Ichthyologists have written a book about an ancient animal

20 November 2018

Yury Dyldin, a biologist at TSU, in collaboration with colleagues from the Czech Republic and the United States universities, has written a monograph devoted to an unusual representative of the animal world - a lamprey. It belongs to the archaic group, which is about 400 million years old. In many territories, including Siberia, the number and appearance of lamprey are markedly reduced. The main reason is human activity. In January, a monograph on the special characteristics of the modern existence of this unusual class of chord snake-like animals will be published in the American Nova Science Publishers (New York).

- Information about the lamprey is still very little. Sometimes it is called fish, but this is not true. This toothless predator is an independent class of about 40 species, says Yury Dyldin, a scientist at the Department of Ichthyology and Hydrobiology at TSU, a graduate student at the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague. - In the monograph, we collected all the information on the lamprey, which lives in the Far Eastern seas around Sakhalin Island. Along with this, the monograph contains complete information on this species from the Czech Republic.

The new data presented in the monograph show that even within Sakhalin, where Pacific lamprey are found, the groups of these animals have obvious differences, not only external but also in their way of life. It is possible that the species diversity of lamprey in the Far Eastern seas is much wider than is commonly believed.
It is believed that only the Pacific lamprey and one or two of its freshwater forms inhabit the  Sakhalin waters. The authors of the monograph suggest that this information is incorrect and at least three species live near the island - the Kamchatka migratory, Siberian, and Far Eastern lamprey. In addition, there is probably another freshwater species that has not yet been described. To find out, it is necessary to conduct genetic research.

- With my supervisor, Lubomir Hanel, Professor at Charles University, we have planned a molecular examination that will be carried out in the Czech Republic by high-class genetics,-said Yury Dyldin. There will be delivered lamprey individuals caught in the summer of 2018 in the basin of the Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan. I hope that genetic research will help to solve another controversial issue - to find out whether living freshwater lamprey forms are a separate species or, nevertheless, one of the forms of the Pacific lamp (Far Eastern) lamprey.

As Yury Dyldin notes, it is also necessary to study animals of this class in order to stop the decline in the population that has existed on Earth for almost 400 million years. For the sea lamprey the last 50-70 years were critical: as a result of the active construction of hydroelectric stations and other structures, the entrance to the rivers where all kinds of breeding took place was blocked.

So, in the early twentieth century lamprey in Siberia was a habitual inhabitant of rivers. For this reason, one of its types was given the name - Siberian. Now, even in the longest river of Russia - Ob - it has almost disappeared, the fishermen come across one or two individuals per year. Ichthyologists research will help formulate recommendations for the preservation of a unique endangered class of animals.
The monograph can be pre-ordered on the website of the publishing house Nova Science Publishers.
Photo of lamprey is from the archive of SakhNIRO employee Anatoly Velikanov.