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#139 Macedonia Brook Lamprey

Critically Endangered


I said I would edit this, but I decided to simply update instead. I heard back from "my ichthyologist". He's not mine, but he's the only one I think I've ever talked to even though it was via email. He loved the painting! I am truly over the moon about it. I know artists are supposed to worry about what critics and other artists think about their work. I've never understood that. I want people who know my subject matter to like my work. I want people who are out there protecting the animals to like my work. If a critic doesn't like my work it may keep me out of galleries and shows, but that will only upset me because it will limit the audience and then when I sell the paintings, limit the amount I can raise to put toward animal conservation and study. I've never been good at marketing myself, but I am totally comfortable with approaching people I don't know and asking questions. So, if you want to learn about lampreys, you should look up anything written by Claude B. Renaud, a very nice Icthyologist in Canada. His papers and help are what made it possible for me to accurately portray this lamprey. I am very grateful for his help, and thrilled that he loves the painting.

Original content:

This is the most difficult for me to paint of all the animals I've done so far. I will edit it at a later point if I am given permission to include the name of the Ichthyologist I talked to over email. I contacted him because I was really struggling with the lamprey and wanted to make sure I got it correct. Their teeth number, type, placement, etc., is very important.

There are lampreys in two rivers of Greece that are distinctly separate, and it was long assumed they were the same species of lamprey. The ichthyologist I contacted had a part in suggesting the name Macedonia brook lamprey when he and another ichthyologist determined that this one should be its own species. I did more studying to figure out what this one looked like than I have up to date, even for animals I didn't have a photograph of. To figure this out, I read all four of the papers I was sent, I took pages of notes, and did a mock-up trying to make sure I was painting things correctly. This is as close as I think I can get without seeing one stuck to a piece of glass and taking its picture.

They used to be part of Eudontomyzon Hellenicus but now are Eudontomyzon Graecus. They are from the Louros River and one of its tributaries in northwest Greece. Interestingly, as non-parasitic lamprey, they don't eat once they are adults. They don't live a long time once they are adults, from what I can find it is probably 3-4 months. It takes up to 6 years to become adults. They think the adults might be able to handle pollution better than the young, but that doesn't help most of their lives. The biggest threats to them are pollution, habitat loss, and water extraction. For the longest time lamprey were not really considered something worthy of conservation, more a nuisance. Thankfully that has changed at least a bit.

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