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are lampreys dangerous

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#1 Guest_FirstChAoS_*

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 12:24 PM

This may sound odd, the topic of "dangerous north american freshwater fish" sounds almost like "most dangerous rabbits" but still Sea Lampreys worry me.

When I was a kid their was a girl who brought a small lamprey preserved in a jar into class and said it attached to the leg of her sister when they were swimming in their backyard pond.

Their used to be a mini segment on ESPN between fishing shows on pond making, and the second part of it when they slipped on wet suits and dived into their new pond a lamprey swam up, latched onto a guys shoulder and later swam off, and oddly enough he didn't panic.

I also seen a show on natures bloodsuckers that said lampreys have been known to attach to people attempting to swim accross the great lakes, especially when the cool water drops the swimmers body temperature, and of course showed the host with one attached.

I am nervous to set foot into the fast current of the main stem of the connecticut river due to the presence of the one freshwater fish of north america who sees people as food, but i really want to sample their. So I have to ask this question.

Are sea lampreys dangerous?

#2 Guest_Newt_*

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 01:48 PM

Attaching is not the same as feeding. Lampreys often grip objects with their mouth just to anchor themselves against the current. I don't know of any documented cases of lamprey attacks on humans, just unsubstantiated anecdotes. I don't imagine we taste like food to them.

#3 Guest_fritz_*

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 02:21 PM

I agree with Newt. Also in the Connecticutt River the adults should be there only during their spawning run in the spring. And I don't have all my references with me in my current office but I suspect that they do not feed during the latter stages of this migration. Totally focused on the sex. They die afterwards.

#4 Guest_Brooklamprey_*

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 07:13 PM

Lamprey are very much harmless critters to Humans. There has to my knowledge never been a single case of one documented (And can be proven) of one attempting to feed on a human. They are curious and will indeed attach in some cases but will quickly detach. I have had the Chestnut Lamprey that I kept for sometime on occasion do this.

#5 Guest_UncleWillie_*

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 07:19 PM

I must say, that the right-sized lampreys can make a nice pair of earrings. But in all seriousness, I too would consider them harmless. I've had a fascination with them since I saw my first one while snorkeling. Very interesting creatures.

#6 Guest_mikez_*

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 06:03 AM

I can personally assure you lampreys can be dangerous...if you have a weak heart.
Picture this: It's 2:00 AM on the dark of the moon. You're standing all alone [don't try this at home kiddies] waist deep on a gravel bar 30 yards from shore in a large river. It's eerily quiet except occasional small splashes of migrating herring. Spooky patches of mist drift down river with the current. You feel something bump your wader covered leg. Feels like trash drifting with the tide, but it's on the wrong side of the leg, and it happens again, then again more forcefully. Clicking on your head lamp, you see a four foot long lamprey, thick as a baseball bat, that is looking to rest and has mistaken your leg for a boulder. :shock: :shock: :shock:

It's happened enough to me that now I too am totally calm. Just kick your leg and they realize their mistake. I do not believe they are trying to feed, just hang on for awhile.
If you had a weak heart or a tendency to bolt in panic [bad habit on gravel bars at night], you might meet with some harm. :wink:

#7 Guest_Moontanman_*

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Posted 04 June 2010 - 08:11 PM

I know this is a strange idea but I seem to recall a roman emperor that was famous for feeding people he disliked to a pool of starving lampreys he kept just for this purpose. Anyone else remember this little tid bit from history class?

#8 Guest_Newt_*

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Posted 05 June 2010 - 08:52 AM

That was Vedius Pollio, not an emperor but a friend of Augustus who was briefly governor of what is now Turkey. The story goes that Pollio intended to execute a slave (who had dropped a drinking glass) by dropping him into a pool filled with lampreys, but his guest Augustus intervened, saving the slave, breaking the rest of Pollio's glasses, and having the eel-pit filled in. As with most stories of Roman excess, this one is anecdotal. The Roman tabloid press was a thriving industry contributed to by nearly all major writers (though the vindictive nature of powerful Romans meant that most of the bashing was done post-mortem). The story was used and elaborated on as a moral homily by various authors in the decades and centuries after Pollio's (and Augustus') death; no contemporary accounts exist. [/latingeek]

Lampreys were a popular delicacy in ancient Rome, so it is not unlikely that a wealthy and extravagant Roman (such as Pollio was reputed to be) would keep a pool of them on his property. The rest is dubious to say the least.

#9 Guest_Moontanman_*

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 05:40 PM

Has anyone here ever eaten a lamprey? I keep hearing how they are a delicacy but does anyone really eat them and how would you cook em?

#10 Guest_Brooklamprey_*

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 10:17 PM

Has anyone here ever eaten a lamprey? I keep hearing how they are a delicacy but does anyone really eat them and how would you cook em?

Lamprey is quite good table fare actually. It is a mild flavored fish but it is also quite surprisingly fatty. Several different ways to cook it and prepare it. It is usually stewed or braised in some way but is not all that bad hot or cold smoked. After hot smoking it can be stored under oil for some time and is not much different than a good quality smoked sardine.

Best I ever tasted was using it in a traditional Cajun Sauce Piquant on the spicy side. Dang good and yummy.

#11 Guest_malfunkshun_*

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 02:48 PM

In northern Sweden, on the east coast, people smoke river lampreys (Lampetra fluviatilis) and then cut them up in smaller pieces to fry them in butter. It is really tasty and it resembles bacon. Used to eat it as a kid.
Breakfast of a champion. :)

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