Pacific Die-Off, Alaska: Faceless Eels With Teeth, Found Far From Any Body Of Water, Are Assumed To Have Fallen From Sky. What?

Courtesy KTLA.com

No, it doesn't mean Fairbanks is being struck by God.  It means the eel-like creatures, or lampreys as they are properly called, were either sucked up then spat out by a tornado, or were dropped by birds.  Alaska officials got that far, and, as I was led to believe by the KTLA article, pointed to the "holes" on the sides of the lampreys, as signs of bird talons; there are seven holes, and I actually spent a bit of time trying to find what bird could have made such a mark.  Certainly no gull fit that description, that was not itself a freak of nature.  

And the holes are awfully close together, perfectly aligned, and bloodless.

Turns out those holes are not from bird feet at all.  The lampreys come with them; they are gills.  The fine print under the photo even said so; if there are holes in the fish, we don't have pictures of them, even though we ought not be faulted for having thought we did.

So back to a modified square one.  Still seems most plausible that the lampreys were dropped by birds.  No tornadoes, has to be birds.  What birds eat lampreys?  And, where are the talon marks?  How come this is a relatively new phenomenon?

The lampreys themselves are the new phenomenon.  They feed on algae as youngsters; when full grown. they latch onto a passing fish.  Here is described newly invasive lampreys, and what they did to the salmon of Lake Champlain:

     Native freshwater lampreys should post no threat to native fish, but sea lampreys--which apparently reached Lake Champlain through the Champlain Canal, built in the early 1800s to connect the lake to the Hudson River--are another matter. Once established in the lake, their population exploded. Greenough pulled in nearly 2,000 voracious sea lampreys last year. With more than 40 years of fishing under his belt, he says anglers have found sea lampreys and the telltale gaping wounds on every kind of fish. "Seventy to 80 percent of the lake trout have hits," he says.
     "Research shows that fish with one sea lamprey wound have about a 60 percent mortality rate," says David Tilton, a fisheries biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "Some of the fish we find have multiple wounds. We have to conclude the mortality rate is high." One lamprey can kill up to 40 pounds of fish in the 12 to 18 months of its life in the lake, hindering lake trout and salmon restoration. The main method of lamprey control is a pesticide known as TFM.
 

Interesting that they are sea lampreys.  I wonder, are the Alaskan lampreys sea lampreys? It is, however, clear, at least to me, what happened:  a fish was carried aloft by a bird of prey, and it took the lamprey a moment to realize something had changed; realizing this, or possibly asphyxiating, the lamprey stopped sucking on the fish, and fell to earth, only to cause a media sensation.  

That this was newsworthy indicates its a new occurrence.  So these lampreys are a new occurrence, just like the algae, and the salmon die-off, and possibly a more widespread famine among the sea creatures of the Pacific, and creatures that feed upon them.

Just a theory.

Comments welcome.

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