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Did Great Lakes just get another invasive species?

Brachionus leydigii
EPA
/
Brachionus leydigii

A new non-native species has been found in western Lake Erie, the EPA said Monday.

Brachionus leydigii
Credit EPA
/
Brachionus leydigii

It's named Brachionus leydigii. And it's a type of zooplankton, which means it could be food for lots of fish.

But the EPA isn't sure whether little ol' B.l. will be harmful -- or helpful -- to the Great Lakes. The agency says there isn't enough scientific evidence to know yet.

So the purple, blobby thing may not be upgraded -- downgraded? -- to an invasive species, like the fearsome Asian carp.

Brachionus leydigii is most often found in parts of Europe, Asia and Australia, and it can handle cold temperatures like those in the Great Lakes, the EPA says. 

The finding resulted from a cooperative agreement between the EPA and Cornell University researchers as part of a biology monitoring program. Only one specimen -- a female -- was found.

Copyright 2017 Great Lakes Today

Dave Rosenthal
Dave Rosenthal is Managing Editor of Great Lakes Today, a collaboration of public media stations that is led by WBFO, ideastream in Cleveland in WXXI in Rochester, and includes other stations in the region.
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