Invasive bloody red shrimp discovered in Lake Superior

February 20, 2018

An invasive species with a jarring name has turned up in Lake Superior: the bloody red shrimp.

Researchers found a single specimen of the tiny shrimp in a sample collected from the Duluth-Superior harbor last summer as part of routine surveillance for invasive species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said. That means there are now documented findings of bloody red shrimp in all of the Great Lakes. They were first found in Lake Ontario and Lake Michigan in 2006.

Bloody red shrimp, which can be ivory-yellow or translucent with varying red pigmentation in the upper body and toward the tail, are native to the Caspian Sea, which sits between Europe and Asia. The species may have reached Lake Superior in a ship's ballast water, said Jeremy Bates, an specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

It's also possible the one specimen found was already dead before it was dumped, said Doug Jensen, invasive species specialist with the Sea Grant program at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

There are still no indications that the shrimp, which grow up to half an inch long, have become established in Lake Superior. The Fish and Wildlife Service said in its announcement last week that the species, like other , has the potential to out-compete native species and disrupt food webs. But the other scientists said it's not clear yet how big an impact the bloody red shrimp might have on Lake Superior.

"They do form swarms and can look intimidating. But since there's only been one found we don't know whether or not it's really a widespread introduction or if this is just something where one happened to get up here," Bates told Minnesota Public Radio .

While they could compete with other zooplankton-eating fish, they could also represent a new food for fish species that eat native freshwater .

"That's more or less unknown," Jensen told the Star Tribune.

And it's not at all certain that the will become established in Lake Superior, he said. More than one would have to arrive, survive, successfully compete for food and find mates to breed. That's a tall order, he said.

Explore further: Great Lakes fish feed on invading shrimp

Related Stories

Great Lakes fish feed on invading shrimp

November 22, 2011

Hemimysis anomala, or more commonly the bloody red shrimp after its bright red spots—may become a new food source for fish, allaying concerns about how it will impact native fish populations.

Demon shrimp threaten British species

February 11, 2014

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 ...

Sea lamprey up in Lake Superior

August 27, 2005

The number of sea lamprey has nearly doubled in western Lake Superior in the past year, according to Minnesota and U.S. wildlife officials.

Recommended for you

Scientists see human immune response in the fruit fly

June 19, 2018

Washington State University researchers have seen how both humans and fruit flies deploy a protein that a plays a critical role in their immune responses to invading bacteria. The discovery gives scientists evolutionary insight ...

World's first known manta ray nursery discovered

June 19, 2018

A graduate student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego and colleagues from NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries have discovered the world's first known manta ray nursery.

Road rules for gene transfer are written in DNA

June 19, 2018

A new discovery suggests that bacteria's ability to transfer genes, like those associated with antibiotic resistance, are governed by a previously unknown set of rules that are written in the DNA of the recipient.

Blue gene regulation helps plants respond properly to light

June 19, 2018

Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) have discovered a process through which gene expression in plants is regulated by light. Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.