BIO 210


Silver Lampreys live in different habitats through out their life cycle.  Silver Lampreys spawn in rivers with sand or gavel bottoms in May and June (Ichthyomyzon unicupis, Silver Lamprey, The Native Silver Lamprey).  In the river the Silver Lampreys build their nest by moving rocks and sand with their mouths (Smith 1985, The Native Silver Lamprey). 

 Once the eggs have hatched the juveniles or ammocoetes remain in the river, but require a soft muddy bottom that they can borrow in.  The soft bottom allows the ammocoetes to borrow and feed on plankton, detritus and algae(Smith, 1985, Ichthyomyzon unicupis ,The Native Silver Lamprey, Silver Lamprey)The ammocoetes will live in the muddy bottom of the river for 4 to 7 years until they go through a metamorphosis to adult form.  The ammocoetes can only live in fresh water streams and rivers (Dufour, S).

 After the ammocoetes go through the metamorphosis into adult form they move from the rivers to larger bodies of water, such as lakes or large tributary rivers (COSEWIC, Ichthyomyzon unicupis, The Native Silver Lamprey, Silver Lamprey, Dufour, S).  There they attach themselves to larger fish that they feed on parasitically.  Adult Silver Lampreys will remain in the lakes and large rivers for 1 to 2 years before they will travel to rivers to spawn.  After spawning Silver Lampreys die. (Ichthyomyzon unicupis, The Native Silver Lamprey, Silver Lamprey)

 Hubb and Trautman the men that discover the species Ichthyomyzon unicupis believed that Silver Lamprey first started their distribution during the late glaciation and glacial recession in the state of Wisconsin.  They believed that the late glacial recession caused them to inhabit upper portion of the Mississippi River and also the Ohio River.  The late glacial recession caused Silver Lampreys to move north and west to region that were free of ice. (Dufour, S) 

Today the distribution of Silver Lamprey is limited to eastern North America. (COSEWIC).  Silver Lamprey is native to the great lakes and the large tributaries of the Mississippi and Ohio River.  Silver Lamprey are also native to many bodies of water with in Canada. 

Property of USGS

Places Silver Lamprey are Native

                   US                                                            Canada                   
                   Illinois                                                        Ontario
                   New York                                                  Manitoba
                   North Dakota                                            Southern Quebec
                   West Virginia

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