sea lamprey


Definition of sea lamprey

: a large anadromous lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) that has a mottled upper surface, is an ectoparasite of fish, and is sometimes used as food

Examples of sea lamprey in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Scientists also are turning to other creative ways to rid the lakes of sea lampreys. Detroit Free Press Staff, Detroit Free Press, "Scientists on the hunt for blood-sucking sea lampreys in metro Detroit," 22 May 2018 But a quadruple whammy of overfishing, sea lamprey predation, alewife invasion and habitat degradation caused stocks of the lake's top native predator to plummet. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: There's no point in rushing when there's a big laker on the line," 28 Apr. 2018 But sea lampreys have a highly repetitive genome, composed of 99 chromosome pairs in the germline, so sequencing data confirming this speculation was difficult to generate. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "Odd vertebrate gets rid of hundreds of genes early in development," 28 Jan. 2018 Great Lakes' native lake trout populations were dwindling, overfished by commercial fishermen and preyed upon by invasive sea lampreys, an eel-like fish with a sharp-toothed suction mouth that looks like something straight out of the Alien movie. Keith Matheny, USA TODAY, "King salmon reign becomes more precarious on changing Great Lakes," 23 Oct. 2017 Meanwhile, an invasive type of herring, the alewife, had, like sea lampreys, made its way from the Atlantic Ocean, up the St. Lawrence Seaway and Welland Canal, and was thriving on the Great Lakes — too well. Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press, "King salmon reign shrinks, but more precariously on changing Great Lakes," 23 Oct. 2017 Biologists call it a success story produced by a better understanding of the salmon, reduction in the numbers of parasitic sea lamprey, and help the fish got in navigating around dams responsible for the loss of the original salmon in the 1800s. Wilson Ring, The Seattle Times, "After generations, salmon back in Lake Champlain tributaries," 3 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sea lamprey.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of sea lamprey

1879, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sea lamprey

Dictionary Entries near sea lamprey


sea lace

sea ladder

sea lamprey


sea language


Statistics for sea lamprey

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sea lamprey

The first known use of sea lamprey was in 1879

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on sea lamprey Encyclopedia article about sea lamprey

Comments on sea lamprey

What made you want to look up sea lamprey? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!