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Invasive Species: Killer Shrimp

Killer Shrimp

(Dikerogammarus villosus)
*Not detected in Michigan*


Report this species:

Use the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN) online reporting tool

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  • Body coloration ranges from transparent and striped to a uniform dark color.
  • Curled body, laterally compressed.
  • Sexual maturity reached at 6 mm in length, males grow larger than females.
  • First 4 pairs of legs extend down and forward, next 3 pairs extend down and backward.
  • 2 pairs of antennae.

killer shrimp
Photo courtesy of S. Giesen, NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

Habitat: Habitat for killer shrimp consists of fresh/brackish water in lakes, rivers and canals. With the exception of sand, this species can adapt to a wide variety of substrates with a wide range of suitable oxygen, temperature and salinity levels.

Diet: This omnivorous predator, consuming mostly macroinvertebrates, exhibits cannibalistic habits and will occasionally eat conspecific young and weak adults. Interestingly, the killer shrimp has also been known to kill or injure potential prey without consuming it.

Native Range: Ponto-Caspian basin of Eastern Europe.

Local Concern: The potential to spread rapidly through the Great Lakes if introduced through ballast (BOB) or no-ballast-on-board (NOBOB) water exchange is high due to the level of tolerance to various water conditions.

Potential Means of Introduction: Ballast (BOB) or no-ballast-on-board (NOBOB) water exchange/discharge.


Killer Shrimp Invasive Species Alert (printable PDF)