Boca_de_lamprea.1_-_Aquarium_FinisterraeLampreys are eel-like, jaw-less fish that could easily star in the next horror film. These ‘vampire fish’ have a row of sharp teeth which they use to kill other fish and literally suck out their blood. There are three different species, brook, river and sea lampreys, with sea lampreys growing up to a terrifying three feet in length. Lampreys are currently at record high numbers in Britain, and swimmers are being warned to stay out of rivers and lakes. The numbers of lampreys were dwindling in recent years due to the use of man made barriers which prevented the lampreys from swimming to their breeding grounds. Recent conservation efforts created passes which allowed the lampreys to swim through the barriers and their numbers have dramatically increased. These prehistoric creatures date back to before the time of dinosaurs, and are said to be the oldest living vertebrates. Apparently, lampreys were feared in ancient times as well. Vedius Pollio, a Roman Equestrian of the 1st century B.C., who was known for his his cruelty, was said to keep a pool of lampreys waiting to throw anyone who displeased him into. And lamprey’s are still scaring us today. River Monsters, an Animal Planet television show, has a horrifying tale recounted by a long distance swimmer, of how a Sea Lamprey attacked him in open water. That story is enough to keep me out of rivers and lakes for some time. While humans aren’t the likely meal of choice for lampreys, these creepy creatures would not be something I would want to run into while going for a swim. MORE

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