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What about the ugly animals?

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(Read caption) A lamprey. Species of these creatures bore into the flesh of fish and feed on their blood.

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I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that you won't see a "Save the lampreys" bumper sticker any time soon.

Not only are they so unattractive as to make scorpions look like hamsters by comparison, but the behavior of these eel-like creatures is, by human standards, profoundly uncivil. Using their suction-cup mouths and sharp teeth, lampreys attach themselves to unsuspecting fish, pierce their flesh with their pointy tongues, and hang there for about 18 months, living off the fish's blood. When they finally detach, they leave a distinctive, circular wound on the fish.

Note to environmental groups: don't use lampreys in your fundraising literature.

This past weekend, the Boston Globe ran a fascinating piece by David Filipov on a sea lamprey population in Lake Champlain. Fishermen have observed that a growing number of the lake's salmon and trout are undernourished, pocked with sores, or, in some cases, still have the parasites dangling from them.

To control the lampreys, state wildlife officials in New York and Vermont have been dumping TFM, a chemical that kills lamprey larvae but, they say, leaves other wildlife unharmed.


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