- The Shorthead Lamprey is an Australian native species of jawless fish found in freshwater rivers and streams.
- They have a long, slender body with a mouth that is round and lined with rows of sharp teeth that they use to attach themselves to their prey.
- The species is classified as a parasite, as they feed on the blood and body fluids of other fish.
- Shorthead Lampreys have a unique life cycle that includes a larval stage called an ammocoete, where they burrow into the riverbed and filter feed on detritus and algae. The ammocoete stage lasts for several years before they metamorphose into adults.
- Shorthead Lampreys spawn in freshwater rivers and streams in the winter months, laying their eggs in shallow depressions in the riverbed. After spawning, the adults die, and their bodies provide nutrients to the next generation of ammocoetes.
- Their lifespan is estimated to be around 10 years in the wild.
The shorthead lamprey is not a targeted species for recreational fishing. It is however, an important traditional food source and may be harvested for subsistence or cultural purposes with some Indigenous communities.
Species: Mordacia mordax
The conservation status of the shorthead lamprey varies depending on the state or territory where it is found. In Victoria, the species is listed as “vulnerable” under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. In Tasmania, the species is considered to be “rare” under the Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act 1995, and in South Australia, it is listed as “near threatened” under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972. However, in New South Wales, the shorthead lamprey is not considered to be a threatened species.
Fish Taste Quality
Shorthead lamprey is not a widely consumed or highly valued food fish, and is not typically considered to be of high culinary quality.
Taste Rating: 1/5
How to catch
Catch Difficulty: Easy
Tackle: Fish Trap
Bait: Fresh cut flesh baits
Technique: Bait in a fish trap