Reason for ANS Designation Spiny waterfleas are microscopic animals, also known as zooplankton, that live in open water. The spiny water flea is native to northern Europe and Asia, and some parts of central Europe. Nalepa, D.J. Spiny (Bythotrephes longimanus) and fishhook (Cercopagis pengoi) waterfleas are small predacious crustaceans that threaten aquatic ecosystems and fishing by competing with native fish for food and fouling gear. It also possesses a pair of swimming antennae and four pairs of legs, of which the first pair is used to catch prey. Pennsylvania Sea Grant. Mandibles are used for consumption of prey. This summer they were detected in Lakes Piseco and Pleasant (2014). Cullis, K.I., and G.E. This unique looking non-native invasive creature is interrupting the food web from the bottom up. The section below contains highly relevant resources for this species, organized by source. However, the water flea has spread in recent years to many areas throughout Europe, including some ports and inland lakes outside its natural range.[4]. Something else that I am sure you'll find fascinating is how spiny water fleas reproduce. However, masses of water fleas are easily visible on fishing gear and other equipment. These invasive zooplankton (microscopic animals) are trouble and are invading the Great Lakes and could be heading our way! Adult individuals have three to four barbs on the spine, while juveniles have only one pair. Detailed Description An invasive species, the spiny water flea, is likely a primary driver of changes in Lake Huron's food web over the past decade. Spiny water fleas eat zooplankton that are an important food for native fishes. The https:// means all transmitted data is encrypted — in other words, any information or browsing history that you provide is transmitted securely. The spiny water flea is a freshwater crustacean characterised by a well developed abdominal region (metasoma), a cauda continued into a long, thin caudal appendage, a head clearly delimited from the trunk and the ocular part of the head globular and filled with a … [Accessed Sep 10, 2014]. It has been suggested that very small larval fish are not able to feed on the spiny water flea itself because of the barbs the flea possesses, but it is readily consumed by several fish species once the fish are larger. It is unknown how the spiny water flea entered Lake Champlain and these other waters. In some lakes, they caused the decline or elimination of some species of native zooplankton. Bythotrephes competes with several fish, including panfish and perch, for prey. [4] It is thought to have been introduced by untreated ballast water from international ships. The Spiny Water Flea (Bythotrephes longimanus) is native to the freshwater lakes of Europe and Asia. The spiny water flea is similar to another introduced Cladoceran of the same family, the fishhook water flea Cercopagis pengoi, which, however, has a more slender spine featuring a prominent loop-like hook at its end (see figure). The spiny waterflea is often found on fishing line or other equipment in clumps that resemble a gelatinous blob with a texture of wet cotton. Spiny waterfleas are very small, approximately 1/4 to 1/2 inch in length. The spiny water flea (Bythotrephes cederstroemi) is not an insect but a crustacean with a long, barbed trail.They are small and transparent, making it difficult to see them unless they occur in very large numbers. They are mainly freshwater and densely populate most lakes and ponds. Its average length is only about one centimeter, but its long tail spine (70% of animal's total length) makes it easily distinguishable from other invertebrates and zooplankton. They are large zooplankton measuring about 1 centimeter in length and are active from late spring to late fall. Bythotrephes longimanus (Leydig, 1860) (ITIS), Bythotrephes cederstroemi (Yan et al. Spiny water fleas are microscopic animals that are part of a small order of crustaceans numbering more than 600 species. Effects On Our Ecosystem How We Can Catch It/ Stop It Spiny water fleas eat small animals called zooplankton. The .gov means it’s official.Federal government websites always use a .gov or .mil domain. Preferred Habitat: It can typically be found in open water in lakes. The tail can have 1-4 pairs of barbs running down it. In 1982, the crustacean was found in Lake Ontario, and soon spread to the other Great Lakes[4] and some inland lakes within the Midwest, including over 60 inland lakes in Ontario. The animal has one large eye that is usually black or red. The spiny water flea is causing serious concerns about the lakes of Canada, with the problem being that it feeds on zooplankton and can actually eliminate zooplankton species. It may also eat other small organisms it comes across. Spiny waterfleas spread by But tell me this: Why is it that all these new invasive species