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  Sea Lamprey
(Petromyzon marinus)
  sea lamprey.jpg

This species is certainly one of the most unique fish species found in Quebec. For one, it has no bones, a cartilagineous skull, and a circular toothed mouth designed for suction. The sea lamprey lives in salt or fresh water and makes its living as an external parasite; by attaching itself to fish to drink the blood of the host. The sea lamprey is legendary for its massive impacts on the native fishes of the Great Lakes. Following the opening of the Welland Canal in 1829, sea lampreys were given the opportunity to spread from Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River to Lake Huron, Michigan, and Superior. It was not until the 1930's and 40' s that sea lampreys were found in these lakes, although once established, this species quickly decimated lake trout and lake whitefish stocks. Expensive and potentially ecologically damaging sea lamprey control programs have been in effect ever since

Distribution of the Sea Lamprey in Quebec:
distribution map.gif

 

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