The lampern is about 40 cm long, has a dark blue to grey-green back and sides and a silvery white belly. It enters the rivers from the sea between September and November and swims against the current well into the upper reaches of the river. It spawns between February and May. During migration the lampern's body acquires a bronze sheen, it stops eating and dies soon after spawning.
The larval stage develops over a period of three to four years; the blind larvae, called prides, lack the suctorial organ and live in the silt deposits on the river bed in quiet backwaters. They feed on any decaying organic matter. When about 15 cm long, they change into typical lampern equipped with eyes and the characteristic funnel-shaped mouth. In March they migrate downstream to the sea and often spawn in the same year that they left freshwaters. They live parasitically on small sea fish.
The lampern is abundant along the European coast from southern Norway to the coasts of Britain and in the Baltic Sea. Its freshwater variety inhabits the Lakes of Ladoga and Onega. In the Mediterranean it lives in the area extending from Spain to Italy. The lampern is economically important in some localities. It is caught during the mass migration period especially in those rivers which flow into the Baltic Sea.
Maximum size and weight: 40 cm, 350 g.
Identifying characteristics: Funnel-shaped mouth contains characteristic array of large horny teeth. The dorsal fins close together, in the spawning season connected.