Home | Breaking News | Blood sucking fish that has rows of teeth on its TONGUE is returning to British rivers
Brook, river and sea lampreys are returning to British waters to spawn Alamy

Blood sucking fish that has rows of teeth on its TONGUE is returning to British rivers

WT24 Desk

SCORES of fish that have a permanently open mouth packed with teeth are swimming up British rivers to spawn, The Sun reports.  The sea lamprey has been around since well before the dinosaurs and as a jawless fish with a long body it resembles a menacing snake.

The fish abandons the sea to travel up estuaries and rivers that are easily accessible in order to breed. The creature, which has not been spotted in some areas for many years, has recently been seen in rivers including the Great Ouse, Trent, Derwent and Wear.

Although the sea lamprey is usually a secretive creature, it is possible to spot one in the open waters until the end of June. Sometimes the snake-like fish can be up to a metre long. When lampreys breed they lay 170,000 eggs in shallow water and at this time they are completely oblivious to danger.

Fishermen have been known to trip over them during this season which could be because the fish know they are set to die after completing their reproduction duties.  According to Paul Brown there are three species: brook, river and sea lampreys.

The river and sea lampreys are the most violent of the three, and have “parasitic tendencies” which leads them to “suck the life out of fish”.

The pair also feature rows of teeth along their tongues and attach themselves to their prey; sucking the blood as they eat their catch.  There is 360-million-year-old fossils of the archaic creature that still look similar to the modern fish that can be seen swimming around today.

The British royal family used to regard the fish as a delicacy before it became a protected species.  Henry I allegedly died as a result of eating too many lamprey although experts believe he died as a result of food poisoning.

The country saw a decline in Lamprey as a result of pollution and human interference with the flow of the rivers which prevented them from being able to reach their breeding grounds.

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