After 20 Years of Hunting, Guide Finally Spotted the Jawless ‘Living Dinosaur’ Eel in Australia
After a 20-year-old research guide finally spotted the jawless ‘living dinosaur’ eel in Australia that ‘swallows the blood of its prey’
- 20-year manhunt for prehistoric lamprey species has ended in WA
- A local guide came across six lampreys on October 19
- The guide said it was like “looking for a yeti or the Lochness monster”
- The population size of the species has decreased according to the tourist guide
A prehistoric eel-like fish has been discovered in Wooditchup, Margaret River, after a 20-year hunt.
Local guide Sean Blocksidge has searched for lampreys for decades, jawless creatures that predate dinosaurs.
Mr Blocksidge said the remarkable October 19 discovery went against the grain, as he said no one he knew had seen one in the past five to ten years.
Adults are only 500-700mm in height, which means they can be easy to miss if you’re not looking, according to the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA).
Mr Blocksidge spent nearly 20 years searching for pocket lampreys in Margaret River
The keen-eyed tour guide said finding them was like discovering a mythical animal – and he found six at a time.
“It was like looking for a yeti or the Lochness Monster,” he wrote on his company’s Instagram page.
“I spent almost 20 years researching these amazing prehistoric creatures in Wooditchup / Margaret River and we finally found them.”
Blocksidge said he found six in a single sighting on October 19
Mr Blocksidge said longtime locals will tell you the species have already migrated to Wooditchup, Margaret River by the thousands, but these days they are “incredibly rare to see”.
“Scientists don’t know why, but it could be linked to a dry climate with a 20% decrease in precipitation [in the region] over the past two decades, “he wrote,” or changes in the flow of rivers with weirs. “
He said there are many possible reasons why it is now rare to see these lampreys in Margaret River.
“No one seems to know why populations have declined so dramatically,” he wrote.
“All I know is it’s incredibly exciting to see them today.”
Adult bag lampreys are around 700mm long, according to the MDBA
Mr Blocksidge said lampreys have a “remarkable life cycle” with adults spending most of their lives at sea, re-entering rivers and up rivers during migration, in winter and spring, to streams. permanent upstream where they breed and die.
“Lamprey larvae spend several years filtering through burrows in soft sediment before metamorphosing into their adult form and moving to the ocean in winter,” he writes.
Upon discovering the six he saw, Mr Blocksidge said: “These guys were still pretty blue in color, which suggests they recently entered the river system.”
“They usually migrate at night, so we had an incredibly lucky time in the rain to spot several of these guys trying to make their way up the river.”