Study finds way to cut sea lamprey numbers

October 3, 2005

Minnesota scientists say they've found a way to reduce sea lamprey populations in the Great Lakes by attracting them to areas where they can be sterilized.

Lampreys are eel-like, blood-sucking creatures that have devastated Great Lakes fish populations for decades. But scientists at the University of Minnesota have discovered a chemical sex attractant that draws adult lampreys to spawning streams, where the males can be caught and sterilized, the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press reported Monday.

"This presents the possibility of a whole new environmentally safe tool for controlling sea lamprey in the Great Lakes,'' said Peter Sorensen, a university professor of fisheries, wildlife and conservation biology who led the study with chemistry professor Thomas Hoye.

Experts say the discovery, detailed in the November issue of Nature Chemical Biology, might also help control other problem species, such as carp.

Sea lampreys invaded the Great Lakes during the 1920s and 1930s, depleting such native fish as lake trout and whitefish. In Lake Huron, lampreys are blamed for reducing the lake's trout catch from 3.4 million pounds in 1937 to nothing by 1947.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Sea lamprey up in Lake Superior

Related Stories

Sea lamprey up in Lake Superior

August 27, 2005

The number of sea lamprey has nearly doubled in western Lake Superior in the past year, according to Minnesota and U.S. wildlife officials.

Scents latest weapons in fight against sea lamprey

January 2, 2011

(AP) -- In the never-ending battle to prevent blood-sucking sea lamprey from wiping out some of the most popular fish species in the Great Lakes, biologists are developing new weapons that exploit three certainties in the ...

Masses of plastic particles found in Great Lakes

July 30, 2013

Already ravaged by toxic algae, invasive mussels and industrial pollution, North America's Great Lakes now confront another potential threat that few had even imagined until recently: untold millions of plastic litter bits, ...

Sea lampreys jettison one-fifth of their genome

July 20, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Researchers have discovered that the sea lamprey, which emerged from jawless fish first appearing 500 million years ago, dramatically remodels its genome. Shortly after a fertilized lamprey egg divides into ...

Recommended for you

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.