Most people assume shrimp to be down near the bottom of the marine food chain, but scientists in the UK have discovered an invasive species of predatory shrimp that isn’t afraid to pick a fight with bigger creatures.
According to the British Environment Agency, the shrimp known as Dikerogammarus villosus, has been known to kill its prey and then leave it uneaten.
First spotted by fishermen at the Grafham Water reservoir in Cambridgeshire, the alien species was immediately sent to the Environment Agency for identification.
Invasive species can be plants, animals, and other organisms (e.g., microbes), according to the The National Invasive Species Information Center. In most cases, human actions are the primary means of invasive species introductions, as evidenced by the Asian Carp now invading the Great Lakes region.
One of the most troubling facts is that the shrimp seems to enjoy preying on a range of local species, such as freshwater invertebrates like native shrimp, and even young fish.
This freshwater bully can grow up to 30mm long, making it much larger than native freshwater shrimp (BBC News).
The predatory shrimp originated in the steppe region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, and scientists believe it invaded Western Europe via the Danube.
Image Credit: Hydra Institute