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Caspian Lamprey

Caspiomyzon wagneri (Kessler 1870)

Diagnostic Description

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Adult: 19.0-55.3 cm TL; max. body wet weight, 206 g; body proportions, as percentage of TL (based on 129 specimens measuring 30.5-53.0 cm TL): 8.7-12.1 prebranchial length, 7.7-11.0 branchial length, 43.6-57.6 trunk length (derived by deduction; represents a maximum possible range), 26-33 tail length, 0.8-2.2 eye length and 2.4-4.5 disc length; intestinal diameter in prespawning individuals has a mean of 0.27 cm and in spawning individuals a mean of 0.14 cm; urogenital papilla length (percentage of branchial length in 5 spawning males 30.1-34.4 cm TL), 14.3-21.2; trunk myomeres, 63-66. Adult dentition: supraoral lamina, one unicuspid (sometimes bicuspid) tooth; infraoral lamina, 4-6, usually 5, unicuspid teeth, but sometimes the lateralmost ones are bicuspid; 4 endolaterals on each side; endolateral formula, typically 1-1-1-1; 3-5 rows of anterials; first row of anterials, 3 unicuspid teeth; 8 rows of exolaterals on each side; 3 rows of posterials; first row of posterials, 11 unicuspid teeth; transverse lingual lamina straight, 5-8 unicuspid teeth, the median one not enlarged; longitudinal lingual laminae with undetermined number of unicuspid teeth. Velar tentacles in adults, 3, long and bearing papillae; body coloration in prespawning adults, dark gray on dorsal and lateral aspects and silvery white ventrally; spawning adults are black on dorsal and lateral aspects and gray with dark oval spots ventrally; color of eggs in prespawning females, light gray or yellow, while in spawning females is bluish-green; lateral line neuromasts unpigmented; caudal fin pigmentation unrecorded; caudal fin shape, spade-like; oral fimbriae, 93-115; oral papillae, 24-31(Ref. 89241).
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Life Cycle

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The nest is dug by either the male or the female. They attach themselves to stones before mating. Females die immediately after releasing their eggs, but males survive until spermatogenesis ceases and can mate with more than one female (Ref. 12275). Ammocoete stage lasts 2-4 years in freshwater after which metamorphosed juveniles migrate to the sea (Ref. 59043). In lower Volga, adults may feed one or two summers before breeding (Ref. 59043). These adults may begin to migrate to rivers in autumn and winter, usually from October to February, unstopped by ice flow in Volga (Ref. 59043).
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Migration

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Anadromous. Fish that ascend rivers to spawn, as salmon and hilsa do. Sub-division of diadromous. Migrations should be cyclical and predictable and cover more than 100 km.
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Morphology

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Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 0
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Threats

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Near Threatened (NT)
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Trophic Strategy

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Non-parasitic lamprey. Ammocoetes live in detritus-rich sands and clay sediments. They feed on diatoms and detritus. Ammocoetes larvae get up to 2-4 years old (Ref. 59043) and reach up to 13 mm TL. Metamorphosing individuals do not feed at all. The feeding habits of adults remain obscure. In the intestines of adults, only the remains of algae and higher plants are found. However, they may also feed on dead fish and are known to attach themselves to trout, presumably for transport. A 22% reduction in total length occurs from the pre-spawning to the spawning period. Adults die after spawning.
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Biology

