The lamprey, or sometimes known as the vampire fish, is famous for sticking themselves to the side to, and sucking the blood of trouts. They are also really interesting genomically as they have all sorts of weirdness going on – high GC content, repeats, and the Northern lampreys have the highest number of chromosomes (164–174) among vertebrates. Most unusual of all they re-arrange their genomes in development!
In their larvae stage they are mostly harmless unless you’re a plankton as they stay under the water bed. They then emerge into killer fish stage and swim out to lakes or seas depending on the type, attaching itself to prey for a week or so at a time. After a year, they head back to spawning grounds to make more of the little critters!
This song and video was created for the Eurofishion competition set up to mark World Fish Migration day, and inspiration came from the ‘Rasp!, Rasp!’ sound effect attributed to it in the Ensembl Genome Browser.
Music & Lyrics by Rishi Nag 2020, who also masqerades as Singing Science.
Video Credits: Animation by Miss Roberts Stills: courtesy of Tiit Hunt, Drow male, andSweeting, Roger [Photographer] (2016) Freshwater Biological Association, UK for Sea lamprey parasitising brown trout under CC BY-SA 3.0