The sea lamprey Petromyzon marinus (L.) , river lamprey Lampetra fluviatilis (L.) and brook lamprey Lampetra planeri (Bloch) in Ireland: General biology, ecology, distribution and status with recommendations for conservation
Igoe, F.; Quigley, DTG.; Marnell, F.; Meskell, E.; O'Connor, W.; Byrne, C.
Biology and Environment 104B3: 43-56
ISSN/ISBN: 0791-7945 DOI: 10.3318/bioe.2004.104.3.43
Three lamprey species occur in Ireland: sea lamprey, Petromyzon marinus (L.), river lamprey, Lampetra fluviatilis (L.) and brook lamprey, Lampetra plancri (Bloch). All three species are listed under Annex II of the EU Habitats Directive (Directive 92/43/EEC), thereby requiring member states to designate Special Areas of Conservation (SACS) for their protection. The juvenile or ammocoete stages of all three species construct burrows in river sediment and feed on organic material. After metamorphosis, both the sea and river lamprey migrate downstream to the sea, where they feed on fish. The brook lamprey does not migrate to the marine environment, and the adults do not feed. Lampreys are a primitive group of fishes, and they have been little studied in Ireland. However, recent interest in the group, principally driven by their inclusion in the EU Habitats Directive, has led to the initiation of several studies to collect basic information on their ecology in Ireland. This information will provide the basis for the development of meaningful conservation plans for all three species in Ireland. This paper collates the information resulting from these studies, which should assist in developing appropriate conservation plans for these species.