The sea lamprey is too ugly for Vermont

Pax Arcana

Conservationism is the noble effort to preserve the world’s flora and fauna for future generations to enjoy. At its root, conservationism is the recognition that we are all inextricably linked in a magic symphony of symbiosis.

Except for these things, which should be burned and beaten with heavy sticks:


This handsome fella is the sea lamprey, a fixture in Vermont’s Lake Champlain for thousands of years. Recently fisherman have blamed the lampreys — which are parasites — for weakening or killing off many of the lake’s fish populations:

There isn’t a fisherman on the lake without a story: once-prized catches that are now bizarrely scrawny; fish marred by distinctive bull’s-eye wounds; salmon and trout that are pulled up from the lake with live sea lampreys hanging off them like sinister-looking streamers.

Some scientists say humans are responsible for the growth of the sea lamprey population, thanks to our insatiable appetite for putting fish in the water and then yanking them back out:

Since fisheries began restocking the lake with nonnative strains of trout and salmon in the 1970s, the sea lamprey population, judging from the number of wounds on fish, has skyrocketed.

“We’re feeding the lampreys by restocking their favorite food,” said Ellen Marsden, a biology professor at the University of Vermont who has researched sea lampreys. “And we’re competing for the same fish.”

Anyway, state conservation officials and local business owners disagree about what to do with the sea lampreys. Efforts to curb the population by poisoning may not be working, and some argue that the lake should be left alone to allow its ecosystem to find some sort of equilibrium.

I say fishing would be a lot better if you could catch brownies instead of fish. Brownies are the unsung heroes of the dessert tray. Cake and ice cream get all the glory, but it’s the brownies that get the job done.


A monster’s tale []



Filed under science

6 responses to “The sea lamprey is too ugly for Vermont

  1. Why are you always taking shots at cake? It’s fucking delicious.

    Brownies are too though.

    Wait, what were we talking about?

  2. drfrenchfry

    Those brownies look amaaaazing. I’m hungry.

  3. I think I see some subliminal messaging in the one on the left.

  4. Ken

    Does anyone remember the flukeman episode of the X-Files? The flukeman looked an awful lot like a lamprey.

  5. Kenny from wayyyy downtown!!

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