Brook lampreys nest building, March 2016

We recorded this brook lamprey nest-building activity on a tributary of the Lower River Shannon on the 19th March 2016. Brook lampreys are the smallest of the three Irish lamprey species. This is the first spawning activity we recorded during 2016. The main spawning season is April and May, but we have previously recorded spawning activity in late-March in the Lower River Shannon area. Water temperatures were just under 10at the time these photos were taken. 

Brook lampreys are the most common lamprey species in Ireland, but they are increasingly threatened due to an absence of any real protection, or indeed knowledge of their requirements. Their extended juvenile life cycle burrowed in sediments makes them especially vulnerable to river drainage and drainage maintenance works.  They are also vulnerable to water pollution and eutrophication processes. Even small obstacles in rivers, such as bridge underpinning works or small weirs, can act as total barriers to migration to brook lampreys.

We visit this site every year but unfortunately the river channel here has been significantly impacted on by agricultural pollution, dredging and clearance of riparian cover, and the construction of farm access roads since our last visit. Also check out the YouTube Video here:-

For further information on brook lampreys see the following links:-

Also, make sure to contact us if you have any queries and we would love to hear about any observations of lamprey spawning activity.

Follow-up April visit to same site

We visited this site again in April and took the video below. Also, check our YouTube channel for more videos.

We recorded the brook lamprey nest-building activity above on the 5th April 2016 on the same tributary of the Lower River Shannon. This was the first significant spawning activity we recorded in the Lower River Shannon catchment area during 2016.

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