Dikerogammarus haemobaphes (see image below) has been found in good numbers in the River Churnet, Dimmings Dale, Staffordshire. Click title for full report.
Also known as the Demon shrimp and originating from the Ponto-Caspian region, this invasive non-native species (INNS) was found by Riverfly Partnership tutor Dr Nick Everall during a one-day Anglers Riverfly Monitoring Initiative workshop, on Friday 9th October 2015. Dr Everall, with Nick Mott from Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, was training a group of volunteers to carry out a simple invertebrate monitoring protocol when the discovery was made. A number of voucher specimens were collected at the time and laboratory identification has subsequently been confirmed by Dr Everall, a leading expert on freshwater invertebrates. Though D. haemobaphes was recorded in the River Dove, at Rocester in 2014, it has never been recorded in the River Churnet until now.
It is likely that this invasive species has entered the Churnet via the nearby and inter-connected Cauldon Canal system though this has not been confirmed. To date the Demon shrimp has not been recorded in neighbouring rivers such as the Wye, Manifold and Derwent, highlighting the critical importance that any visitors, to the Churnet, observe strict biosecurity measures by following the Check, Clean, Dry protocol. Biosecurity is an important part of ARMI and is featured prominently during Riverfly Partnership training workshops; all sampling equipment and waders were checked, disinfected and dried after the Churnet sampling session.
The Anglers Riverfly Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) has established a track record for detecting serious pollution incidents, such as the River Kennet Chlorpyrifos pollution detected by Action for the River Kennet ARMI volunteers in July 2013. Whenever a suspected pollution incident is detected by ARMI monitors they follow a standardised protocol, to confirm the incident, before details are reported to the Environment Agency, which takes further action as appropriate. The Environment Agency endorses ARMI and funds coordination across England via the Riverfly Partnership.
This latest discovery further demonstrates the value of both the Anglers Riverfly Monitoring Initiative and Riverfly Partnership training days, which are led by experts like Dr Nick Everall.
If anyone requires further information on this find, Nick Everall can be contacted via his company website at www.aquascienceconsultancy.co.uk.