Common name: Silver Lamprey
available through www.itis.gov
Identification: Trautman (1981); Smith (1985); Page and Burr (1991); Etnier and Starnes (1993); Pflieger (1997).
Size: 39 cm.
Native Range: St. Lawrence-Great Lakes basin from Quebec to southwestern Ontario and south through upper Mississippi and Ohio River basins to central Tennessee. Nelson River, Manitoba; Missouri River, Nebraska; and Mississippi River, Mississippi (Page and Burr 1991). Not reported from Arkansas (Robison and Buchanan 1988).
Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Ichthyomyzon unicuspis are found here.
Table last updated 2/27/2023
† Populations may not be currently present.
Ecology: Silver Lamprey inhabit large streams and lakes, where the parasitic adults can find large fish hosts upon which to attach and feed. Spawining in Silver Lamprey occurs in May-June, when water temperatures reach 50°F, in shallow streams and tributaries on gravel riffles (Smith 1985). After hatching, ammocoetes burrow into mud or loose sediments and remain there for 4-7 years, feeding on zooplankton and detritus (Smith 1985). After emergence and transformation Silver Lampreys travel downstream to larger rivers or lakes to enter parastic adult stage, which lasts for 1-2 years (Smith 1985; Ross 2001).
Means of Introduction: Canal connection. Probably gained access from Lake Champlain to the Hudson River via the Champlain-Hudson Canal (Smith 1985; Mills et al. 1997).
Status: Established in New York.
Impact of Introduction: Unknown, however, this species is parasitic and feeds on trout, whitefish, smelt, pike, white sucker, black buffalo, brown bullhead, carp, rock bass, walleye, paddlefish, sturgeons, and gars (Smith 1985).
References: (click for full references)
Etnier, D.A., and W.C. Starnes. 1993. The fishes of Tennessee. The University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, TN.
Mills, E.L., M.D. Scheuerell, J.T. Carlton, and D.L. Strayer. 1997. Biological invasions in the Hudson River basin. New York State Museum Circular 57:1-51.
Page, L. M., and B. M. Burr. 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. The Peterson Field Guide Series, volume 42. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA.
Pflieger, W. 1997. The fishes of Missouri. Missouri Department of Environmental Conservation, Jefferson City, MO.
Robison, H.W., and T.M. Buchanan. 1988. The fishes of Arkansas. University of Arkansas Press, Fayetteville, AR.
Ross. S.T. 2001. The inland fishes of Mississippi. University Press of Mississippi, Jackson, MS.
Smith, C.L. 1985. The inland fishes of New York State. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, NY.
Trautman, M.B. 1981. The fishes of Ohio. Ohio State University Press, Columbus, OH.
Whitworth, W. R. 1996. Freshwater Fishes of Connecticut. State Geological and Natural History Survey of Connecticut, Bulletin 114.
Pam Fuller, and Matt Neilson
Revision Date: 6/28/2011
Peer Review Date: 6/28/2011
Pam Fuller, and Matt Neilson, 2023, Ichthyomyzon unicuspis Hubbs and Trautman, 1937: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=834, Revision Date: 6/28/2011, Peer Review Date: 6/28/2011, Access Date: 6/2/2023
This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.