Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lions, Tigers and EELs, oh my!

Today, while we were eating lunch, one of the Massachusetts Conservation and Water guys who had come to check on the Herring run shouted up to us, "Hey! You gotta come see this!" And there in his little fishing net was a 2 and a half foot long lamprey eel!



Last year these same, strange water workers spent about a month and a half framing in a new sleek fish ladder (called a 'herring run' 'round these parts) to help the endangered population of fresh water herring rebuild its once massive but now fished-almost-to-extinction numbers climb back up. They've been checking in periodically to count the fish and tend the ladder and today they were fixing a hole in the bottom of the water basin.


According to one of the guys the lamprey eel, although terrifying to look at (and worse to find by surprise swimming around you!) are completely harmless since their digestive systems shut down completely when they move into fresh water to spawn. They are a salt water "marine animal" that feeds on the blood of fish. (Ew! Gross!)

Wikipedia has this to say:
"The adult feeds by attaching its mouth to a fish, secreting an anticoagulant to the host, and feeding on the blood and tissues of the host. In most species this phase lasts about 18 months."

anatomy of an eel


And I just saw one in the side yard.
What did YOU see at work today?


Since these two goofy water guys came to build the run last year they've become sort of work friends. They come in and use our bathroom and get water from the bubbler and once or twice I brought them coffee in the morning. I'm glad the repairs they are making to the fish ladder may take a couple of days beacuse that means they'll be around more. How many people do you know who can show you cool, prehistoric looking salt water worms?


The eel will keep on living in the little section of the fish ladder that it's swimming around in now (see the video) and when the water level rises later this spring it'll move upstream to spawn just like the Herring. It's too early yet for the majority of the fish to be out but a few early swimmers have already been spotted down stream, according to the guys.

There he goes!

It's kind of like having my own really tiny Loch Ness monster.
Only... you know... REALLY tiny.

Isn't that rad?
Okay, now I am WAAAY behind on work.
Time to get focused.

Peace out!

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