Lamprey Eels Are Scary And Ugly. But There’s Good News Too.
You know how every couple years that photo goes around online of the giant sturgeon that everybody says is in the Penobscot, or the Kennebec, or wherever? It's always fake. It was a fish that someone saw in like... British Columbia or some place far away. Though we do have sturgeon, I like believing that ones like that don't exist here.
Along those lines, I don't particularly care for eels. They're in the lake at camp, and I've caught several over the years. The only good part is that they put up a pretty decent fight. But woe to the person who has to try and get one of those jerks off the hook. they're super slimy ans ALWAAAAYS swallow the hook, all the way to their tail.
So when I saw this photo pass me by on the BDN's Facebook page, I kinda shuddered a bit. It was a photo/story about lamprey eels. Now, I'm a big, bald, tattoed, burly guy (sort of), and I literally shuddered at the thought of being anywhere near one of those in the water. Look at those stupid teeth!
They 100% look like alien creatures from another planet that should be beamed back into outer space. They look like that thing in the first, or third, Star Wars movie depending on how you want to look at it, that tries to swallow the Millennium Falcon on that asteroid.
But... it seems they actually serve a legit purpose. They are generally a marine creature, but they come up into our freshwater streams to build mating nests, spawn, and die. But, it's crucial to the health of our streams. They bring nutrients and minerals on their bodies from the ocean, and other fish often re-use their little mating nests, as well as other added benefits. And the ones we get aren't as invasive as others.
The icky part of their death even serves a purpose. Their decomposing bodies offer even more nutrients to the surrounding water. And probably some food for nibbly little sunfish and things like that. All just a big aqautic circle of life.. And death.
But those things are still really ugly. I'm glad they give some benefit, because that really is just one homely fish.
Watch this squirmy video and look for yourself. Eew.