Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Invasive 'demon shrimp' threaten British marine species

Date:
February 9, 2014
Source:
University of Portsmouth
Summary:
A species of shrimp, dubbed the ‘demon shrimp,’ which was previously unknown in British waters, is attacking and eating native shrimp and disrupting the food chain in some of England's rivers and lakes. The problem is contributing to the cost of Invasive non-native species (INNS) to the British economy, which is estimated at a total annual cost of approximately 1.7 billion.

Demon shrimp.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Portsmouth

A species of shrimp, dubbed the 'demon shrimp,' which was previously unknown in British waters, are attacking and eating native shrimp and disrupting the food chain in some of our rivers and lakes. The problem is contributing to the cost of Invasive non-native species (INNS) to the British economy, which is estimated at a total annual cost of approximately 1.7 billion.

Dr Alex Ford, a marine scientist from the University of Portsmouth, is investigating the problem with support from the Environment Agency. He said that demon shrimp, so called because of their larger size and aggressive behavior, are currently a more widespread threat than the 'killer shrimp' also known to have invaded British waters in 2010. The fear is that some of Britain's native shrimp are in danger of being completely eradicated from some rivers and lakes, he added.

"They are out-eating and out-competing our native shrimps and changing the species dynamic in our rivers and lakes. As soon as one species is depleted it can affect the whole food chain with potentially catastrophic results."

The demon shrimp originates from the region around the Black sea and Caspian sea (known as the Ponto-Caspian region) and found their way into British waters accidently, possibly through shipping in ballast water and are now infiltrating the country via navigable waterways

Dr Ford, from the University's Institute of Marine Sciences, said: "One of the main reasons why invasive species are successful is the escape from predators, parasites and disease in their native habitats. We are looking at whether these demon shrimp carry 'demon parasites,' which could also affect our native species that won't have any immunity. There is a very real bio-security threat of spreading disease and parasites in native populations without acquired resistance."

The Environment Agency considers the demon shrimp to be a big problem. Tim Johns from the Environment Agency said: "Invasive shrimps such as this species present a major threat to the ecology of our rivers and lakes and we have a real battle on our hands to control their spread."

Dr Ford and colleagues from the University's Institute of Marine Sciences are now investigating which parasites the demon shrimp are vulnerable to. They are looking at whether they bring with them their own parasites and if they are able to acquire native British parasites, which may result in suppressing population growth over time.

One of their findings indicates that a very large proportion of demon shrimp are 'intersex' -- displaying male and female characteristics, which is caused by parasites which 'feminize' the host. Feminizing parasites exist in both British and foreign waters, but in the demon shrimp, the feminizing process has not been fully completed leaving them intersexual. One theory is that the feminizing parasites affecting demon shrimp travel with them from the Ponto-Caspian region but do not perform the feminizing process well in British water, possibly due to its different chemical makeup.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Portsmouth. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Portsmouth. "Invasive 'demon shrimp' threaten British marine species." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140209192324.htm>.
University of Portsmouth. (2014, February 9). Invasive 'demon shrimp' threaten British marine species. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140209192324.htm
University of Portsmouth. "Invasive 'demon shrimp' threaten British marine species." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140209192324.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) Celebrities, political leaders and the masses rallied in New York and across the globe demanding urgent action on climate change, with organizers saying 600,000 people hit the streets. Duration: 01:19 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
French FM Urges 'powerful' Response to Global Warming

French FM Urges 'powerful' Response to Global Warming

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Monday warned about the potential "catastrophe" if global warming was not dealt with in a "powerful" way. Duration: 01:08 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ongoing Drought, Fighting Put Somalia at Risk of Famine

Ongoing Drought, Fighting Put Somalia at Risk of Famine

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) After a year of poor rains and heavy fighting Somalia is again at risk of famine, just three years after food shortages killed 260,000 people. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) The Rockefellers — heirs to an oil fortune that made the family name a symbol of American wealth — are switching from fossil fuels to clean energy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins