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Weird News: Lamprey Falls from Sky | Oregon Coast Fish Older Than Dinos

Published 02/27/21 at 5:20 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Weird News: Lamprey Falls from Sky | Oregon Coast Fish Older Than Dinos

(Seaside, Oregon) – Lampreys of the Washington and Oregon coastline are in the spotlight this week, and one situation is a truly strange one. Just as Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) releases a brochure about this creature that is older than dinosaurs, a lamprey fell from the sky on the north coast.

According to Seaside Aquarium’s Tiffany Boothe, lampreys are raining from above. Or at least one did so.

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On Thursday morning, the Ally Blevins of Seaside and her family discovered a strange sight in their backyard: a lamprey was lying there, far from the ocean.

“It appeared that this slimy, slithering creature had fallen out of the sky and landed in their yard,” Boothe said.

It turned out the lamprey was still alive. Blevins called the aquarium and manager Keith Chandler rushed over to try and figure out what was going on. Plopping the small eel into a container of salt water, he then quickly drove it to the aquarium.

Upon closer inspection, it became obvious a bird had picked it up.

“The lamprey had small talon marks along its side, and though it had been out of water for some time was still alive. So just how did it get there? It is suspected that it was seized out of the water by either an eagle or more likely an osprey.”

At one point, clearly the bird fumbled its catch and down came the lamprey to initiate all sorts of jokes about this being an X-File and other quips.

“Unfortunately, the little lamprey succumbed to the injuries it incurred while being held captive by whatever bird-of-prey snatched it up,” Boothe said. “An unusual backyard find to say the least.”

Just as this happens, ODFW gladly announced a new informational brochure on the creature, which is native to Oregon coast and Washington coast seas as well as inland waterways.

“Older than dinosaurs and still remaining primitive with boneless bodies, lampreys are fascinating fishes,” ODFW said. “A new ODFW brochure is introducing Oregonians to four of the state’s 10 native lamprey species.”

The booklet is filled with professional illustrations by noted artist Joseph Tomelleri, providing eye-catching images and graphics that make it informative and easy to read.

Oregon Lamprey Coordinator Benjamin Clemens said lampreys are extremely diverse in their biology and in how they contribute to Oregon’s ecosystems.

“I hope the brochure introduces readers to these unique fishes, each with a different life cycle and feeding habit.” Clemens said. “Larval lamprey cleanse the water through their filter feeding and aerate the substrate they are burrowed into. All life stages provide high caloric food sources for many different species of fish, birds, and marine mammals.”

Clemens also noted there is a big difference between Oregon lampreys and the sea lamprey back east, which is a nuisance species that invaded the Great Lakes region.

Lampreys are also common on the Washington coast. They had started to drastically diminish in numbers along the Columbia Basin because of hydroelectric dams until the mid 2010s. About then they started a bit of a comeback. MORE PHOTOS BELOW


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Images below courtesy ODFW / Oregon Zoo

Other Oregon Coast Species

Nudibranch - courtesy Seaside Aquarium

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