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Demon Shrimp have arrived in Surrey.

Posted: Friday 21st July 2017 by RiverSearch

The demon shrimp (Dikerogammarus haemobaphes), is an eastern European invader about the size of your small fingernail which is beginning to colonize the rivers and slow flowing water bodies of the UK. Native to the Caspian Sea region. the shrimp has made its way across Europe’s canal network, arriving in the UK back in 2012

Unlike our native freshwater shrimp (Gammarus Pulex), this species of shrimp is a voracious predator and will kill a range of our native species, including young fish, and other aquatic invertebrates such as mayfly larvae.

It is too early to tell how much harm they will cause to our wetland ecosystems but the fear is that they could significantly alter them.

Closer to home the species was found to be living in the Wey Navigation, in the Godalming area, back in 2014. Further investigations by Surrey Wildlife Trust RiverSearch volunteers found them to have spread from the Navigation into the nearby river Wey. Kick samples taken by the volunteers at the site on the river Wey found that the demon shrimp had replaced our native shrimp and the number and diversity of other aquatic invertebrates was poor. This is a worrying sign and the RiverSearch team will be monitoring the area closely to try and find out how far up and downstream this species has spread.

How can you help?

Good biosecurity is essential to help slow the spread of the demon shrimp and we all have a part to play. If you use the river for angling, canoeing or simply having a paddle with the dog or kids, please follow these 3 basic rules.

Check - Check your equipment and clothing for live organisms - particularly in areas that are damp or hard to inspect.
Clean - Clean and wash all equipment, footwear and clothing thoroughly.If you do come across any organisms, leave them at the water body where you found them.
Dry - Dry all equipment and clothing - some species can live for many days in moist conditions. Make sure you don’t transfer water elsewhere.

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