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

Spiny water flea

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

Synonym: Bythotrephes cederstroemi (Berg et al. 2002)

Common name: Spiny water flea

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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)

Impact: 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:

Council or Task Force

Fact Sheet: Spiny Waterflea (Aug 2015; PDF | 189 KB)
Alberta Invasive Species Council (Canada).
See also: Fact Sheets for more information about individual invasive species, including those listed as "Prohibited Noxious" and "Noxious" under the Alberta Weed Control Act


NEANS Panel Online Guide - Spiny Water Flea
Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel.

New York Invasive Species Information - Spiny Waterflea
New York Invasive Species Clearinghouse.

TISI Inventory - Spiny Water Flea
Texas State University System. Texas Invasive Species Institute.

Global Invasive Species Database - Bythotrephes longimanus (crustacean)
IUCN. Species Survival Commission. Invasive Species Specialist Group.

Invaders Factsheet: Spiny and Fishhook Waterfleas
Ontario's Invading Species Awareness Program (Canada).

Invasive Species Compendium - Bythotrephes longimanus
CAB International.

Federal Government

Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database: Fact Sheet - Spiny Waterflea
DOI. USGS. Wetland and Aquatic Research Center.
Provides distribution maps and collection information (State and County).

State Government

Aquatic Invasive Species: Spiny and Fishhook Water Fleas (Dec 2005; PDF | 152 KB)
Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
See also: Invasive Species for exotic animal and plant pests invading Indiana, causing economic and visual damage

Spiny Water Flea Alert (PDF | 770 KB)
Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.
See also: Invasive Species Information for more resources

Invasive Aquatic Animals: Spiny Waterflea (Bythotrephes longimanus)
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.


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.

AIS in Minnesota - Spiny Waterflea
University of Minnesota. Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center.

Invasive Species Information: Spiny Water Flea
Paul Smith's College (New York). Adirondack Watershed Institute.

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

Factsheet: Spiny/Fishhook Waterfleas
Pennsylvania State University. Pennsylvania Sea Grant.
See also: Aquatic Invasive Species: Resources for additional species information

Invasive Species Fact Sheets - Spiny Waterflea
University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute.


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

Effect of Spiny Water Flea on Lake George
Lake George Association (New York).


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. Journal of Great Lakes Research 21:670-679.

Cullis, K.I., and G.E. Johnson. 1988. First evidence of the cladoceran Bythotrephes cederstroemi Schoedler in Lake Superior. Journal of Great Lakes Research 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. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 59:1209-1228.

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Last Modified: Jun 28, 2018
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