Monday, October 11, 2010

Another Alien Alert - Killer Shrimp in the UK

The predatory shrimp Dikerogammarus villosus
 Another invasive species has hit the headlines in the past weeks, the predatory shrimp Dikerogammarus villosus, which preys on a wide range of macro-invertebrates and even small fish. It comes from the Steppe region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. The shrimp is much larger (up to 30mm) than the native shrimps such as Gammarus and has obvious strips making it easy to identify.  The shrimp, described by the Environment Agency as 'particularly vicious and destructive'  was discovered by anglers in Grafham Water, a large reservoir in Cambridgeshire. It has rapidly been moving throughout Europe mainly via the River Danube, but it was a shock when it turned up in the UK.  A containment strategy has been put into place with the water leaving the  reservoir passing thorough a double set of coarse and fine mesh, although it is inevitable that the species will escape into the adjacent River Ouse.  All boat movements are being closely monitored.  The Environment Agency have moved very quickly to control this invader and it will be interesting if the strategy succeeds. Link

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