Sea lamprey

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Sea lamprey Petromyzon marinus
Sea Lamprey fish.jpg
Sea lampreys on a lake trout
Petromyzon marinus2.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Superclass: Agnatha
Class: Hyperoartia (Petromyzontida)
Order: Petromyzontiformes
Family: Petromyzontidae
Genus: Petromyzon
Linnaeus, 1758
Species: P. marinus
Binomial name
Petromyzon marinus
Linnaeus, 1758
Synonyms
  • Ammocoetus Dumeril 1812 non Erichson 1847
  • Bathymyzon Gill 1883
  • Chilopterus Philippi 1858
  • Oceanomyzon Fowler 1908
  • Lampreda Rafinesque 1815
  • Pricus Rafinesque 1815

The sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) is a parasitic lamprey native to the Northern Hemisphere.

Description[edit]

For a broader coverage related to general lamprey morphology, see Lamprey.

The sea lamprey has an eel-like body without paired fins. Its mouth is jawless, round and sucker-like, and as wide or wider than the head; sharp teeth are arranged in many consecutive circular rows. There are 7 branchial openings behind the eye. Olive or brown-yellow on the dorsal and lateral part of the body, with some black marblings, with lighter colouration on the belly. Adults can reach a length of up to 120 centimetres (47 in) and a body weight of up to 2.3 kilograms (5.1 lb).[2]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The species is found in the northern and western Atlantic Ocean along the shores of Europe and North America, in the western Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, and in the shores of the Great Lakes.[1] They have been found at depths of up to 4000 m and tolerate temperatures between 1 and 20 °C.[2] The largest European populations of sea lamprey are located throughout the south-western areas of Europe (north-central Portugal, north-north-west of Spain and west–south-west of France).[3] These countries also support the main fisheries of the species.[4]

Ecology[edit]

All lampreys are anadromous. From their lake or sea habitats, they migrate up rivers to spawn (followed by the death of the spawning adults); females deposit a large number of eggs in nests made by males in the substrate of streams with moderately strong current. Larvae burrow in sand and silt bottom in quiet water downstream from spawning areas and filter-feed on plankton and detritus.[1]

After several years in freshwater habitats, the larvae undergo a metamorphosis that allows young postmetamorphic lampreys to migrate to the sea or lakes and start the hematophagous feeding.[5] Some individuals can start the hematophagous feeding in the river before migrating to the sea,[6] where sea lampreys prey on a wide variety of fish.[7]

The lamprey uses its suction cup-like mouth to attach itself to the skin of a fish and rasps away tissue with its sharp, probing tongue and keratinized teeth. Secretions in the lamprey's mouth prevent the victim's blood from clotting. Victims typically die from excessive blood loss or infection. After one year of hematophagous feeding, lampreys return to the river to spawn and die, one year and a half after the completion of metamorphosis.[8]

Lampreys are considered a delicacy in some parts of Europe, including South-Western France, but are not commonly eaten in the Americas.[citation needed]

Physiology[edit]

Due to its lifecycle that switches between fresh and salt water, the sea lamprey is adapted to tolerate a wide range of salinities. Cell membranes on the surface of the gills are major contributors to ionoregulation. Changes in membrane composition influence the movement of different ions across the membrane, changing amounts of components to change the membranes "environment". As the larvae (called ammocoetes) move towards the oceans, the ratio between saturated fatty acids (SFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in the gills shifts towards higher amounts of SFA, as they effect the fluidity of the membrane, and higher level of SFA leads to a decrease in permeability compared to PUFA.[9] Lamprey ammocoetes have a relatively narrow range of salinity tolerance but become better able to withstand wider ranges of salinity concentrations as they reach later stages of life. Tight regulation of Na/K-ATPase and an overall decrease in expression of H-ATPase assists in the regulation the lamprey's internal fluid and ion balance as it moves to areas of higher salinity.[10]

Lamprey also maintain acid-base homeostasis. When introduced to higher levels of acids, lamprey are able to excrete excess acids at higher rates than most other saltwater fishes and therefore in much shorter amounts of time. The majority of the transfer of ions occurring at the gill surface.[11]

Sea lampreys parasitize other fishes for their diet, including elasmobranchs like sharks and rays which have naturally have high levels of urea in their blood. Urea is toxic to most fishes in high concentrations, and it usually excreted immediately. Lamprey are able to tolerate much higher concentrations than most other fish and excrete it at extremely high rates, obtained from ingested blood. Trimethylamine oxides present in ingested elasmobranch blood aids in counteracting the detrimental affects of high urea concentration in the lamprey's bloodstream as it feeds.[12]

Genetics[edit]

The genome of Petromyzon marinus was sequenced in 2013.[13] This sequencing effort revealed that the lamprey has unusual GC-content and amino acid usage patterns compared to other vertebrates. The full sequence and annotation of the Lamprey genome is available on the Ensembl genome browser.

