June and July are the months when the rare sea lampreys can be seen spawning in Ayrshire. We saw a lamprey spawning nest today (known as a redd) in the lower River Irvine. The redds can be easily spotted and identified by the trained eye, especially at this time of year when the river gravels have a good coating of algae. A clean area of river bed with a mound of gravel on the downstream side could be a potential lamprey redd.

 

The redds can be sizeable affairs, in fact it is not unknown for wading fishermen to fall over when they step into a hole in an otherwise flat river bed. The lampreys use their sucker-like mouths to lift cobbles and pebbles to create the spawning depression and to cover the eggs.

 

This photo shows three sea lampreys spotted in the Doon in July 2008.

Sea lampreys spawning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adult sea lampreys are 2-3′ in length and they die after spawning. If anyone sees a sea lamprey in Ayrshire the Trust would be delighted to hear about it.

 

Brian Shaw

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