Lampreys belong to a group of vertebrates known as Agnatha which means 'jawless fish'. Their mouth is a toothed circular sucking disk. They have long elongated eel-like bodies. They can also be recognised by their gills which open directly to each side of the head in the form of a line of seven gill holes behind the eye. The back and sides of Petromyzon marinus have a distinctly mottled colour pattern with a brown-yellow dorsal and lateral colouring. It usually reaches over 50 cm in length.Relatively easily distinguished from the river lamprey Lampetra fluviatilis and the brook lamprey Lampetra planeri by its considerably larger size and distinctly mottled colour pattern (Igoe et al., 2004).
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