European river lamprey
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|This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the French Wikipedia. (September 2013)|
|European river lamprey|
|European river lamprey (Lampetra fluviatilis)|
It is found in coastal waters around almost all of Europe from the north-west Mediterranean Sea north to the lakes of Finland, Scotland, Norway (Lake Mjosa), Wales (Cors Caron), and Russia, including rivers in the Alps. Initially, in 1996, its conservation status was rated Near Threatened but since 2008 has been rated Least Concern following recovery of populations after pollution problems in central and western Europe. .
River lampreys belong to the same genus as brook lamprey and are thought to be very closely related. Current thinking suggests that European brook and river lampreys are a paired species, which means the river lamprey represents the anadromous (sea going) form of the resident brook lamprey. However, this is an area that is still being actively researched.
It has a reproduction cycle similar to that of salmon. River lampreys migrate upstream from the sea to spawning grounds in autumn/winter. Spawning activity is greatest in the springtime (like brook lamprey) and river lamprey ammocoetes also spend several years in soft sediment before migrating to sea as adults. It is not currently known how long these animals spend in marine habitats before making the return trip to spawn.
As ammocoetes, identification of these animals beyond genus level (Lampetra) is difficult because of their close similarity to brook lamprey. They average 30 cm in length as adults, and some may be considerably smaller (20 cm), but in each case they are distinctly larger than adult brook lamprey (12–14 cm). They are generally 150 g in mass, and their maximum life span is roughly 10 years.
- Freyhof, J. (2012). "Lampetra fluviatilis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
- Espanhol, R; Almeida, PR; Alves, MJ (May 2007). "Evolutionary history of lamprey paired species Lampetra fluviatilis (L.) and Lampetra planeri (Bloch) as inferred from mitochondrial DNA variation". Molecular Ecology 16 (9): 1909–24. doi:10.1111/j.1365-294X.2007.03279.x. PMID 17444901.
- Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2012). "Lampetra fluviatilis" in FishBase. September 2012 version.