The Minnesota DNR posted on their social media about how to identify species of Lamprey, found in Lake Superior and Minnesota bodies of water. There are native species that have been in our waters for 10,000 years since the last glaciers were here.

However, there is an invasive Sea Lamprey that has made its way into the Great Lakes, including Lake Superior and its tributaries. The Sea Lamprey is larger than the others as it comes originally from the ocean.

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It first showed up in 1946 after the Welland canal was constructed between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario in 1829. This made a route that bypassed Niagra Falls.

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Now that's one freaky fish! These things are just gross looking. Did the Duffer Brothers get the idea for the Demogorgon from sea creatures like this?

Some Lampreys are parasitic. The Sea Lamprey is the most destructive one because of its size. It will attach to a fish and feed off of it until the fish dies. It's considered an invasive species, and if you see one, you are to report it to the Minnesota DNR. It's unlawful to possess or transport these fish.  However, don't be fooled by the other native lamprey species that are common in the area.

Minnesota's native lamprey species aren't considered a threat to the ecosystem and fish populations because they have coexisted for 1,000 years. The species have learned to adapt and live together. They include:

  • Chesnut Lamprey - 8 to 10 inches long, dark olive above, grayish-yellow below
  • Silver Lamprey - 9-14 inches long, gray with silver coloring on the bottom, sucking disk is larger than the head. (GROSS!)
  • American Brook Lamprey - 5 to 7 inches, dark spot on tail, yellow tinted fins
  • Northern Brook Lamprey - 4 to 6 inches, dark spot on tail, muddy brown
  • Southern Brook Lamprey - 5 to 7 inches, brown on top, silver on stomach

Of those species, only the Chesnut and Silver Lamprey are parasitic when they become adults.

You can tell if it's an invasive Sea Lamprey because they are bigger ranging from 12-24 inches long. Once again, if you find a longer Sea Lamprey contact the DNR.

Try not to think about these things in the water next time you take a dip in the lake.

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