The lamprey genome may serve as a model for developmental biology as well as evolution studies involving transposition of repetitive sequences. The lamprey genome undergoes drastic rearrangements during early embryogenesis in which about 20% of the germline DNA from somatic tissues is shed. The genome is highly repetitive. About 35% of the current genome assembly is composed of repetitive elements with high sequence identity.[13]

Invasive Species[edit]

Sea lampreys are considered a pest in the Great Lakes region. The species is native to the inland Finger Lakes and Lake Champlain in New York and Vermont. It is not clear whether it is native to Lake Ontario, where it was first noticed in the 1830s, or whether it was introduced through the Erie Canal which opened in 1825.[14] Improvements to the Welland Canal in 1919 are thought to have allowed its spread from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie, and while it was never abundant in either lake, it soon spread to Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and Lake Superior, where it decimated indigenous fish populations in the 1930s and 1940s. They have created a problem with their aggressive parasitism on key predator species and game fish, such as lake trout, lake whitefish, chub, and lake herring. Elimination of these predators allowed the alewife, another invasive species, to explode in population, having adverse effects on many native fish species. The lake trout plays a vital role in the Lake Superior ecosystem. The lake trout is considered an apex predator, which means that they have no predators of their own. The sea lamprey is an aggressive predator by nature, which gives it a competitive advantage in a lake system where it has no predators and its prey lacks defenses against it. The sea lamprey played a large role in the destruction of the Lake Superior lake trout population. Lamprey introduction along with poor, unsustainable fishing practices caused the lake trout populations to decline drastically. The relationship between predators and prey in the Great Lakes' ecosystem then became unbalanced.[15]

Efforts at control[edit]

Mouth of a sea lamprey, Petromyzon marinus
Video of the breathing of sea lamprey. Gijón Aquarium

Control efforts, including electric current, chemical lampricides[citation needed] have met with varied success. The control programs are carried out under the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, a joint Canada–U.S. body, specifically by the agents of the Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

Genetic researchers have mapped the sea lamprey's genome in the hope of finding out more about evolution; scientists trying to eliminate the Great Lakes problem are coordinating with these genetic scientists, hoping to find out more about its immune system and fitting it into its place in the phylogenetic tree. Several scientists in this field work directly for Fisheries and Oceans Canada or the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.[citation needed]

Researchers from Michigan State University have teamed up with others from the Universities of Minnesota, Guelph, and Wisconsin, as well as many others in a massive research effort into newly synthesized pheromones. These are believed to have independent influences on the sea lamprey behavior. One pheromone serves a migratory function in that odor emitted from larvae are thought to lure maturing adults into streams with suitable spawning habitat. A sex pheromone emitted from males is capable of luring females long distances to very specific locations. These two pheromones are actually both several different compounds thought to elicit different behaviors that collectively influence the lamprey to exhibit migratory or spawning behaviors. Effort is being made to characterize the function of each pheromone, each part of each pheromone, and if they can be used in a targeted effort at environmentally friendly lamprey control. Despite millions of dollars put into research, however, the most effective control measures are still being undertaken by control agents of state and federal agencies, but involve the somewhat publicly unacceptable application of TFM into rivers.[citation needed]

