Story: Marine animals without backbones

Swimming lamprey (2nd of 2)

Swimming lamprey

Lampreys may look like eels, but they lack a true backbone – although they do have a gelatinous rod of tissue running down their backs. They can grow to 50–60 centimetres in length. After spending time at sea, lampreys return to fresh water. There, they do not eat again, spending some 15 months hiding in river margins before breeding and dying.

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Department of Conservation
Reference: 10049717
Photograph by Stephen Moore

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How to cite this page:

Dennis Gordon and Maggy Wassilieff, 'Marine animals without backbones - Lancelets, lampreys and hagfish', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 21 February 2024)

Story by Dennis Gordon and Maggy Wassilieff, published 12 Jun 2006