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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 November 2007, 17:25 GMT
Rare lampreys found in Manx water
A brook lamprey - picture courtesy of Jenny Wheeldon
Traps will be set so the lamprey can be seen close up
A rare eel-like fish has been found in an Isle of Man stream.

Once extinct in UK rivers, but now having a resurgence, the lampreys were last recorded on the island in 1981 in the Sulby river.

The fish have been discovered in Lhen Trench during a fishing survey and more work is being carried out on how many are living in Manx waters.

All three types of lamprey - brook, sea and river - are considered vulnerable species.

They are unusual because they have no scales or fins and are jawless.

Traps set

After hatching, the lamprey larvae spend several years burrowing in sandy silt and feeding on micro-organisms.

Once adult, brook lampreys simply swim up to spawning grounds without feeding. But sea and river lampreys migrate to saltwater to spend one or two years being parasites on other fish by latching on to them with their sucker-type mouths.

Karen Galtress, river management officer for the Manx Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, is setting up traps to get a closer look at the lampreys.

"The two lampreys found in September were not identified to species but if they were river lamprey, adults may be returning from the sea around now," she said.

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