Friday, 13 March 2015

Creature 164: Petromyzontiformes

Not a Goa'uld

Petromyzontiformes is an order within our own Phylum, the Chordata. Saying Petromyzontiformes is a bit of a mouthful so most people just call them lampreys.

Speaking of mouthfuls, check out all of those teeth. Lampreys lack jaws and skulls despite the fact that they have a spinal chord and a vertebral column, although their vertebral column is quite different from that of any other member of the Vertebrata.

So you are probably looking at this thing and wondering if it is related to the gua'uld and what those teeth are for. The answers are probably not and those teeth are for sawing into and latching onto their hosts. That's right they are ectoparasites and love to suck blood. Don't worry,  they are only really interested in fish, and I don't think they ever attack humans. I might have been a little dramatic there,  most Lamprey species are not parasitic. These species are boring filter feeders as juveniles. As adults they don't eat at all, which is even weirder than being a weird looking parasite.

Lampreys are found in fresh water or coastal areas in most of the world tempereate regions, however they are curiously absent from Africa.

Lampreys are  the only living members of the class Hyperoartia, which is the basal group of the Vertebrata.
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Hyperoartia
Order: Petromyzontiformes

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