The spiny water flea is a fascinating animal but it is invading the great lakes and is spreading very quickly.


A classification chat

physical, structural and behavioural characteristics

The total length of its body is 1.5 cm with a tail span that makes up to 60% of its body. The spiny water flea are orange, blue or green and have 8 legs. They stay at the bottom of the ocean to stay cool. Both male and female spiny water flea have a balloon like egg pouch.

The habitat it invades

The spiny water flea invades lakes, rivers and even the wetlands. It invaded Canada and the USA and was first found in December 1984 in lake Huron, then lake Ontario in September 1985 and now they have invaded all the great lakes. They can also be found in Belgium and the Netherlands.

The spiny water flea can be found in the great lakes in Canada/USA

How the spiny water flea migrated

The spiny water flea got into the great lakes when they were taken up in a ballast water of transatlantic shipping vessels and released into the St. Lawrence seaway. The seaway connects to the Great lakes and the Atlantic ocean.

st. Lawrence river and the Great lakes

spiny water flea impacts

The spiny water flea has caused a decline in the population of zooplankton in your lakes. They are eating them at a rapid rate depriving our native fish of their needed zooplankton. There is an over population of the spiny water flea that contributes to the above problems.

zooplankton and other plankton

Efforts to control the spiny water flea

Scientists have tried putting electric barriers between rivers to stop the spiny water flea and other animals from invading new rivers/lakes but that hasn't worked. Right now public awareness is being raised which will hopefully prevent the spread of this invasive species.


I hope you have found this to be informative and will be on the look out for the spiny water flea in your area.

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