Southern Brook Lamprey
  • Side view of a pregnant female.
  • Adult southern brook lamprey.
  • Adult southern brook lamprey.
  • Top view adult.
  • Bottom view adult.
  • Head-on view adult.
  • Close-up flank.
  • Close-up head.
  • Close-up mouth and snout.
  • Close-up tail.
  • Close-up dorsal fin.
  • Myomere count starts behind the last branchial pore and ends at the anus. Notice the connected dorsal fin.
  • Myomere count starts behind the last branchial pore and ends at the anus. There are 49-57 trunk myomeres.
  • Close-up teeth: Notice the bicuspid circumoral and the close supraoral teeth.
  • Close-up teeth: Notice the bicuspid circumoral and the close supraoral teeth.
  • Close-up dorsal fin: Notice the two broadly connected dorsal fin lobes.
  • Side view of an ammocoete (juvenile): Juveniles have no eyes or sucking disk.
  • Close-up head of an ammocoete (larval stage): Juveniles have a hood-like covering of the mouth.
  • Close-up mouth of an ammocoete (larval stage): Juveniles have soft sieve-like tissue in the mouth.
  • Close-up tail of an ammocoete (larval stage).
  • Side view of an adult and an ammocoete form.
DescriptionSimilar Species
Family
Lampreys (Petromyzontidae)
Body
Mouth and Snout: Sucking disk in adults, flexible hood in juveniles, no jaw. Teeth small to moderate size in adults, none in juveniles. No barbels. This nonparasitic species has a sucking disk that is about the same in diameter as its body. Gill openings consist of seven circular holes. Body Pattern: Solid color. Dark brown, brownish to light gray or silver (adults only) on dorsal surface and flanks, grading to light gray/brown or off-white ventrally. Lateral pores pigmented. Body Shape: Elongate, cylindrical, flexible body. Typically 200-235 mm, with a maximum of 271 mm. Ammocoetes may reach slightly longer lengths than adults, with shortening (up to 10%) occurring in transformation to adulthood.
Fins
Rounded tail. Dorsal fin with no spines. No anal, pectoral, pelvic, or adipose fins. The dorsal fin is continuous (not bilobed).
Distinguishing Characteristics
Eel-like body and sucking disk identify the lamprey family. First and second dorsal fin broadly connected. Lateral pores pigmented. Adults only: maximum disk diameter less than the maximum body diameter; supraorbital lamina teeth cusps close together, inner circumoral teeth bicuspid. 52-56 trunk myomeres. See also similar species information.
Breeding Adults
Lampreys spend most of their lives as ammocoetes. They transform to the adult form in the fall, cease feeding, breed in the spring, and die. The adult form is the breeding form.
Juveniles
Ammocoete form. Distinction from adults based on head and mouth characteristics. Ammocoetes lack eyes, have a hood-like covering of the mouth without a papillary fringe, and have soft sieve-like tissue in the mouth. Ammocoetes are brown to gray-brown without eyes.
Hybrids
None known from Wisconsin.
Compare Similar Species
1st and 2nd Dorsal Fins
Lamprey, American BrookSeparated
Lamprey, ChestnutConnected
Lamprey, Northern BrookConnected
Lamprey, SeaSeparated
Lamprey, SilverConnected
Lamprey, Southern BrookConnected
Trunk Myomeres
Lamprey, American Brook64-75
Lamprey, Chestnut51-56
Lamprey, Northern Brook46-56
Lamprey, Sea63-73
Lamprey, Silver46-53
Lamprey, Southern Brook49-53
Lateral Pores
Lamprey, American BrookUnpigmented
Lamprey, ChestnutPigmented
Lamprey, Northern BrookUnpigmented
Lamprey, SeaUnpigmented
Lamprey, SilverUnpigmented (pigmented in large adults)
Lamprey, Southern BrookPigmented
Maximum Disk Diameter Relative to Maximum Body Diameter in Adults
Lamprey, American BrookLess
Lamprey, ChestnutGreater
Lamprey, Northern BrookLess
Lamprey, SeaGreater
Lamprey, SilverGreater
Lamprey, Southern BrookLess
Suproral Lamina Teeth
Lamprey, American BrookWidely separated
Lamprey, ChestnutClose together
Lamprey, Northern BrookClose together
Lamprey, SeaClose together
Lamprey, SilverClose together
Lamprey, Southern BrookClose together
Inner Circumoral Teeth
Lamprey, American BrookBicuspid
Lamprey, ChestnutBicuspid
Lamprey, Northern BrookUnicuspid
Lamprey, SeaBicuspid
Lamprey, SilverUnicuspid (rarely 1 bicuspid)
Lamprey, Southern BrookBicuspid
Maximum Total Length (mm) in WI
Lamprey, American Brook202
Lamprey, Chestnut271
Lamprey, Northern Brook171
Lamprey, Sea760
Lamprey, Silver385
Lamprey, Southern Brook~170
Similarity Index
Lamprey, American BrookModerately similar
Lamprey, ChestnutVery similar as ammocoetes, moderately similar as adults
Lamprey, Northern BrookVery similar
Lamprey, SeaModerately similar
Lamprey, SilverVery similar as ammocoetes, moderately similar as adults
Lamprey, Southern BrookN/A
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