Blood-sucking sea monster found on beach

A PRE-HISTORIC blood-sucking beast has been discovered washed up on an Anglian beach.

A PRE-HISTORIC blood-sucking beast has been discovered washed up on an Anglian beach.

The “vampire” fish was found yesterday by Sam Johnson, 13, as he walked his terrier Bonny along the beach at Caister in Norfolk.

Bonny was rooting among the flotsam and jetsam when the 15-inch long beast, bristling with teeth, came into view.

And the find has amazed marine experts, who have identified it as a rare sea lamprey.

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Darren Gook, senior marine biologist at the Great Yarmouth Sea Life Centre, said: “Sam took it home with him, but neither his dad nor a local fisherman could identify it, so they brought it here.

“I could see it was a lamprey of some kind, and a quick check in the reference books confirmed it as a sea lamprey.

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“They are pretty rare creatures these days and I've certainly never heard of one turning up off our local coast.”

Sea lampreys are parasitic beasts that attack larger fish and fasten onto them with sucker-like mouths lined with teeth.

They scrape a hole in the skin and suck out blood and grated flesh, and an anticoagulant in their saliva prevents the victim's blood from clotting.

Mr Gook added: “They used to be a delicacy but they've largely disappeared because a lot of their migration routes from rivers and streams to ocean spawning grounds have been blocked by dams and in some cases, hydro electric power stations.”

He cut open the lamprey to clean it ready to preserve in formaldehyde, and discovered that it was an egg-laden female.

“I guess this was another individual that, for whatever reason, never made it to those spawning grounds,” Mr Gook said.

“Even though many would consider it to be quite a gruesome fish, I think that's actually quite sad.”

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