ThirdAge.com says that fishermen at the Graftham Water reservoir in Cambridgeshire, England, have reported seeing killer shrimp. Rather than another Sharktopus movie, this is a legitimate name for a group of shrimp that wreak havoc on the ecosystem by devouring resources designed to keep the habitat in balance. Liken it to a teenager inviting all his buddies over for “open kitchen.” When they are done, nothing is left, and they have to move on to find more.
With a technically correct name like dikerogammarus villosus, shortened to D. villosus, it is easy to see how they got the more descriptive name of killer shrimp, particularly when they enjoy feasting on damselflies and water boatmen. Native fish are left without the foods they generally eat, leading to their decline.
The killer shrimp is a vicious predator, munching on invertebrates like native freshwater shrimp and even small fish. Sometimes it kills prey, and leaves it uneaten.
They can grow to be 30 mm long, which is about 1-3/16 inches. Traditionally living in the steppe region between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea, the shrimp have been encroaching upon Western Europe for the past ten years.
Scientists are guessing that the shrimp have used the Danube River to waltz their way to England.
England’s Environment Agency is working to determine the spread of the shrimp, hoping they may not have gone beyond Graftham Water.
The Sussex Express reports that the shrimp pose no danger to drinking water. Anglers using the reservoir are asked to be certain they do not transfer the shrimp to other lakes. The emphasis is on protecting native wildlife and young fish. An invasion like this can spell catastrophe, if left unchecked, because the killer shrimp tends to dominate habitats, sometimes causing the extinction of native species.
ThirdAge.com,Killer Shrimp invade England
Sussex Express, Killer shrimp spotted in reservoir