Biology, Management, and Conservation of Lampreys in North America

Predation on Lampreys

Philip A. Cochran

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9781934874134.ch7

Abstract.—Reported predators of lamprey include a variety of fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals, and predation on lamprey is known in both marine and freshwater habitats. Although lampreys are not typically prominent in the reported diets of predators, it does not follow that predation is not an important source of lamprey mortality. Concentrations of migrating and spawning lampreys may be especially vulnerable. Assemblages of predators on lampreys have changed through human activities such as stocking and harvest of fishes. In southeastern Minnesota, for example, most of the 1,145 km in 139 streams that currently are managed for trout now support brown trout Salmo trutta, an exotic species that has been reported to prey on several species of lamprey. Prior to its establishment, relatively few fish in these streams would have been capable of feeding on large ammocoetes or adult lampreys.