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Table 5 Ethnozoology data that corroborate and refute the scientific literature

From: Ethnozoological knowledge of traditional fishing villages about the anadromous sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) in the Minho river, Portugal


Scientific literature

Ethnozoology corroborated

Ethnozoology refuted or new data

Folk taxonomy

Lampreia (lamprey), Lampreia do mar, Lampreia marinha, and Lampreira marinha (sea lamprey) [54].

Lampreia de touca [61].

“Lampreia (lamprey), Lampreia do mar, Lampreia marinha (sea lamprey).”

“Lampreia louca, Mouca and Sapeira.”

Preferred habitat

Rocky bottom [56].

Shallow water between the gravel and the sandy bottom, in calmer waters [4, 55].

From 0 to 2 meters [58].

Within ranges of 2 to 5 m, 5 to 10 m or more than 10 m in this river [58]. 2 m or more in the one western European basin [59].

In the ocean can reach up to 4099 m [10].

Shady places [7, 61].

“Rock fragments, pebbles (Seixos) and sandy bottoms.”

“Sites with calmer, crystalline and shallower waters, and bank muds.”

“Mainly between 0 and 4 meters, shallow-water fish.”

“Ranges from 0 to 8 m mostly.”

“Depth sites.

“Lamprey swims in deep water.”

“Dark places.”

Not refuted.

“Sargasso Sea and herbal branches (laurel).”

Not refuted.

Not refuted.

Not refuted.

Not refuted.


Swimming movement during the night [58,59,60].

Migration occurs mostly at night, starting at twilight and ending at dawn [61].

The sea lamprey has only the river strip to migrate until to the Frieira dam, in Spanish territory [61].

The sea lamprey can migrate to other fish as a way of saving energy resources [61].

Sea lampreys under certain circumstances may increase their gust movement rather than resort to more aggressive or more prolonged moves [59].

- Migration to reproduce: This species seeks the estuaries to adapt and continue their migration upstream to subsequently spawn [12].

- Trophic migration: The Iberian river in Spain occurs between October and May, peaking in March [70].

February and April and may extend until May and June [61].

“lamprey migrates at any time of the day, but this animal prefers the nocturnal period.”

“the maximum points that the sea lamprey are the Portuguese villages of Melgaço and Monção (near to hydroelectric dams).”

“The sea lamprey has a lot of strength in the tail and tail. This fish hitchhike (Boleia) with other fish.”

“They are aggressive fins (Parasites).”

“Sea lamprey bypasses the obstacles along with the migration through its swimming force.”

“from the mouth of the Minho river towards the source of this river.”

“the sea lamprey migrates from the sea to the Minho river when they are ready for reproduction.”

“November, December, January, April, May, June.”

“Mainly in November, December and May.”

“occurs according to the phases of the moon.”

“according to tidal variation”

“in the morning.”

“The center of the moon is what makes them change.”

“Ourense and Illa Fillaboa, next to river Tea, in Galicia, Spain.”

“They overcome all obstacles.”

“Swims in the water and crawls in the sand like a snake.”

Not refuted.

“July, August, and September.”


Dimorphic sexual behavior is also present in sea lamprey species [72].

Females seek the nests occupied by males when they release pheromone [73, 74].

Between Monção and Salvaterra do Minho, and downstream of the Frieira da dams [63].

Late December-early January, with a peak in February /March, extending until May/June [4].

In January to June with peaks in April and May [3, 6, 57, 77,78,79].

There is a hypothesis as to whether or not there is true adult loyalty in returning to the same places where they lived as larvae [61].

Sub-adult lamprey spawn, and eventually die [68].

“has different sexes (males and females).”

“said females found males to reproduce.”

“Lamprey spawns mainly in the fishing villages of Melgaço and Monção.”

“Lamprey spawns near the hydroelectric dams, and in general areas of the upstream.”

“Lampreys build their nest and breed mainly from December to June.”

“adult lamprey returned to the same places where they were young or where they were roe.”

“Lamprey die after reproduction.”

Not refuted.

“that males found females to fertilize their eggs…”

“Lamprey spawns in Valença and Vila Nova de Cerveira.”


“No. The lampreys go to various sides and several rivers, and even to Porto (Douro river).”

“The fact that the lamprey spawns must have to do with water.”