National Invasive Species Awareness Week: Bloody red shrimp

Learn more about the bloody red shrimp, an aquatic invasive species in Michigan, and what you can do about it.

National Invasive Species Week 2015 is February 22-28. Invasive species are plants, animals, and other organisms that are not traditionally found in a given location (in this case the Great Lakes) and are having a negative impact of some kind, whether ecological, economic, social, and/or a public health threat.

To help celebrate this week, each day this week Michigan State University Extension is featuring a different aquatic invasive species that has invaded or has the potential to invade Michigan’s environment. Today’s featured aquatic invasive species is the bloody red shrimp.

Species Name: Bloody red shrimp (Hemimysisanomala)

Description: This aquatic invasive species is a small shrimp-like crustacean usually less than a ½ inch long. The bloody red shrimp is reddish in color with a flat end to its tail and two terminal spines.

Similar species: Great Lakes opossum shrimp (Mysis diluviana). According to NOAA, the best way to tell the two species apart is by the shape of the tail (requiring a hand lens or low magnification microscope)—the native Mysis has a deeply forked tail, whereas the new invader has a flat end to its tail.

Origin:The bloody red shrimp is native to the Ponto-Caspian region of Eastern Europe—the same area that zebra mussels came from.

How it came to the Great Lakes: Ricciardi 2006 states that bloody red shrimp were likely introduced through ballast water of transoceanic ships.

How long it has been here: Bloody red shrimp were first reported in the Great Lakes when found in Muskegon, MI near Lake Michigan in November 2006 by NOAA scientists.

Extent of range: According to Kestrup and Ricciardi, by December of 2008, bloody red shrimp could be found in all major Great Lakes water bodies except for Lake Superior.

Why it is a problem: According to the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Program, it is not yet known the impact that this species will have on the Great Lakes. The bloody red shrimp is an omnivore; its diet includes water fleas and algae. They may compete with young fish, while providing food for larger fish.

How it is spread: They are most easily spread when water from an infested body of water is transported to another waterbody.

A cool/unusual fact: Bloody red shrimp can often be found in large swarms near break walls.

Management actions/options: Science agencies are still trying to determine the potential impacts and management actions.

What you can do to help prevent the spread:

Practice the Clean, Drain and Dry method for watercraft prior to moving them between lakes. Video

REPORT IT: MDNR, GLANSIS, USGS NAS, and MISIN all accept reports of suspected new introductions. When reporting, it is best to include the date and location of the sighting (with GPS coordinates if possible), a photo, a physical sample and your contact information.

Learn more about how you can help by visiting the Michigan Sea Grant website.

Invasive Species Resources:

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