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Non-parasitic (Ref. 59043). Ammocoetes burrow 1-2 cm deep in substrates containing sand, clay, and detritus, in areas with slow current, and at water depths 0.3-22 m; also on surface of substrate among macrophytes and submerged wood. Metamorphosing individuals occur in areas with faster current, devoid of macrophytes, and in deeper water. Adults in rivers and marine waters; in shallow lakes in flood plain of the Volga River delta. Larval life is 3 years in the Volga River Basin and 2-4 years in the Kura River Basin. Ammocoetes feed on diatoms and detritus; feeding activity highest in summer, lowest in the winter. Metamorphosis begins in mid-July in the Volga River (Russian Federation); end of August to early September in the Kura River (Azerbaijan); and October in Iran (Islamic Republic of). Metamorphosing ammocoetes do not feed. Anadromous. Adult life at least 17 months. Indications that adults feed as scavengers or might feed on demersal fish eggs or on some invertebrates; feeding habits still subject of speculation since their teeth are blunt, yet their intestine remains functional and they grow considerably post-metamorphosis. Adults on their spawning run will attach, particularly in the opercular region, to likewise upstream-migrating winter form of brown sea trout (Salmo trutta caspius). Prespawning adults in the Kama River, Russian Federation, serve as a host for unionid glochidia, which attach to its gills. Spawning run is nocturnal; up the Kura River in November-February and Volga River, mid-September-March. Upstream migrants swim near the surface on dark nights and close to the river bottom on moonlit nights. During the day, they stay among stones on the bottom. Max. distance traveled, 1,500 km for larger individuals. Swimming speed, 2-16 km/day. Beginning migration, fat content of adult as high as 34% by body weight, terminating on spawning grounds with as low as 1-2% by body weight, at first concealing themselves amongst stones or burrow into the substrate, and later, swim and periodically break the water’s surface with their heads. Spawning in mid-March to mid-July over sandy and rocky substrate, at water temperatures 15-23 ?C. Spawning grounds along the entire courses of the Volga and Kura rivers from estuaries to the upper reaches historically, and to man-made reservoirs presently. Redds are constructed by both sexes in sand and gravel substrates, usually in shallow waters. Fecundity, 14,000-60,000 eggs/female. Ammocoetes hatch 8-10 days after fertilization at lengths of 0.33-0.42 cm. Three to four days after hatching, yolk sac is almost completely absorbed. Volga River fishery carried out in both the spring and autumn, with over 75% of the catch occurring in autumn. Between 1910 and 1913 inclusively, from 16,900,000 to 33,400,000 Caspian Lamprey were harvested annually. Kura River fishery catches compiled in five-year increments from 1881 to 1935 with lowest record of 11,000 lamprey for the period 1891-1895 and highest of 612,000 lamprey for the period 1911-1915; 213,000 annual lamprey catch in 1936 and 304,000 in 1937; lipid content is 30.3% of the body weight. Prior to 1868, the catch was dried and used as a substitute for candles, and after 1868, it was harvested as food for humans. The caloric value for Caspian Lamprey is 3.4 kcal/g wet weight. Water regulation projects on the Volga and Kura rivers with deleterious effects on the abundance of Caspian Lamprey, preventing access to areas above the Volgograd and Mingechaur reservoirs, respectively, that it is no longer considered a commercially important species. There are reports of intoxication through eating this species (Ref. 89241).
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Importance

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fisheries: commercial; aquaculture: experimental
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Caspian lamprey

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The Caspian lamprey, Caspiomyzon wagneri, is a species of lamprey native to the Caspian Sea, and a member of the Petromyzontidae family. Eudontomyzon hellenicus and E. graecus (if separate from E. hellenicus) also possibly belong in this genus.[2] This species is a non-parasitic lamprey that feeds on animal carcasses.

Description

The Caspian lamprey is a slim-bodied, eel-like fish that grows to a length of about 40 cm (16 in). The longest recorded specimen was 55 cm (22 in) long and weighed 206 g (7.3 oz). Like other lampreys, it has no jaws, but it has a round oral disc surrounding the mouth. Inside this it has several radiating rows of tiny, backward-facing teeth. There is a single nostril near the eyes. There are no gill covers and the seven gill openings are visible just behind the head. The fish has no scales or paired fins, but has two elongated dorsal fins, the hindmost of which nearly joins onto the small tail fin. The Caspian lamprey is a silvery-grey colour.[3]

Distribution

The Caspian lamprey is an anadromous fish which spends its adult life in the Caspian Sea and migrates up the Volga, Sura, and other rivers to spawn. It was at one time a common fish caught in nets and fish traps in the lower Volga for extracting fish oil and making candles and later for human consumption. In the early 1900s, 15 to 30 million fish were harvested annually from the lower Volga. It is now an uncommon fish because its migratory routes have been disrupted by dams and construction projects and it can no longer reach its spawning grounds.[4]

Status

The Caspian lamprey is listed as "Near Threatened" in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Damming of rivers in the mid-20th century has caused it to be cut off from its traditional spawning sites, but new sites have been found below the dams. The chief threat more recently has been the drying up of these streams caused by drought.[5]

References

  1. ^ Van Der Laan, Richard; Eschmeyer, William N.; Fricke, Ronald (11 November 2014). "Family-group names of Recent fishes". Zootaxa. 3882 (1): 1–230. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3882.1.1. PMID 25543675.
  2. ^ Froese, R.; Pauly, D. (2017). "Petromyzontidae". FishBase version (02/2017). Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  3. ^ Maitland, Peter S. (2000). Freshwater Fish of Britain and Europe. Octopus Publishing Group. pp. 62–64. ISBN 0-600-59690-7.
  4. ^ "Caspiomyzon wagneri (Kessler, 1870)". FishBase. 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-16.
  5. ^ Freyhof, J.; Kottelat, M. (2008). "Caspiomyzon wagneri". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2008. Retrieved 2012-09-19.old-form url
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Caspian lamprey: Brief Summary

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The Caspian lamprey, Caspiomyzon wagneri, is a species of lamprey native to the Caspian Sea, and a member of the Petromyzontidae family. Eudontomyzon hellenicus and E. graecus (if separate from E. hellenicus) also possibly belong in this genus. This species is a non-parasitic lamprey that feeds on animal carcasses.

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