Jul 23, 2009

Hate to Disappoint...

Photo via BBC News
Sea lampreys have been featured here a few times as they seem to make the headlines a fair amount. This update comes from the Great Lakes of North America.

The sea lamprey was accidentally introduced into the lakes back in the 1800s, and though they typically spend their adult life in salt water, the fresh water of the Great Lakes hasn't deterred them from thriving. In fact, they've become a pest, both to native fish populations and to the fishing industry.

So how do you eradicate them, or at least control them? Many measures are in place. But the Fish and Game folks have a new tool in their tool belt. Enter pheromones.

The sea lamprey begins its life as a fry in fresh water streams, from which they find their way to the open ocean, where they assume their vampiric persona. To breed, they find any ol' fresh water stream, swim up it, breed, and die. Not a bad life, really.

One of the big factors determining the success of lamprey spawning is male pheromones. Females follow pheromone scents to track down worthy males and breed. But what if one were able to produce a synthetic pheromone and lure the females up unsuitable streams or even into traps? Well, that's exactly what they're about to do.

The new program will take about 3 years to be fully in place, and will use 20 different streams, up which females will be lured to a fruitless spawning season, thereby curtailing the number of successful spawns.

As a rule, I hate to disappoint the ladies, but this is best for everyone.

Thanks for the article, Ida.

3 comments:

bonni said...

Ack! An article about lampreys, and you didn't mention the word "surfeit" even once!

The board of directors of the World Society for the Promotion of Arcane Word Usage is very disappointed.

*siiiiigghhhhh*

*sigh louder a second time*

(For those who have no clue what I'm on about: http://www.google.com.au/search?q=surfeit+of+lampreys&sourceid=navclient-ff&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1B3GGGL_enAU281AU282)

;) :)

Raging Wombat said...

But, bonni, every definition I see regarding surfeit has it pertaining to over-eating or consumption, being over-full. Do you want me to say that lampreys stuff themselves to a state of surfeit on salmon?

bonni said...

Well, no. You do have a point. But the opportunity to use the word "surfeit" only comes up rarely, you may as well take it! ;-P