The Spiny Waterflea is usually found in the open water of the Great Lakes but now it can be found infesting local streams and ponds.
Steven Pothoven (Pot-hoven) is a fishery biologist at NOAA.
He says that even though the invasion can’t be stopped, it’s not the end of inland waterways or the Great Lakes.
“I think they reflect the ecosystems in the Great Lakes that are really disrupted from invasive species. They may not cause the collapse of something, but they disrupt things and they make that ecosystem less stable than it would be if they weren’t in there.”
Pothoven says waterfleas won’t outright destroy a habitat, but they make it more difficult for smaller fish to survive and thrive.
He says waterfleas throw a monkey wrench into food webs by devouring zooplankton which is the main food source for small fish.
Pothoven says the waterflea was initially introduced to the Great Lakes in the mid ‘80s by boat ballast dumping. By the late ‘80s the small crustacean could be found in every Great Lake.