end of the summer, L. forms large shoals in pre-estuary spaces of rivers. It enters the river in autumn, in September–October; the migration continues also after ice formation. P.L. moves up the rivers for hundreds of kilometers, mostly at night. Since the beginning of the migration, it stops feeding and winters in freshwater and spawns in late spring to early summer (May–June). Fertility is 80,000–100,000 eggs. After spawning, P.L. dies. Niners live in rivers for few years, transformed into adult lampreys, and run to sea. Adults feed on the blood and muscles of fish (whitefish, herring, salmon, chum salmon, smelt) stuck to their bodies. Lamprey feeds especially actively at the end of summer, when going to swarm. The life span is 7 years, of which 4 years it spends in rivers. It has a high commercial significance.

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