Fear Sparks Spotting ‘Killer Shrimps’ In Britain

Recently, reports surfaced that the “killer shrimp” Dikerogammarus villosus had been found in Britain by anglers at the Graftham Water reservoir in Cambridgeshire.

The shrimp eats a number of freshwater invertebrates with other shrimp, damselflies, small fish and water boatmen—all commonly found in Britain’s waters. It tends to insistently pursue its prey, often leaving it dead but uneaten. It is known to have caused the extinction of numerous other species in other areas.

Dikerogammarus villosus can grow up to 30 mm long and has usually inhabited the steppe region between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea. It has been encroaching upon Western Europe for the past ten years via the Danube, scientists wonder.

An expert in Holland has now decisively identified the species.

Biologists are currently testing water to see how extensive the problem might be and what measures-need to be taken.

“We are overwhelmed that this shrimp has been found in Britain,” Dr. Paul Leinster, head of UK’s Environment Agency, told BBC.

Richard Benyon, the minister in charge of the natural environment, said: ‘I am particularly concerned to hear that this highly invasive species has been found in Britain.

D. villosus is a tremendously vicious predator, devouring invertebrates like native freshwater shrimp and even small fish. The BBC even says that the species often kills its victim and leaves it uneaten.

Ciaran Nelson from Anglian Water said: ‘We are asking all water users at Grafham to take the actions asked of them on-site. This includes checking their equipment for shrimp when they depart the water and removing any that they find. They should also ensure their equipment is methodically cleaned and dried before it is put into any other water. Subject to these controls, recreational activities on the reservoir can persist.’ Bookmark and Share