At only an inch long, this killer shrimp might not seem like it could do much harm, but Michigan officials are issuing warnings that the species is officially banned in the Great Lakes State.
“They have a really big mouth and claws, and they literally shred their prey,” Nick Popoff, spokesman with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, explains of the killer shrimp, which is better known in the scientific world as dikerogammarus villosus. “They are very aggressive in any of the systems that they get into.”
The killer shrimp joins the list with six other water-dwellers, according to the Livingston Daily, because officials in Michigan are concerned that they will harm the balance of the great lakes, rivers, and other waterways in the state. The newly-listed species was banned last year, but the official decision came Monday after a meeting of the Natural Resources Commission. The killer shrimp has wreaked havoc in other areas of the globe, because it rips up and devours invertebrates of its own size that are native to areas the killer shrimp has invaded.
“As prey numbers increase, Dikerogammarus appear to increase their attack rate far more strongly than other similar amphipod crustaceans,” freshwater ecologist Steve Ormerod told Live Science of the killer shrimp.
The killer shrimp is a “non-native species that feeds on damselflies, small fish, water boatmen and native freshwater shrimp,” according to Angling Direct, which warns of the impact that the killer shrimp and other non-native species can have on waterways.
“Unwanted non-native plants and animals are invading our waterways and pose a serious threat to our broads, lakes, rivers and streams. Once in a particular waterway these invasive species can disperse rapidly, adversely affecting recreational facilities, reducing fish populations and restricting navigation.”
The Department of Natural Resources describes the newly-banned killer shrimp.
“This species is an aggressive predator and could severely threaten the trophic (food chain) levels of the Great Lakes by preying on a range of invertebrates.”
Anyone, especially anglers, who spot an invasive species like the killer shrimp are urged to call the Report All Poachers hotline, which also handles invasive species sightings at 800-292-7800.
The Department of Natural Resources added the following species to the list of banned creatures last week: Stone moroko, Zander, Wels catfish, Yabby, Golden mussel, and Red swamp crayfish. More information on invasive species, like the killer shrimp and a list of all non-native species that are prohibited in Michigan, is available on the DNR’s website. Angling Direct offers several ways that sports fishermen and women can help lower the risks of killer shrimp and other non-native, invasive species from establishing a permanent home in Michigan on its website.
[Photos via Angling Direct and the Environment Agency]