top of page

Family: Petromyzontidae
Ichthyomyzon greeleyi 
Mountain Brook Lamprey

Ichthyomyzon greeyleyi (Mountain Brook Lamprey)

In contrast to many other species of lamprey, such as the Ohio lamprey, the Mountain Brook Lamprey is non-parasitic. In other words, members of this species do not attach themselves to larger fish. All lamprey have eel-like bodies, but unlike eels, they do not possess jaws. Instead, adults have disc-shaped mouths called buccal funnels with several rows of teeth arranged in a circular pattern. Juveniles or larvae, termed ammocoetes, lack a developed buccal funnel, and construct U-shaped burrows where they feed on drifting plant and animal matter until they reach sexual maturity and are ready to spawn. Mountain brook lamprey grow to be around eight inches or so. Adults do not feed, instead, they direct their energy toward passing their genes on to the next generation.

Spawning (see above photo) occurs in May when water temperatures reach the low 40’s. Males are responsible for building nests in shallow water, around 12 inches or so, directly above riffle areas. This is accomplished by removing rocky substrate larger than fine gravel, forming a shallow depression less than a foot in diameter. Upon completion of the nest, females will move to the nesting site to spawn. Although this species can live up to six or so years, adults die soon after spawning.

Copy of 04-30-2017_DavRiver_I.greeleyi3
Copy of 04-30-2017_DavRiver_I.greeleyi2
Copy of 04-30-2017_DavRiver_I.greeleyi0
Copy of 04-30-2017_DavRiver_I.greeleyi1
bottom of page