It’s like something out of a sci-fi movie — foot-long, eel-like fish falling from the sky.
These fish, complete with a mouthful of scary-looking teeth, are called “Arctic lampreys.”
People around Fairbanks, Alaska have reported seeing these creatures in strange locations. One local store found a live Arctic lamprey in their parking lot. A resident found one on his lawn.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Fairbanks says birds are likely to blame. They say it’s likely gulls that are picking these fish out of the nearby Chena River and accidentally dropping the squirming fish while they are flying.
This past week the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), in Fairbanks, received calls about arctic lamprey found in strange locations. The local Value Village store found a live lamprey in their parking lot and placed it in a bucket of water. Another resident called and said he found one on his lawn! 4 lamprey were found on land so far.
How is this happening?
The answer is probably gulls. Gulls are picking them out of the Chena River with their bills and then dropping the squirming critters while in flight.
Arctic lampreys spawn in the Chena River, and live in the mud underwater as juveniles for several years.
However, many lifelong Alaskans have never seen one of these fascinating fish up close because their body shape and feeding habits make them difficult to catch.
Come take a look at a lamprey in our fish tank, but best be quick about it, since lampreys die soon after spawning.
There is a lot that biologists don’t know about our local lamprey. If you find one you can report it by calling 459-7206.