"The Pacific lamprey could be charitably described as a homely creature," WW wrote in this spring's Willamette River issue. "Feeding by latching on to larger ocean fish, such as sharks, the lamprey has no jaw, just a round, toothed mouth that resembles a suction cup with yellow fangs and a scarlet throat."
Meet Portland's new, adorable children's cartoon character!
The San Francisco Chronicle reported last week that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Portland office is trying to draw attention to the vanishing lamprey population by creating a fictional, Tweeting eel named Luna the Lamprey.
Luna's Twitter feed is unusually personal for a fish: She has written about her looks ("Don't be upset! We might be funny looking, but we are not as bad as you think, in fact, we are almost endangered!"), her family and the her feelings about lost friends.
"I'm sad. Louie is dead!," she wrote on June 18. "He was swept away after repeated tries to naviagate [sic] through John Day Dam's fish ladder."
She also apparently watches Game of Thrones.
Connolly, who works out of Portland, told the Chronicle he was inspired by the social-media example of other slimy creatures.
Connolly said the inspiration for the Luna the Lamprey campaign was the escape a couple of years ago of a cobra from the Bronx Zoo. Within days, somebody was tweeting messages purportedly from the cobra. "We thought that was a funny and clever way to connect people with a natural resource," he said. "We decided, well, if a cobra can tweet, why can't a lamprey."
Luna currently has 461 "likes" on Facebook and 208 followers on Twitter.
Connolly told The Portland Tribune last month that he hopes his creation will tap into the regional craze for vampires. "Connolly hopes people can make a connection between Luna and characters like Edward Cullen, the teenage heartthrob vampire from the 'Twilight' series."
She needs more fangs, we think.