New marine species spotted at Kimmeridge

Dorset Wildlife Trust marine wardens have reported sightings of two species that are indicators of climate change at Kimmeridge in the last few weeks: the anemone shrimp and furrowed crab.

The anemone shrimp is an exotic looking relative of our common prawns that was first recorded on mainland Britain in 2007. It lives within the stinging tentacles of the snakelocks anemone, a very common rock pool and shallow water animal. With its almost transparent body it can be quite difficult to spot but divers have been finding lots of these tiny shrimps recently at Swanage, and now, at Kimmeridge.  

Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Wild Seas Centre Officer, Julie Hatcher, said “Snakelocks anenome are abundant at Kimmeridge. We have often looked but never found the anemone shrimps until now and we’re really interested to find out where else in Dorset these shrimps are found.” 

Another newcomer to Dorset is the furrowed crab which is very common further west in Devon.  In 2019 a couple of these were found in Dorset for the first time.  This year, three different individuals have already been spotted in Kimmeridge.  

Julie 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.” 

While both of these animals are native to the UK and the North East Atlantic area, an invasive crab from the Pacific Ocean was recently discovered in Dorset for the first time – the Asian Shore Crab. It was first recorded in the UK in 2000 and only 3 confirmed specimens have so far been recorded. 

Julie added, “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.” 

You can send photos and report your sightings to kimmeridge@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk For latest information on marine wildlife in Dorset follow us on twitter @DWTMarine.  

Furrowed Crab by Julie Hatcher

Furrowed Crab by Julie Hatcher