Another technique used in the prevention of lamprey population growth is the use of barriers in major reproduction streams of high value to the lamprey. The purpose of the barriers is to block their upstream migration to reduce reproduction. The issue with these barriers is that other aquatic species are also inhibited by this barrier. Fish that use tributaries are impeded from traveling upstream to spawn. To account for this, barriers have been altered and designed to allow the passage of most fish species but still impede others.[16][17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c NatureServe (2013). "Petromyzon marinus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (IUCN) 2013: e.T16781A18229984. Retrieved 29 April 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "Petromyzon marinus - Sea lamprey". FishBase. 
  3. ^ Silva, S., Vieira-Lanero, R., Barca, S., & Cobo, F. (2016). Densities and biomass of larval Sea Lamprey populations (Petromyzon marinus Linnaeus, 1758) in North West Spain and data comparisons with other European regions. Marine and Freshwater Research. Online early
  4. ^ Araújo, M.J., Silva, S., Stratoudakis, Y., Gonçalves, M., Lopez, R., Carneiro, M., Martins, R., Cobo, F. and Antunes, C. 2016. Sea lamprey fisheries in the Iberian Peninsula, pp.115-148. In Jawless Fishes of the World. Volume 2, Chapter: 20. Ed. by A. Orlov and R. Beamish. Cambridge Schoolars Publishing
  5. ^ Silva, S., Servia, M. J., Vieira-Lanero, R. & Cobo, F. (2013a). "Downstream migration and hematophagous feeding of newly metamorphosed sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus Linnaeus, 1758)". Hydrobiologia 700: 277–286. Doi: 10.1007/s10750-012-1237-3
  6. ^ Silva, S., Servia, M. J., Vieira-Lanero, R., Nachón, D. J. & Cobo, F. (2013). Haematophagous feeding of newly metamorphosed European sea lampreys Petromyzon marinus on strictly freshwater species. Journal of Fish Biology. doi:10.1111/jfb.12100
  7. ^ Silva, S., Araújo, M. J., Bao, M., Mucientes, G., & Cobo, F. (2014). The haematophagous feeding stage of anadromous populations of sea lamprey Petromyzon marinus: low host selectivity and wide range of habitats. Hydrobiologia, 734(1), 187-199.
  8. ^ Silva, S., Servia, M.J., Vieira-Lanero, R., Barca, S. & Cobo, F. (2013b). Life cycle of the sea lamprey Petromyzon marinus: duration of and growth in the marine life stage. Aquatic Biology 18: 59–62. doi: 10.3354/ab00488.
  9. ^ João, Maria; Machado, Maria; Ferreira, Ana; Quintella, Bernardo; Almeida, Pedro (2015). "Structural lipid changes and Na + / K + -ATPase activity of gill cells ’ basolateral membranes during saltwater acclimation in sea lamprey ( Petromyzon marinus , L .) juveniles". Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 189: 67–75. doi:10.1016/j.cbpa.2015.07.018. 
  10. ^ Reis-Santos, Patrick; McCormick, Stephen; Wilson, Jonathan (2008). "Ionoregulatory changes during metamorphosis and salinity exposure of juvenile sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus L.)". The Journal of Experimental Biology 211: 978–988. doi:10.1242/jeb.014423. 
  11. ^ Wilkie, Michael; Couturier, Jennifer; Tufts, Bruce (1998). "Mechanisms of acid-base regulation in migrant sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) following exhaustive exercise". The Journal of Experimental Biology 201: 1473–1482. 
  12. ^ Wilkie, Michael; Turnbull, Steven; Bird, Jonathan; Wang, Yuxiang; Claude, Jaime; Youson, John (2004). "Lamprey parasitism of sharks and teleosts: High capacity urea excretion in an extant vertebrate relic". Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 138: 485–492. doi:10.1016/j.cbpb.2004.06.001. 
  13. ^ a b Smith, Jeramiah J; Kuraku, Shigehiro; Holt, Carson; Sauka-Spengler, Tatjana; Jiang, Ning; Campbell, Michael S; Yandell, Mark D; Manousaki, Tereza; Meyer, Axel; Bloom, Ona E; Morgan, Jennifer R; Buxbaum, Joseph D; Sachidanandam, Ravi; Sims, Carrie; Garruss, Alexander S; Cook, Malcolm; Krumlauf, Robb; Wiedemann, Leanne M; Sower, Stacia A; Decatur, Wayne A; Hall, Jeffrey A; Amemiya, Chris T; Saha, Nil R; Buckley, Katherine M; Rast, Jonathan P; Das, Sabyasachi; Hirano, Masayuki; McCurley, Nathanael; Guo, Peng; Rohner, Nicolas; Tabin, Clifford J; Piccinelli, Paul; Elgar, Greg; Ruffier, Magali; Aken, Bronwen L; Searle, Stephen M J; Muffato, Matthieu; Pignatelli, Miguel; Herrero, Javier; Jones, Matthew; Brown, C Titus; Chung-Davidson, Yu-Wen; Nanlohy, Kaben G; Libants, Scot V; Yeh, Chu-Yin; McCauley, David W; Langeland, James A; Pancer, Zeev; Fritzsch, Bernd; de Jong, Pieter J; Zhu, Baoli; Fulton, Lucinda L; Theising, Brenda; Flicek, Paul; Bronner, Marianne E; Warren, Wesley C; Clifton, Sandra W; Wilson, Richard K; Li, Weiming (2013). "Sequencing of the sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) genome provides insights into vertebrate evolution". Nature Genetics 45 (4): 415–421. doi:10.1038/ng.2568. ISSN 1061-4036. PMC 3709584. PMID 23435085. 
  14. ^ Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Factsheet: Petromyzon marinus U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program (NAS). Retrieved on 2007-08-04.
  15. ^ McClelland, Edward (2008). "Great Lake Invaders". E – The Environmental Magazine 19 (2): 10–11. 
  16. ^ Pratt, T. C.; O’Connor, L. M.; Hallett, A. G. (2009). "Balancing Aquatic Habitat Fragmentation and Control of Invasive Species: Enhancing Selective Fish Passage at Sea Lamprey Control Barriers". Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 138 (3): 652–65. 
  17. ^ AIS - Aquatic Invasive Species. "Sea lamprey" (PDF). Indiana State Government. 

Further reading[edit]

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