Spiny water fleas thrive, disrupt all Great Lakes

Capital News Service
LANSING – Self-sustaining populations of the spiny water flea, an invasive species in the Great Lakes, suggest a greater problem, according to researchers. “They reflect a disruptive food web in the Great Lakes,” said Steven Pothoven, a research biologist stationed in Muskegon for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Despite its misleading name, the spiny water flea is a crustacean rather than an insect. Its diet consists mostly of zooplankton. Small fish can’t eat the spiny water flea because of its long, barbed tail spine, but larger species of fish such as an adult paddlefish can do so.