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This article is from the Countryside Council for Wales' website

New Beasts In The Sea!

 

Sequence of planktonic larval stages of the Mantis Shrimp - from initial zoea to a partially pigmented larva

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THE MANTIS shrimp, which normally lives in Mediterranean waters, has been found in large numbers in the sea near the Tudwal islands off the Llyn peninsula in north Wales.

Dr Rohan Holt, CCW marine scienitist who made the find commented: "Measuring about 10cm long, the shrimp's front end looks like a preying mantis with a large set of claws which it uses to seize its prey. The back end looks like the tail of a large prawn or small lobster. The shrimp, like the Anotrichium seaweed we found last year, is usually found in warmer waters."

Dr Holt and others from the Countryside Council for Wales are carrying out surveys of Wales' candidate Special Areas of Conservation at sea - areas deemed to be of European importance for the huge variety of marine wildlife found there. Wales' candidate marine areas are Cardigan Bay; Pen Llyn and the Sarnau; the Pembrokeshire Islands; and the Burry Inlet. Surveys such as these will help CCW and other organisations in partnership with local communities to manage our seas in a sustainable way into the future.

 

 

Adult Mantis Shrimp in its Burrow

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On the new find, Dr Holt added: "The shrimps form U-shaped burrows which go down about 20 cm. Catching them involves being bitten by the front end or stabbed by the spines on the rear end when you put your fingers down their hole! The find gives us probably the first opportunity in the UK to study a dense population of the shrimp in its natural habitat - the only other known populations in UK waters are small populations near Plymouth and the Isle of Wight.

"We also found, at the same site, butterfly blennies - another southerner which is very rarely recorded this far north. It's a pretty fish - about 12 cm long with a big sail-like dorsal fin with a big spot on it. "Why these species have started turning up in Wales is open to speculation. Recent mild winters followed by warm spells keep the sea temperatures relatively high and therefore suitable for these species which love warmer waters. But questions remain - are other species from the south exhibiting similar trends and moving north, and will this trend continue?; are some of our regular marine species moving further north?" said Dr Holt.

 

Adult Mantis Shrimp

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Adult Mantis Shrimp

© 2000 by Image Quest 3-D
Read our copyright notice

 

 

For more information contact:

Helen Roberts, Senior Public Relations Officer, on (01248) 385500

Dr Holt on his mobile number 07788 910066, E-mail: holt@wiss.co.uk.

Note: CCW is the Government's statutory adviser on sustaining natural beauty, wildlife and the opportunity for outdoor enjoyment throughout Wales and its inshore waters. With English Nature and Scottish Natural Heritage, CCW delivers its statutory responsibilities for Great Britain as a whole, and internationally, through the Joint Nature Conservation Committee.

 

   The Lurker's Guide to Stomatopods - great general site - a useful springboard to other sites.  Global warming and climate change links.

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