These fish look like something straight out of a fantasy. The bizarre mouthed lampreys, famous for killing a king, have returned to English rivers after disappearing for 200 years. The snake-like sea creatures are the oldest living vertebrates and possess a razor-sharp teeth, that compare to the monster you have seen in Pirates of Caribbean Dead Man’s Chest.
The fish is known in England through tales of Historians that claim that King Henry I, who had a predilection for eating lampreys, died after eating a ‘surfeit’ of the fish, but a few sources ascribe it to food poisoning. Bearing a tunnel like mouth, surrounded with an array of teeth, lampreys are said to have existed, even before the Jurassic era.
The fish was commonly found in English waters, but after the advent of the industrial revolution in the country, their population began to wade. The polluted rivers also became a concern for other lifeforms, so decisive measure had to be taken. After years of struggle by environmentalist, the waterways are much cleaner now and lampreys are now ready to swim in these waters once again.
The lampreys had been blocked by barriers to prevent migration, but as the aquatic environment has greatly improved, some of the barriers have been removed to let the schools of the fish swarm in. Their population has already increased in rivers like Ouse, Trent, and Derwent, where they had been completely absent 30 years ago.
The lampreys are regarded as delicious seafood in the English culture. It was used as a source of nutrition by Romans and the Vikings as well. Recently, the bizarre looking fish was also featured in hit TV show, Game of Thrones, where Tyrion Lannister is seen dining on lamprey pie while organizing the strategy of battle with his sister Queen Cersei.