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The haematophagus feeding stage of amadromous populations of sea lamprey Petroyzon marinus: low host selectivity and wide range of habitats

Author(s): Silva S, Araujo MJ, Bao M, Mucientes G, Cobo F

Abstract

Limited information is available regarding habitat use and host species of the haematophagous feeding stage of the anadromous sea lamprey Petromyzon marinus Linnaeus, 1758, due to the difficulties in capturing feeding lampreys and wounded hosts. The aim of this study is to provide new records of P. marinus feeding on host species and to review the available information in this regard to better know the ecology and distribution of sea lamprey during this stage. Thus, new records of P. marinus individuals or wounds on 23 species of fishes and cetaceans are provided. Nineteen of these species were described for the first time as hosts of P. marinus. As a result, an updated list of 54 host species is provided. They belong to diverse taxonomic groups and exhibit different morphological, physiological and ecological patterns. The attacks were located from fresh and brackish waters to open sea. The results suggest that the marine distribution of P. marinus is mainly related to coastal areas with part of the population widely dispersed in offshore areas. This remarkable capacity of inhabiting a broad range of aquatic ecosystems and exploiting different host species could have favoured the dispersal ability and evolutionary success of sea lamprey.

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