‘Killer’ Shrimp Found in UK, Scientists Worried

September 13, 2010 4:08 pm Last Updated: October 1, 2015 7:04 pm

KILLER SHRIMP: A Dikerogammarus villosus freshwater shrimp preys on other invertebrates. The so-called 'killer' shrimp has recently been discovered in the UK.  (Screenshot of Youtube.com)
KILLER SHRIMP: A Dikerogammarus villosus freshwater shrimp preys on other invertebrates. The so-called 'killer' shrimp has recently been discovered in the UK. (Screenshot of Youtube.com)
A “killer” shrimp Dikerogammarus villosus has been found in a water reservoir in the U.K., causing concern among researchers, according to reports on Monday.

The non-native species is known to be invasive and could potentially cause major problems for the U.K.’s water ecosystems.

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

D. villosus, a much larger species than native U.K. shrimps, has proliferated across Western Europe in the past decade.

"We are devastated that this shrimp has been found in Britain,” Dr. Paul Leinster, head of U.K.’s Environment Agency, told BBC.

The shrimp occurs naturally in the steppe region between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea. According to the BBC, it probably spread to Western Europe by traveling along the Danube River.

“We are currently establishing the degree of the problem, and whether the shrimp is only in Grafham Water or if it is in nearby lakes and the Great Ouse as well,” Dr. Leinster added.