Native or invasive? Kamloops woman finds eel-like lamprey in Thompson River | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

Current Conditions

Smoke
20.1°C

Kamloops News

Native or invasive? Kamloops woman finds eel-like lamprey in Thompson River

Shaylene Smith found the lamprey in the Thompson River just off the Rivers Trail in Kamloops.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Shaylene Smith
March 20, 2021 - 7:00 AM

An eel-like fish caught in the Thompson River has caught attention of Kamloops residents.

Shaylene Smith said her husband caught the fish in a bucket when they found a few of them swimming just off Rivers Trail near the Kamloops airport.

"At first we thought it was a leech, then maybe a snake. We got closer and disturbed the dirt. There was a bunch of them, we thought there was a nest or something," Smith said. "I was surprised because I didn't think we had any lamprey here."

She posted the photo to a community Facebook group where it gathered much discussion over the dangers and the reactions to the lamprey.

"We've been told they're really invasive," she said.

B.C. Fish and Wildlife Biologist Andrew Klassen said this lamprey is native to the area.

He believes it's a western river lamprey, a parasitic fish that will latch on to its hosts and feed, but they pose little to no risk to humans.

Klassen said although they are native to B.C. Interior river systems, Kamloops is a long way to travel for the small fish that survives in both salt and freshwater.

Studies on the lamprey are few and far between, but records from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans say they commonly spend their early lives in freshwaters before these fish will head to the mouth of the Fraser River. While Pacific lamprey can reach over 70 centimetres long, the river-based fish won't reach half of that.

While the lamprey may be unpleasant to look at, as many have said on Smith's Facebook post, they are not out of place in the Thompson River.

"Some people have reacted saying they wouldn't go into the river anymore, but it's like a leech. If you haven't had a leech on you before after a swim, you're not from B.C.," Smith said.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

News from © iNFOnews, 2021
iNFOnews

  • Popular kamloops News
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile