New York Natural Heritage Program
Northern Brook Lamprey
Ichthyomyzon fossor Reighard and Cummins, 1916

Habitat [-]
In New York State, northern brook lampreys inhabit streams and small rivers mostly in transition or middle reaches (Doug Carlson, pers. comm. 2009). They have somewhat specific habitat requirements. They seem to prefer clear, permanent, medium-sized streams with moderately warm temperatures (Becker 1983). For spawning, adults require clean, clear stream sections with alternating riffles and pools, where the substrate is usually gravel and stone (Pflieger 1997). Larvae (ammocoetes) drift downstream to quiet, clear water areas such as the slower parts of streams, pools, and the banks, where they dig U-shaped burrows in the sand or muddy sand bottom (Pflieger 1997; Smith 1985; Scott and Crossman 1973). The developing ammocoetes need these low-gradient, permanent waters with sand or silt substrate and organic debris as a place to reside while filter feeding (Pflieger 1997; Smith 1985). Transforming larvae and adults use burrows as a place to hide as well (Scott and Crossman 1973).

Associated Ecological Communities [-]
  • Confined river*
    The aquatic community of relatively large, fast flowing sections of streams with a moderate to gentle gradient.

    * probable association but not confirmed