Mordacia praecox head IB.7936 Click to enlarge image
Non-parasitic Lamprey, Mordacia praecox. Holotype specimen Image: Mark Allen
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    praecox
    Genus
    Mordacia
    Family
    Mordaciidae
    Order
    Petromyzontiformes
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    It grows to around 50 cm in length.

Introduction

The Non-parasitic Lamprey is an Australian endemic species that occurs in freshwaters.  The mouth of this jawless species contains radially arranged plates.


Mouth of a preserved and dissected lamprey
The mouth of a preserved and dissected lamprey in the Macleay Museum collection, Sydney University (NHF.1731) Hagfishes and lampreys have have horny teeth in their jawless mouths. The teeth on the tongues of lampreys are used to rasp a hole in their prey, usually other vertebrates. Image: Mark McGrouther
© Australian Museum

Identification

The Non-parasitic Lamprey has an eel-like body with 7 pairs of gill openings. It has a hood-like upper lip overhanging a suctorial mouth, small eyes and two dorsal fins positioned towards the rear of the body.


Non-parasitic Lamprey
Gill pores of a Non-parasitic Lamprey collected from the Moruya River, New South Wales,1967 (AMS IB.7937). Image: Sally Reader
© Australian Museum

Distribution

The species is only known from streams of southern NSW and possibly the La Trobe River, Victoria.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.



References

  1. Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & M. Allen. 2002. Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 394.
  2. Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.