Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A new kind of vampire hunter is on the prowl

by Tami Jackson
It’s that time of year for vampire hunters to get out on the prowl against
a very ancient lineage of aggressive and deadly sea vampires. 

Vampire fishresemble eels, have no scales, and can range between 5 and 40 inches long. 

Found in Lake Michigan and beyond in the other Great Lakes (we’re talking 94,000 square miles/244,000 square kilometers of water) The US Fish and Wildlife Service have a slayer's plan that includes a full arsenal of weapons.

You see, the vampire fish, also called Sea Lamprey” (Petromyzon marinus), attack and kill native lake trout, landlocked Atlantic salmon, walleye, and the endangered lake sturgeon. The vampires have a very round sucker-shaped mouth, which is useful for sinking in numerous fangs, maiming the prey, before drinking its bodily fluids.  

WHERE The US Fish and Wildlife Service FIND THE VAMPIRE LAIR

This month, at Lake Michigan, The US Fish and Wildlife Service will invade Mitchell Creek, but that’s only one of the 175 streams that lead into the Great Lakes that get treated with chemicals and/or traps at regular intervals. The hunters will wield lampricide TFM, which reportedly destroys lamprey larvae without harming other species.  According to sources, a single vampire fish can kill 40 or more pounds of other fish during its lifetime - and there are so many of them, hunting the vampires is vital.


Less often, the vampire hunters go after adult lampreys. They arm traps with pheromones and place them in rivers to lure the spawning vampires into them. The US Fish and Wildlife Service have also been known to install mechanical (e.g., waterfall-like) and electrical barriers to block the upstream migration of spawning sea lampreys.



"Sea Lamprey Management." Fish and Wildlife Service. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 02 Aug. 2012. Web. 04 June 2013.

"Lamprey Control." Vermont Fish & Wildlife. Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, n.d. Web. 04 June 2013.

"How Are Sea Lampreys Controlled." Protecting Our Fishery. Great Lakes Fishery Commission, n.d. Web. 04 June 2013.

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