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Invasive Demon Shrimp found in The River Bewl near Lamberhurst

By William Janes

Demon Shrimp have been spotted in The River Bewl.

The spookily named invasive invertebrates, or Dikerogammarus haemobaphes, were found by Southern Water staff carrying out an ecological survey.

The fresh water crustaceans are much like their cousins, the Killer Shrimp, as they both target a range of native animals, fish eggs, and even larger creatures such as young fish.

Demon Shrimp were found in The River Bewl. Picture: APEM Ltd
Demon Shrimp were found in The River Bewl. Picture: APEM Ltd

Environmental Manager Dr Nicola Meakins said: "First spotted in the UK in 2012, the demons don't seem to be spreading as fast as the killers but their freshly identified presence underscores the need for river users such as kayakers and anglers to check their equipment, clean it and properly dry it after each outing."

Demon Shrimp have an almost see-through, white body and 14 legs. Males are usually 16mm in length but can as large as 21mm.

The size of females range between seven and 15 mm long.

The River Bewl. Picture: David Anstiss. Licence: http://bit.ly/2Vl2XMo
The River Bewl. Picture: David Anstiss. Licence: http://bit.ly/2Vl2XMo

The discovery comes at the start of Invasive Species Week, running until Friday - a campaign to raise awareness about the environmental damage they can do.

To fight the threat Southern Water's Environment team has been training the company's 20 technical coordinators to recognise key species so they can be controlled more effectively throughout its sites.

Escaped animals, unusual finds and news from the RSPCA can all be found here.

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