There's a new shrimp in town and he might be planning on eating up all his relatives. The huge cannibal shrimp, better known as the Asian tiger shrimp, native to Indo-Pacific, Asian and Australian waters, has made the voyage to the U.S. Southeast coast and Gulf of Mexico causing biologists to get on the stick and find out how the fragile marine ecosystem may be affected.
Growing up to 13 inches long and weighing up to a quarter of a pound, the Asian tiger shrimp is quite a bit larger than the native shrimp found in the Gulf waters which typically grow less than eight inches and weigh just over an ounce. Needless to say, the little U.S. native shrimp stand no chance when the huge cannibal shrimp decide to eat them as an appetizer.
How did the new large shrimp travel so far? Biologists are a little baffled about it. Pam Fuller, a biologist who keeps tabs on invasive species at the U.S. Geological Survey's Southeast Ecological Science Center in Gainesville, Fla., believes recent hurricanes may be partly to blame.
"I think it's quite possible they're being swept up from the Caribbean. There are large farms there that appear to be connected directly to the ocean. Some of those were destroyed in hurricanes. We don't know if perhaps a large bunch got loose and swept up here and became established. Nobody knows. That's one reason we want to do the genetic work."
Biologists are busy finding out how the giant cannibal shrimp could adversely affect marine life and the numbers of native U.S. shrimp. And even though the new shrimp in town is edible and one would think it would be a little more satisfying due to its bigger size, there is no market for their sale in the U.S and no shrimp farm which keeps them. Do you think one will pop up soon? Do you think this is bad news or good news?
Photo Source: MSN