TEXEL, Netherlands – One look at this rare, blood-sucking sea creature that washed ashore in the Netherlands this month will give you nightmares.
The nearly 3-foot-long sea lamprey was found by animal caretaker Jarco Havermans as he walked along the high tide line of a beach in Texel.
The sea lamprey was given to Ecomare, a nature museum, aquarium and sanctuary for seals and birds.
The museum said sea lampreys do not have a jaw but instead have a sucker-shaped mouth with teeth in it. They attack fish to suck the blood out. They belong to the oldest group of vertebrates, the Agnatha, which existed more than 400 million years ago before there were fish with jaws.
According to museum officials, sea lampreys are mainly found in the spring when they migrate from the sea to freshwater to spawn.
Ecomare said they already have a sea lamprey in their collection but will keep it for other museums to use.