have so few redeeming qualites? Minnesota Sea Grant. Adults range from one-quarter to five-eighths inches long, and are opaque in color. Description Leptodora kindtii is an unusually large cladoceran, at up to 18 mm long. The eggs survive even after being dried out or eaten by fish. [4] Concern has increased to the impact of this invasive species in the Great Lakes region and other areas it might have been accidentally introduced. As zooplankton is the backbone of aquatic food chains, this tiny crustacean presents a serious risk to the ecosystem. The spine has one to four pairs are thorn-like barbs. University of Minnesota. Journal of Great Lakes Research 21:670-679. Spiny waterflea has four pairs of legs on the underside of their body and is similar in appearance to the fishhook water flea, but lacks the “hook” at the end of its tail. Lewis, and S.D. Daphnia zooplankton populations have declined in recent years, though there is no conclusive evidence as to the cause. The spiny water flea arrived in Lake Ontario in 1982 and spread to all of the Great Lakes by the late 1980s. This large predatory zooplankton is a generalist feeder an… After the spiny water flea is established, the community structure of the zooplankton alters and there’s a reduction in herbivore crustaceans like Daphnia and rotifers. If the water flea is found to be a preferred (and nutritious) food source for perch and other fishes, its impact on fish populations may be beneficial. Branstrator, D.K. Bythotrephes longimanus. It made its way to the Great Lakes by 1984 and probably reached our lakes not long after. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 59:1209-1228. The animal has one large eye that is usually black or red. They have a single long tail with one to four spines and have one large, distinctive black eyespot. University of Minnesota. Vanderploeg, H.A., T.F. Peacor. These include Daphnia, which are an important food for native fishes. Bythotrephes longimanus is a cladoceran crustacean (water flea) recognizable with its straight tail spine averaging about 70% of its length. The females grow to become larger than the males. Native to St. Petersburg, Russia, spiny water fleas have wreaked havoc on zooplankton populations throughout the Great Lakes. Ballast water is water taken on or discharged by ships for stability, often resulting in organisms getting caught up in the ballasts and inadvertently moved from one region to another. First evidence of the cladoceran Bythotrephes cederstroemi Schoedler in Lake Superior. Texas Invasive Species Institute. Previously, the kinked-spined animals were thought to be a separate species – Bythotrephes cederstroemi. Spiny waterfleas are crustaceans about ½-inch long. In Vermont, spiny waterfleas are currently found in Lake Champlain. Oddly enough, spiny water fleas are considered zooplankton themselves. Description. Species Description: The spiny waterflea is a small crustacean (zooplankton) with a short body (0.04-0.1 inches) and a long tail (up to 3/5 inch). 25 (Feb 2014) (PDF | 136 KB), Effect of Spiny Water Flea on Lake George, Dispersal and emerging ecological impacts of Ponto-Caspian species in the Laurentian Great Lakes. They have a long, spiny tail that makes up about 70 percent of their body length. water. The spiny water flea (SWF) is a free swimming, cladoceran zooplankton with a unique body structure. [5], Invasion by the spiny water flea has also correlated with ecological changes in the Great Lakes. Johnson. Paul Smith's College (New York). How to Identify: Spiny water fleas are crustaceans, a relative of the shrimp, lobster, and crayfish. Adirondack Watershed Institute. They live as plankton in the open water of lakes, or live either attached to vegetation or near the bottom of the body of water (Miller, 2000).Four distinct periods may be recognized in the life history of Daphnia: They can clog eyelets of fishing rods and attach to fishing line. Description Spiny water flea is a little crustacean that's causing a big problem for native wildlife. [1][2] Bythotrephes is typified by a long abdominal spine with several barbs which protect it from predators. YouTube; North American Fishing Club. They do it through a process known as parthenogenesis or asexual reproduction, which means that they are capable of reproducing without mating. Remarks: Cercopagis pengoi. The body is not obviously segmented and bears a … They have a long, sharp, barbed tail spine. The barbs can be used to determine the age of the crustacean for offspring are born with one pair and gain more barbs throughout life. Spiny Water Flea Iowa Aquatic Invasive Species Bythotrephes longimanus Fact Sheet Description: The spiny waterflea is not an insect but a small crustacean. Spiny waterflea can often be seen by the naked eye, and will readily accumulate in a blob-like structure on fishing line and downrigger cables dragged through infested water. This is especially true of the spiny water flea because it produces thick-walled “resting” eggs that can remain dormant for long periods of time and are resistant to envi-ronmental extremes. Spiny and fishhook waterfleas are small aquatic predators native to Eurasia. Be glad your cat doesn't have spiny water fleas! See our Spiny Water Flea Information Sheet. [2] After genetic analysis, it is now considered to be a form of B. longimanus, making Bythotrephes a monotypic genus, (one with only a single species).