Sea Lamprey Found in New Jersey Waters [Photos and Video]

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Sea Lamprey

A New Jersey man has gained more than 1.5 million views of his picture of the Sea Lamprey he caught and has been circling around Reddit.

Doug Cutler was fishing in this Raritan River, somewhere in northern New Jersey when he spotted this eelike creature.

Using his bow and arrow, which he conveniently had, he snagged the sea lamprey with a shot right through its middle.

The sea lamprey is a blood-sucking fish that spawns in fresh waters. The sea lamprey usually grows to about 3 feet, and feeds on other fish by attaching to them and sucking out their prey’s blood. It has about 11 or 12 rows of teeth, and will tear at the skin of a fish (mackerel, salmon, hake or many other kinds), affix its mouth to the opening and drink until they have bled their prey dry, reports the New Jersey Newsroom.Sea Lamprey New Jersey

During its life as a parasite, a sea lamprey can kill forty or more pounds of fish. Experts say they are so destructive that under some conditions, only one of seven fish attacked by a sea lamprey will survive.

Scientists at Outdoor magazine think this lamprey is very large for it’s species of parasite. Sea lampreys are a native to the Atlantic Ocean and are found along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard and the coast of Europe, as well as in the Great Lakes, where it is considered an invasive species.

“The photo doesn’t allow counting of gill openings (seven per side for sea lampreys), but based on size alone, this does appear to be a sea lamprey,” a New York Department of Environmental Conservation spokeswoman told NY Daily News.

Sea lampreys have begun to show up more in New Jersey waters in past few years since old dams have been removed from rivers for safety reasons. Which in turn, the sea lamprey has been able to progress upriver.

Others have begun to question the reliability of this sea lamprey picture.  It was uploaded on Reddit in February, but the picture shows the man in a t-shirt and shorts while the trees are full of green leaves and full bloom.  That doesn’t seem like New Jersey in February.  Then again, maybe the sea lamprey picture was taken during the summer months and the Reddit user just got the chance to upload it.

On Reddit, users have been in discussion about all sorts of things about the Sea Lamprey found in New Jersey.  One user by the name of Apochromat says: “Lamprey is a local delicacy in parts of Finland. The way they are prepared is kind of brutal since they are salted while still being alive, and the salt is absorbed through their skin. So they are essentially tortured to death, which is kind of ironic considering how they feed on their hosts.”

Meanwhile, another user by the name of Syosm recalls an experience they had with the Sea Lamprey: When I was a kid, I went fishing at a wildlife refuge in Seney, Michigan. I walked into the building to register with my dad, and I saw a fogged up fish tank to the left. Naturally, I wanted to see what was inside the tank. I wiped an area on the side of the tank clean and what I saw was one of these god-awful creatures suctioned to the glass. I will never, ever forget that fear. It was by far the most afraid I have ever been in my life.

Sea Lamprey

Photo Credits: Doug Cutler

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