Beneath The Surface

The shrimpophiles amongst us have spent the past year worrying if the Gulf shrimp population is going to recover from the last year’s oil spill disaster. These gourmets of decapods are well aware that not all shrimps are equal and those from the Gulf are particularly plump and delicious. However, life in the shrimp world has other matters of moment than whether or not they are ready to be turned into Southern Fried Shrimp, Cajun Shrimp or for the special occasion, Coconut Shrimp. Today’s BBC News headlines just two of these (1).

Firstly, the good news is that Dr. Jamieson of the U of Aberdeen has given his name to a shrimp, Princaxelia Jamiesoni, in honor of their first meeting. The shrimp is two and half inches long, white and lodges on the bottom of the northwest Pacific, and was generally minding its own business before being thrust into the limelight.

Next we turn to an invasion of shrimp from the dark side – the Black Sea is their base and they go by the name, Dikerogrammarus villosus, which is enough to strike terror into us humble hunt and peckers, let alone any entrant in a Spelling Bee. Brigades of these warriors have marched along the bottom of the Danube, down the Rhine and then sneaked rides across the Channel. The have spread across the UK from Cambridgshire in the east to Cardiff in the west. At an inch long, they are formidable opponents that slaughter the peace loving native freshwater shrimps and insect larvae, gorging on some and leaving the bodies others to rot where they fall. The surface of the reservoir or river may look peaceful, even idyllic in the early spring sunshine, but the sun’s reflection merely serves to hide the mayhem from our view. Isn’t it always so when we view things at a distance?


One Response so far.

  1. jazgal says:

    Who knows what evil lurks in the bottom of the river? The villous shrimp do! Isn't it amazing howso many of these agressive species hitchhike and bully their way around the world, unbeknownst to most all but the biologists. We have to be more than wary.

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