Rare shrimps found spreading along Dorset’s coast amid changing climate

A rare species of shrimp that was first spotted in UK waters at Swanage, has now been seen further round the Jurassic Coast.

Over the past few weeks, marine wardens from the Dorset Wildlife Trust reported sightings of the anemone shrimp at Kimmeridge Bay.

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The first time one of these shrimps was seen in Britain was in 2007, when it was found under Swanage Pier.

The trust says that the appearance of these creatures along Dorset’s waters shows the impact of climate change and rising sea temperatures on the county’s marine life.

About the anemone shrimp

The anemone shrimp is a relative of the common prawn, but has a far more exotic appearance.

They reside within the stinging tentacles of the snakelocks anemone, which can be found in rock pools and shallow waters.

These shrimps have a near transparent body, which can make them difficult to spot.

Julie Hatcher, Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Wild Seas Centre Officer, said:

“We have often looked but never found the anemone shrimps (in Kimmeridge) until now and we’re really interested to find out where else in Dorset these shrimps are found.”

Furrowed crab
Julie Hatcher

Furrowed crab

The anemone shrimp is not the only new species found at Kimmeridge recently. The furrowed crab is common in Devon, but is only a very recent arrival in Dorset.

They were spotted in Dorset for the first time last year, and three more have been found in Kimmeridge this year.

Julie Hatcher said:

“This crab is an indicator of climate change affecting marine life. As it prefers warmer water it is currently restricted to west and southwest coasts in the UK but would be expected to spread east and north with warming seas.”

Another species of crab that has appeared in Dorset’s waters is Asian Shore Crab which, unlike these other species, is not native to the UK and North East Atlantic.

Keep a look out in rock pools

The Trust is encouraging people to send in any pictures they find of Dorset’s marine wildlife.

Julie said:

“Rockpooling is a fun and fascinating activity but now, with all these new animals to be found, it is even more exciting.

“We would ask people to take photos where possible and report their sightings to us so we can keep track of these changes happening in our seas.

“We don’t yet know what impact the newcomers will have on our long-established wildlife and would like to keep an eye on them.”

Nature-watchers can send their pictures to kimmeridge@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk

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