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You are here: Home / Aquatic Species / Species Profiles / Spiny Water Flea
Aquatic Species
Species Profiles

Spiny Water Flea

Spiny water flea - FWS

Scientific name: Bythotrephes longimanus (Leydig, 1860) (ITIS)

Synonym: Bythotrephes cederstroemi

Common name: Spiny water flea

Click image to enlarge

Selected Resources

Native To: Northern Europe (Indiana Department of Natural Resources 2005)

Date of U.S. Introduction: First discovered in Lake Huron in 1984; established in all of the Great Lakes by 1987 (Cullis 1988)

Means of Introduction: Accidentally introduced through ballast water (Berg et al. 2002)

Impacts: Has caused a decline in the population of zooplankton as a result of predation (Vanderploeg et al. 2002); may also compete with some native species, such as perch and small crustaceans (Branstrator and Lehman 1996)

Current U.S. Distribution:


Selected Resources:


Global Invasive Species Database - Bythotrephes longimanus (crustacean)
World Conservation Union. Invasive Species Specialist Group.


Harmful Aquatic Hitchhikers: Crustaceans: Spiny Water Flea and Fishhook Water Flea
Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force. Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers.

Bythotrephes longimanus- Aquatic Nuisance Species Research Program
DOD. USACE. Engineer Research and Development Center. Environmental Laboratory.

Spiny Water Flea (Bythotrephes longimanus) (PDF | 8.43 MB)
DOI. NPS. Isle Royale National Park.

Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database - Bythotrephes longimanus
DOI. USGS. Southeast Ecological Science Center.
Provides distribution maps and collection information (State and County).


Aquatic Invasive Species: Spiny and Fishhook Water Fleas (PDF | 152 KB)
Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Spiny Water Flea Alert
Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Spiny water flea (Bythotrephes longimanus)
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Alien Profile: Spiny Water Flea
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.


Aquatic Invaders: Spiny Water Flea - Aquatic Invader Toolkit (PDF | 685 KB)
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant.

Life History and Effects on the Great Lakes of the Spiny Tailed Bythotrephes
University of Minnesota. Minnesota Sea Grant.

Spiny and Fishhook Waterflea
University of Minnesota. Minnesota Sea Grant.

The Spiny Water Flea, Bythotrephes longimanus (2004; PDF | 956 KB)
Ohio State University. Ohio Sea Grant College Program.

Spiny and Fishhook Water Flea (PDF | 237 KB)
Pennsylvania Sea Grant.

Spiny Water Flea
Texas State University System. Institute for the Study of Invasive Species.


Spiny Water Flea - Lake George Fact Sheet No. 25 (Feb 2014; PDF | 136 KB)
Fund for Lake George (New York).

Spiny Water Flea
Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (Canada). Invading Species Awareness Program.


Berg, D.J., D.W. Garton, H.J. MacIsaac, V.E. Panov, and I.V. Telesh. 2002. Changes in genetic structure of North American Bythotrephes populations following invasion from Lake Ladoga, Russia. Freshwater Biology 47: 275-282.

Branstrator, D.K. 1995. Ecological interactions between Bythotrephes cederstroemi and Leptodora kindtii and the implications for species replacement in Lake Michigan. J. Great Lakes Res. 21: 670-679.

Cullis, K.I., and G.E. Johnson. 1988. First evidence of the cladoceran Bythotrephes cederstroemi Schoedler in Lake Superior. J. Great Lakes Res. 14: 524-525.

Indiana Department of Natural Resources. 2005. Aquatic Invasive Species: Spiny and Fishhook Water Fleas (PDF | 152 KB).

Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Bythotrephes longimanus. [Accessed Sep 10, 2014].

Vanderploeg, H.A., T.F. Nalepa, D.J. Jude, E.L. Mills, K.T. Holeck, J.R. Liebig, I.A. Grigorovich, and H. Ojaveer. 2002. Dispersal and emerging ecological impacts of Ponto-Caspian species in the Laurentian Great Lakes. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 59: 1209-1228.

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Last Modified: Feb 24, 2015
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