Friday, January 25, 2008

Bloody-red Shrimp Invades Great Lakes

bloody red shrimp
Bloody Red Shrimp
Bloody red shrimp (Hemimysis anomala) are native to the Ponto-Caspian region of Eastern Europe. They were first reported in the Great Lakes by NOAA from samples collected in Muskegon, Michigan in November 2006 in waters connected to Lake Michigan. They have also been found in Lake Ontario near Oswego, New York.

This omnivore eats a variety of smaller animals and algae. The long-term impacts on the Great Lakes are yet unknown, but it is considered a high risk for invasion of inland lakes in the Great Lakes region. The shrimp jas a huge appetite for zooplankton, the tiny organisms that small fish eat. It eats so rapidly that it could reduce the growth and abundance of fish, affecting commercial fishing. Some adult fish species will eat the shrimp, but the benefit will be erased since the shrimp can out-eat the young fish.

"They're more widespread than we'd originally thought," Marten Koops, a Fisheries and Oceans Canada research scientist, said this week. They've caused great damage in Europe, and they pose a great risk of hurting fish populations and promoting algae blooms. The invaders have now been discovered in about 20 spots in lakes Erie, Michigan and Ontario.

The NOAA National Center for Research on Aquatic Invasive Species (NCRAIS), in Ann Arbor, is coordinating a national rapid research response to define the range, distribution, and impact of the bloody red shrimp in the Great Lakes. It prefers habitats associated with hard structures or rocky bottoms and actively avoids direct sunlight. It has a unique swarming behavior unlikely to be confused with anything else in the Great Lakes. During daylight hours, especially in late summer, it may be observed forming reddish swarms in the shadows of piers, boats, or breakwalls. Swarms disperse at night, but in clear calm waters, the bloody red shrimp may be detected at night by shining a bright light on the water—the shrimp will rapidly swim away from the light.

Help is needed to document and prevent the spread of this species! We are asking the public’s help in documenting other locations around the Great Lakes basin where this species has spread. Look for swarms in shadowed areas along the shoreline, especialy near breakwalls, docks, channel edges, and near boats.

If you see what you believe to be a swarm, please report your observations to the Hemimysis Survey and Monitoring Network at:

from the Windsor Star, "Bloody-red shrimp invades Great Lakes", by Sharon Hill, Jan 24, 2008
and from the NOAA Fact Sheet, "Bloody Red Shrimp (Hemimysis anomala)"
These links are checked on the date of the article. As the article ages, some links may become invalid

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