Vampire fish spawning in Vermont's waters

Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department
Wildlife experts in Vermont have warned that so-called "vampire fish" should not be disturbed during the spawning season.
The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department announced this week that two lamprey species in the state's waters, sometimes referred to as "vampire fish", have started to spawn.
"If you happen to see a spawning lamprey or lamprey carcass, don't worry," said Lael Will, the department's fisheries biologist, on Facebook.
"The fish offer a number of important environmental benefits," she added. "And [they] are considered the most conservation-prone species in both Vermont and New Hampshire."
As an important species in the Connecticut River Basin and in the wider water system, people should not disturb parasitic lamprey.
The species has been referred to as "vampire fish" because of its circular mouth and sharp teeth, which allow fish to feed on decomposed matter and other marine organisms.
While young lamprey chases other marine organisms in the ocean, adult lamprey are not parasitic when they return to spawn in the Connecticut River every spring, Vermont's Wildlife Department said.
It added: "While they have existed in the Atlantic for over 350 million years, anadromous lamprey has developed along with their oceanic hosts and their populations are considered to be in equilibrium."
Young lamprey usually migrate to the Atlantic after five years in freshwater river sediment.
At the same time, Vermont is also home to non-native lamprey, which is classified by the state authorities as a "disturbing species".
These “vampire fish” seen on Lake Champlain are not protected species because they are invasive.
"We believe it is important to highlight and contrast the value of lamprey from the Connecticut River, educate the public, and encourage people to help protect this important fish population," added the wildlife department.
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