Persistence of skin marks on killer whales (Orcinus orca) caused by the parasitic sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) in Iceland

Samarra, Filipa I.P., Fennell, Alexandra, Aoki, Kagari, Deecke, Volker B. ORCID logo ORCID: and Miller, Patrick J.O. (2012) Persistence of skin marks on killer whales (Orcinus orca) caused by the parasitic sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) in Iceland. Marine Mammal Science, 28 (2). pp. 395-401.

[thumbnail of Deecke_PersistenceOfSkinMarks.pdf]
PDF - Accepted Version
Available under License CC BY-NC

Download (228kB) | Preview
Official URL:


Lampreys have long been thought to be a cetacean ectoparasite, due to the observation of round marks on the skin of whales caught during whaling operations. Pike (1951), Nemoto (1955), and van Utrecht (1959) compared such marks on the skin of various cetacean species caught in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans with the dentition of lampreys and concluded that most round marks had been caused by this parasite. However, lampreys were never collected from captured whales and, due to the lack of direct evidence, some discussion emerged as to the origin of these wounds. Jones (1971) later argued that crescent-shaped marks previously attributed to lampreys were in fact caused by cookie-cutter sharks (Isistius brasiliensis). However, he agreed that other round marks were undoubtedly caused by lampreys. Recently, photographs of sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) attached to northern right whales, Eubalaena glacialis (Nichols and Hamilton 2004), and minke whales, Balaenoptera acutorostrata (Nichols and Tscherter 2011), in the western North Atlantic conclusively showed that lampreys do associate with those species. Similar evidence for other cetaceans is still lacking.

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: Marine Mammal Science
Publisher: Wiley for Society for Marine Mammalogy
ISSN: 1748-7692
Departments: Research Centres > Centre for National Parks and Protected Areas (CNPPA)
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2017 15:25
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2024 10:46


Downloads per month over past year

Downloads each year

Edit Item