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New invasive species found in Churnet

A new invasive species has been found in the River Churnet.

Dr Nick Everall, of Riverfly Partnership, was with Nick Mott, of Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, training a group of volunteers to carry out a simple invertebrate monitoring protocol, when the discovery was made on Friday 9th October 2015. Dr Everall, a leading expert on freshwater invertebrates, was tutoring a one-day Anglers Riverfly Monitoring Initiative workshop. A number of voucher specimens were collected and laboratory identification has subsequently confirmed that Dikerogammarus haemobaphesDikerogammarus haemobaphes (see image) or 'Demon Shrimp' are present in the River Churnet at Dimmings Dale.

Demon shrimp originated from the Ponto-Caspian region and although they were recorded as being in the River Dove at Rocester in 2014, it has never been recorded in the River Churnet until now. It is considered likely that this non-native invasive species has entered the Churnet via the nearby and inter-connected Caldon Canal, although 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 travelling to and from the Churnet observe strict biosecurity measures by following the Check, Clean, Dry protocol. Biosecurity is featured prominently during Riverfly Partnership training workshops as it is core to the Anglers Riverfly Monitoring Initiative as well as forming part of every CVLLP project. During this workshop, 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 then 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.

For more details please visit: and if anyone requires further information on this find, DrEverall can be contacted via his company website at