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 But sea lampreys, which live in the northern and western Atlantic Ocean, are among today’s rare, jawless vertebrates. Will Sullivan, Smithsonian Magazine, 30 May 2024 Then alewives, sea lampreys, Eurasian watermilfoil and others all were introduced into the lake and made their mark. Caitlin Looby, Journal Sentinel, 2 May 2024 To their surprise, the team found that the sea lamprey core hindbrain circuit is also initiated by retinoic acid. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 22 Feb. 2024 However, it was not believed to be involved in the hindbrains for more primitive species including sea lampreys. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 22 Feb. 2024 Either way, the enduring mystery of how closely humans and sea lamprey fit on the vertebrate family tree will continue. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 22 Feb. 2024 Just one sea lamprey can kill 40 pounds of fish per year, per the administration. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 11 July 2023 The sea lamprey grows to about 16-18 inches on average in the Great Lakes and prefers lake trout but will feed on a variety of fish, including sturgeon, perch, walleye and bass. Peter Krouse, cleveland, 7 July 2022 The primary culprit was the sea lamprey, a parasitic aquatic invasive species which devastated lake trout and burbot populations in the lake. Paul A. Smith, Journal Sentinel, 23 Feb. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sea lamprey.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1879, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sea lamprey was in 1879

Dictionary Entries Near sea lamprey

Cite this Entry

“Sea lamprey.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

sea lamprey

: a lamprey of the Atlantic coast that is also found in the Great Lakes and that attaches to and feeds on other fishes with its round sucking mouth

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