[3]. Texas State University System. [4] The spiny water flea, eggs and larvae may be caught up in fishing line, downriggers, fishing nets, and other fishing equipment,[4] which has caused the spread of the water flea to inland lakes and rivers. These eggs even survive passage through the digestive tracts of fish. Bret Shaw: Spiny water fleas will tend to move in the water, the bilge water, the mud on your anchor that can be many many many eggs on your muddy anchor that can last a whole winter out of water and then when you put that anchor back in the lake those eggs can still hatch. They have a long barbed tail filament which makes up 70% of their total body length. Since the species' introduction to the Great Lakes in the mid-1980s, there has been a decrease in species richness, as well as decreases in the late summer densities of several other Cladocera species, including Daphnia pulicaria and Daphnia retrocurva.[6]. The tail contains one to three sets of barbs and ends in a long spine. Ecological interactions between Bythotrephes cederstroemi and Leptodora kindtii and the implications for species replacement in Lake Michigan. Because they are so small, individual water fleas often go unnoticed. It also possesses a pair of swimming antennae and four pairs of legs, of which the first pair is used to catch prey. Adult individuals have three to four barbs on the spine, while juveniles have only one pair. The first report of spiny and fishhook waterfleas in North America were both in Lake Ontario – spiny waterflea in 1982 and fishhook waterflea in 1998. Ontario's Invading Species Awareness Program (Canada). Provides detailed collection information as well as animated map. Specimens arising from sexually produced eggs have a completely straight and relatively shorter spine. 1995. St. Lawrence - Eastern Lake Ontario Partnership For Regional Invasive Species Management (New York). Biological Invasions 13:2423. Like zebra mussels, quagga mussels and round gobies, spiny water fleas were first discovered in the Great Lakes in the 1980s, likely arriving in the ballast of ocean-going ships that pumped out the Eurasian water from the bilge before loading on cargo. Spiny waterfleas (Bythotrephes longimanus) are typically found in areas of deep, cold, open water. Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. The Spiny Water Fleas The Spiny Water Flea was first reported lake Ontario in 1982.Since 1982, they have been harming lakes and have taken over more then a hared in North America. They The carapace is hinged on one side. Pennsylvania State University. Dispersal and emerging ecological impacts of Ponto-Caspian species in the Laurentian Great Lakes. Has caused a decline in the population of zooplankton as a result of predation (Vanderploeg et al. Invasive Species - (Bythotrephes longimanus) Spiny waterfleas are zooplankton (tiny animals) that feed on other zooplankton, decreasing the food supply for native fish. Its diet consists mostly of zooplankton, including Daphnia and smaller crustaceans. USDA National Invasive Species Information Center: "This ferocious water flea is mauling the Great Lakes", "Invasive Creatures Attack Like Internet Viruses", Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Life history and effects on the Great Lakes of the spiny tailed, United States National Agricultural Library, The early development of the onychopod cladoceran,, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 3 December 2020, at 16:43. Or, to display all related content view all resources for Spiny Water Flea. 2002); may also compete with some native species, such as perch and small crustaceans (Branstrator and Lehman 1996). 1988. The spread, establishment and impacts of the spiny water flea. This site is also protected by an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate that’s been signed by the U.S. government. Bythotrephes can consume 10–20 prey organisms a day. Spiny water fleas are difficult to distinguish without magnification, usually 1/4 – 1/2 inches (5-13 mm) in total length. The Spiny Water Flea looks like bristly gobs of jelly with black spots, Spiny Water Flea is really small! Both arrived in ships' ballast water from Eurasia. has been found in the stomach of some fishes in high percentages in Europe. Spiny water fleas have been detected in the southern Adirondacks in Great Sacandaga Lake (2008), Peck Lake (2009), and Stewarts Bridge Reservoir and Sacandaga Lake (2010). Jude, E.L. Mills, K.T. 2011), Has caused a decline in the population of zooplankton as a result of predation (Vanderploeg et al. Grigorovich, and H. Ojaveer. [2] There is also variation in the shape of the more robust spine of Bythotrephes itself. Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center. The spiny water flea preys on smaller planktonic organisms. Bythotrephes longimanus is a cladoceran crustacean (water flea) recognizable with its straight tail spine averaging about 70% of its length. Holeck, J.R. Liebig, I.A. Mandibles are used for consumption of prey. A long spiny tail makes this invader unpalatable to fish that would otherwise help control its spread. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. If predation by Bythotrephes results in reduced populations of preferred prey, such as Daphnia , the water flea may result in negative consequences to native Great Lakes fish populations. 2002); may also compete with some native species, such as perch and small crustaceans (Branstrator and Lehman 1996) Description Top of page. Identification: Bythotrephes longimanus is a large cladoceran distinguished by a long straight tail spine that is twice as long as its body and has one to three pairs of barbs. Before sharing sensitive information online, make sure you’re on a .gov or .mil site by inspecting your browser’s address (or “location”) bar. Distribution: It is native to Great Britain, and its home range extended through Northern Europe east to the Caspian Sea. Each has a long, straight tail … 2011), First discovered in Lake Huron in 1984; established in all of the Great Lakes by 1987 (Cullis 1988), Most likely introduced through ballast water (Yan et al. Both species were introduced to the Great Lakes in … National Invasive Species Information Center, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database: Point Map - Spiny Waterflea, YouTube - "Silent Invaders" Spiny Water Flea, Fact Sheet: Spiny Waterflea (Aug 2015) (PDF | 189 KB), Invaders Factsheet: Spiny and Fishhook Waterfleas, NEANS Panel Online Guide - Spiny Water Flea, New York Invasive Species Information - Spiny Waterflea, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database: Fact Sheet - Spiny Waterflea, Invasive Aquatic Animals: Spiny Waterflea (, Invasive Species Information: Spiny Water Flea, Life History and Effects on the Great Lakes of the Spiny Tailed Bythotrephes, Spiny Water Flea - Lake George Fact Sheet No. Integrated Taxonomic Information System. The spiny water flea's diet consists mostly of Daphnia zooplankton, leading to competition with small and baby fish, and also with native water flea species. Journal of Great Lakes Research 14:524-525. It is about a 1/2 inch long with a long, sharp, barbed tail spine. Alberta Invasive Species Council (Canada). Spiny water fleas are native to Eurasia and were probably brought into the Great Lakes in the ballast water of ocean-going freighters. The spread, establishment and impacts of the spiny water flea, Bythotrephes longimanus, in temperate North America: a synopsis of the special issue. Spiny and fishhook water fleas are predators - they eat smaller zooplankton (planktonic animals), … In parthenogenetically produced animals, the spine features a kink in the middle (see figure). Daphnia can be found in almost any permanent body of water. Bythotrephes longimanus (also Bythotrephes cederstroemi), or the spiny water flea, is a planktonic crustacean less than 15 millimetres (0.6 in) long. They are mostly 0.2–6.0 mm (0.01–0.24 in) long, with the exception of Leptodora, which can be up to 18 mm (0.71 in) long. Spiny waterfleas originally arrived in the Great Lakes through the ballast water of cruise ships, tankers and cargo carriers. Common name: Water Flea. 2011. A species profile for Spiny Water Flea. Yan, N.D., B. Leung, M.A. Scientific name: Simocephalus, Daphnia and other unnamed species Phylum: Arthropoda Subphylum: Crustacea Class: Branchiopoda Order: Cladocera Habitat: vernal pools, lakes, ponds and wetlands Size: 0.2-3.0 mm Description: A Water Flea swims in a jerky, hopping motion like a flea.A carapace (shell) covers most of its body. Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel. Parthenogenically produced animals have kink in middle of their spine and sexually produced animals lack the kink. It is native to fresh waters of Northern Europe and Asia, but has been accidentally introduced and widely distributed in the Great Lakes area of North America since the 1980s. Google. Provides distribution maps and collection information (State and County). Oh, did I mention, spiny water fleas recently invaded Mille Lacs Lake, along with zebra mussels. The females grow to become larger than the males. 2002.
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