Lethenteron camtschaticum


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Lethenteron camtschaticum
Species Authority: (Tilesius, 1811)
Common Name(s):
English Arctic Lamprey
Lampetra camtschatica (Tilesius, 1811)
Petromyzon marinus subspecies camtschaticus Tilesius, 1811
Taxonomic Notes: Earlier known as Lethenteron japonicum.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2012-02-21
Assessor(s): NatureServe
Reviewer(s): Smith, K. & Darwall, W.R.T.
Contributor(s): Freyhof, J. & Kottelat, M.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Hammerson, G.A. & Ormes, M.
Listed as Least Concern because extent of occurrence, number of subpopulations, and population size are relatively large, and because the species probably is not declining fast enough to qualify for any of the threatened categories.
2008 Least Concern

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The almost circumpolar range extends from Lapland eastward to Kamchatka, Russia, and south to Japan and Korea; also the Arctic and Pacific drainages of Alaska and northwestern Canada from the Anderson River and Mackenzie River drainage, Northwest Territories and northern Alberta (south to Great Slave and Artillery lakes), west and south to the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska (McPhail and Lindsey 1970, Page and Burr 2011).
Canada; China; Japan; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Mongolia; Norway; Russian Federation; United States
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Arctic Sea; Atlantic – northeast; Pacific – northeast; Pacific – northwest
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species is represented by a large number of occurrences (subpopulations).

Total adult population size is unknown but apparently quite large (likely greater than 100,000). This species is considered the most commonly occurring lamprey in Alaska, it is often locally abundant.

Trend over the past 10 years or three generations is uncertain but probably relatively stable or slowly declining.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Both anadromous and strictly freshwater forms exist. In the nonbreeding season, anadromous forms are at sea, freshwater forms in lakes or larger rivers. Ammocoetes burrow into soft stream margins and beds of silty mud in backwaters. Spawning occurs in clear streams of moderate flow, out of the main current, in depression or pit constructed by both sexes in gravel.
Systems: Freshwater; Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Threats to spawning habitat include pollution and water flow regulation or dams. Since little is known about local abundance and population trends, there is the potential for overharvest in subsistence and commercial fisheries. Lampreys appear to have habitat needs and life histories similar to anadromous salmon; therefore, in areas where salmon populations are declining, lampreys may also be at risk. The U.S.-Canadian lamprey control program focuses on eradication of the invasive sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) in the Great Lakes region and is not generally a threat to Arctic lamprey throughout the North American range. In Europe the species may be threatened by industrial pollution of spawning streams and capture of ammocoetes for use as bait (Lelek 1987, Renaud 1997).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Taxonomic status needs clarification; genetic studies are needed to better define the relationship between L. alaskensis and L. appendix. Understanding of taxonomic status and evolutionary history of this and other lamprey species may be improved by study of permanent freshwater populations and their relationship to anadromous life-forms of the same species (although no permanent freshwater populations of the Arctic lamprey are known from North America), as well as satellite species.

Effects of parasitism on host species populations need further study.

It would be useful to compile existing data (e.g., commercial fish records, subsistence harvest documentation) from throughout the range to better assess population status (ADFG 2005). Surveys should be conducted at index locations to gauge population trend.

Citation: NatureServe 2013. Lethenteron camtschaticum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 05 September 2015.
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