People passionate about nature

Lampreys: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


Margaret Docker


Kelvin High School, Room 31


Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Start Time: 

7:30 pm


$5 for Nature Manitoba members, $10 for non-members (students: $3 for members, $5 for non-members).

Lampreys represent an ancient lineage of jawless vertebrates that survived through at least four mass extinction events, and studying them is helping scientists better understand the events that occurred “at the dawn of vertebrate evolution.” However, lampreys have been “saddled with 50 years of bad PR” as a result of the huge economic damage caused when the Welland Ship Canal allowed the parasitic sea lamprey to get past Niagara Falls and invade the upper Great Lakes. In many parts of the world, native (i.e., non-invasive) lampreys have long been prized for food and ceremonial purposes, and conservation of native lampreys is becoming increasingly important. In this workshop, Dr. Docker will provide an overview of the cultural, ecological, and scientific importance of lampreys, and introduce participants to the three native lampreys found in Manitoba, including the northern brook lamprey which skips the parasitic feeding stage entirely. She will show workshop participants how to identify each of the species, and how to distinguish these three “good” species from the “bad” sea lamprey (e.g., if it were ever to enter Manitoba).

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