Q:

What is lamprey disease?

A:

Quick Answer

Lamprey disease is a hoax, reports Snopes. Several disturbing photographs with apparently damaged fingers and eyes have been distributed on various websites with claims they are photographs of real medical conditions.

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Full Answer

Snopes reports that the photographs are actually pictures of human body parts with photos of the mouths of lampreys edited into the picture, producing a disturbing appearance. The use of the lamprey's mouth in this fashion led to the name "lamprey disease."

Lampreys are a species of jawless fish, reports Animal Planet. They look a lot like eels, appearing long and snake-like with few evident fins. They grow from 12 to 20 inches in length. They have no jaws and instead have a round sucker-like mouth equipped with numerous teeth. They are parasites and live by clamping onto the sides of fish and chewing a hole into the side of the fish. They consume blood and body fluids from the fish, and may remain clamped onto the side of the fish for a few hours or weeks at a time. Smaller fish often die from infection and trauma after a lamprey attack, but larger fish may survive.

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