Scotland is a stronghold for some riverine species that are increasingly rare elsewhere in Northern Europe. These include the Atlantic salmon, three lamprey species (sea, river and brook) and the freshwater pearl mussel.
All three species rely on clear fast-flowing rivers and burns, and each other for survival. For instance, in their first year freshwater pearl mussel larvae live on the gills of juvenile salmon and trout. Some lamprey species depend on salmon and other fish as a food source. Pearl mussels and young lampreys feed on small particles in the river water and in turn, where there are healthy populations, may help to keep rivers clean.
Read about the life cycle of these species, the pressures they face and approaches to their conservation in Scotland.
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