I haven´t posted new stuff on the blog since quite some time, but not because I´m no more writing, but due to the amount of work which is going into some future blog articles. For that reason I was looking for something interesting I could post until the next bigger article is finished. I found a really interesting photo of the mouth of a sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) from the Zoological Museum at Kiel at my archive. It looks so wonderfully monstrous yet disturbingly aesthetic for its sheer obvious efficiency that I just had to share this:
Sea lampreys are the largest lampreys and can reach lengths of over 1 meter, but usually stay within the range of 70-90 cm. The adult sea lampreys make living as parasites of larger fish, which they attack with their sucker-like mouths and keratinous pseudoteeth and tongue. They rasp and cut pieces out of the fish´s skin until they reach the underlying tissue, so they can suck the effluenting blood, lymph and shreds of tissue.
They became especially infamous after they invaded the Great Lakes and caused havoc among the populations of local fish like lake trouts (Salvelinus namaycush). Here is a taxidermy cast of a namaycush with an attached sea lamprey from Redpath Museum, Montreal: