As Morski writes on the 20th of August, 2019, sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) are parasites that live on many species of fish and mammals. These strange creatures spawn once in a lifetime in fresh water, and instead of hooking itself onto a passing fish, this specimen managed to attach itself to the stern of a boat in Croatian waters.
According to Podvodni.hr, the younger sea lampreys remain buried in the relative safety of river silt during the entire first year of its life, later on, it moves down and out to sea. They have several life stages, during their “sea” phase they try to find a victim, from whom they will suck blood. These unlucky ”hosts” are mostly dolphins, larger fish, and turtles, but boats and ships of course usually do not belong to this group.
This morning, Marin recorded an unusual sight of a sea lamprey near the island of Mljet in southern Dalmatia, the lamprey had somehow managed to latch itself onto the stern of the ship, likely mistakenly. He tried to remove the lamprey and set it back off into the sea but it persistently returned and reattached itself to the stern.
Although these sea lampreys are quite rare in Croatian waters, in places where they’re more common, this odd behavior from them is often observed, there are assumptions that lampreys attach themselves to their hosts and become ”hitch hikers” on their migrations, but they are more likely to keep trying to attach themselves to vessels due to general misjudgment.
They are elongated, smooth and slimy and without a shell. They have two dorsal fins, are a greenish brown to greenish gray colour on the upper side, and pale on the underside. They can also be black marbled.
They can grow up to 3 kilograms in weight and reach around one metre in length.
While not often seen, lampreys live throughout the Croatian Adriatic, although it is found mostly near the mouths of rivers, and in the rivers themselves.
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