A fish you thought you'd only find in your nightmares is closer to home than you'd think.

Credit - Chris Bowser/NYSDEC
Credit - Chris Bowser/NYSDEC
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The beast was found off the shores of Margaret Norrie Point State Park in Straatsburg, New York. Who'd think something this creepy would be swimming around the waters of a lake in Duchess County?

Ben Harris is an educator at the Norrie Point Environmental Center. According to him, the creature came up in a small cast net that was thrown from the shore line. Though this "fish" looks too scary to be real, Ben knew exactly what it was.

Credit - Chris Bowser/NYSDEC
Credit - Chris Bowser/NYSDEC
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Sea Lamprey

This creepy little guy is called a Sea Lamprey. They are a parasitic fish, typically native to the Atlantic Ocean. In order to survive, lamprey's will latch onto other fish and suck their blood. They are one of the most ancient fishes on earth, staying the same for over 340 million years and surviving at least four major extinctions.

A Sea lamprey is unlike any other fish because it doesn't have a jaw, or any other bone structure for that matter. Their body is basically a skeleton made of cartilage. They will cling on to their prey with their suction cup mouths and dig in with their sharp teeth.

Credit - Chris Bowser/NYSDEC
Credit - Chris Bowser/NYSDEC
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Negative Impact

Lamprey have a very negative impact on freshwater fish. Each fish is capable of killing around 40 pounds of fish over their 12-18 month feeding period. Since the sea lamprey invasion into the Great Lakes in the 1960's, the amount of lake trout caught dropped from 15 million to 300 thousand pounds in the span of 20 years.

The Great Lakes Fishery Commission works to control the sea lamprey population. They typically will administer lamprey selective pesticides when they are at the adult stage. They use a variety of other techniques as well.

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