COMMON NAME:Spiny waterflea
SCIENTIFIC NAME:Bythotrephes cederstroemi
DESCRIPTION:Spiny waterfleas are tiny crustaceans less than 1/2" long with long, sharp, barbed tails. Spiny waterfleas collect in gelatinous globs on fishing equipment and lines.
HABITAT:Spiny waterfleas thrive in deep lakes but can also be found in shallow lakes and rivers.
THREAT:Fishhook waterfleas are voracious predators of small zooplankton, like Daphnia, an important food for young native fishes. They reproduce rapidly, and eggs are capable of lying dormant all winter, resistant to drying and freezing. As a result of their sharp spines, smaller fish cannot readily consume them, adding to their explosive populations.
No control methods exist; prevention is key. Since fishing and boating equipment is the most likely means of spread, anglers and water-users must take precautions. Boats and gear should be thoroughly checked, cleaned and dried before entering new waterways..
WNY PRISM PRIORITY:
Tier 4 - Local Control
The spiny waterflea is a prohibited species in New York State - for more information on Prohibited and Regulated Species, visit http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/99141.html.
NYS Prohibited and Regulated Species - Part 575:
PATHWAYS OF INVASION:
The spiny waterflea was introduced through ship ballast water. It spreads by attaching to fishing gear, kayaks, canoes and other recreational gear.