Parasitic ‘Vampire Fish’ making a comeback

Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images
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A creepy, parasitic fish that thrives by sucking the blood out of its hosts — earning the nickname “vampire fish” — is making a comeback in the Great Lakes after the pandemic interrupted population control of the species.

The fish, which has a circular row of teeth, a serrated tongue, and an eel-like shape, is called the sea lamprey.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, sea lampreys are native to the northern and western Atlantic Ocean but invaded the Great Lakes around the early 19th century through the Welland Canal, which connects Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.

“Within a decade, they had gained access to all five Great Lakes, where they quickly set to work predating on the lakes’ commercially important fishes, including trout, whitefish, perch, and sturgeon,” the NOAA wrote. “Within a century, the trout fishery had collapsed, largely due to the lamprey’s unchecked proliferation.”


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Chuck comes from a lineage of journalism. He has written for some of the webs most popular news sites. He enjoys spending time outdoors, bull riding, and collecting old vinyl records. Roll Tide!