Top 10 Sea Lamprey Characteristics That Have Helped It Survive


Every animal on this planet has to fight against odds. There are various predators which are after the prey to make a meal out of them. Nature provides every animal with traits that allow it to survive in the ecosystem that it lives in. There are adaptations for feeding. There are various defense mechanisms which the animals use to protect themselves from their predators. The Sea Lamprey is no different in this matter. Let us see some of the survival traits that the fish has.

(1) A Sea Lamprey is by nature a predator with hardly any predators that have been identified. Apart from humans, there are no known predators. This makes the species one of the best survivors in its ecosystem. This is probably the best trait that makes the survival of the species very easy.


(2) The eggs are hatched in the freshwater streams where they are protected by nests which are built by the adult males using stones. The eggs hatch into larvae.

(3) The sheer number of the eggs is itself an aid for survival. A female Sea Lamprey lays around 30,000 to 100,000 eggs before it dies.

(4) The larvae themselves don’t come under any attack because they stay buried in the sand feeding on planktons and algae. This means that most of the larvae survive to become adults unless they are killed by humans for control of the proliferation of the Sea Lamprey.

(5) The larvae start to metamorphize when they complete around 3 to 6 years. They develop enough adaptations for their migration from the fresh water to the sea water where they spend their lives as adults.

(6) The Sea Lamprey feed on other fishes. The round mouth which is larger than the head acts as a suction cup for latching on to the prey before the feeding starts.

(7) There are several teeth arranged in consecutive rows in a circle. These are sharp and pointed and help in the feeding. The teeth also help in clinging on to the prey. The tongue is like a file, which can saw into the scales of the prey making it easy to feed.

(8) The Sea Lamprey has a saliva that can prevent clotting of blood. It contains an anti-coagulant which will prevent the blood of the victim from clotting. This will help the fish to feed on the prey to its fill.

(9) The body of the Sea Lamprey is very simple. It has a very basic nervous system. These help the fish to snake their body. This is a useful adaptation in the waters.

(10) The Sea Lamprey can swim in a ‘W’ formation. This helps them to avoid any predator that may be looking to attack them.


Sea Lamprey continues to be harvested by humans for controlling the population. They are also used as food in many parts of Europe. There is a preference for the Great Lakes Lamprey as it will contain eggs which can be used as another product.

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