Spiny Waterflea

Spiny waterflea is a species of zooplankton that measures up to 1.5 centimetres in length. It is not native to Ontario and threatens the environment and even the economy.  

Why they are harmful

Spiny waterfleas are not harmful to humans or pets, do not carry disease, and do not affect lake water quality for swimming.  However, their presence can be harmful to our ecosystems.

  • Spiny water fleas affect our fish populations by threatening their food source.
  • Spiny waterfleas can get caught in fishing lines and downrigger cables.
  • Dense clusters of spiny waterfleas can disrupt residential water intake lines.

Spiny waterfleas reproduce very quickly and there is currently no way to remove them from a lake.

How spiny waterfleas get into our lakes

Spiny waterfleas have been observed in McCharles Lake, Lake Nepahwin, Panache Lake, Lake Wanapitae and Wavy Lake. 

They are spread through watercraft, equipment and swimsuits that have been used in an affected lake, and have not been properly cleaned before being used in another body of water.

What you can do

  • Wash your bathing suit in hot water if you have been swimming in an affected lake.
  • Inspect your boat and equipment and remove all plants and mud, and properly dispose of them at least 30 metres from the water.
  • Drain water from the motor, live well, bilge and transom wells while on land.
  • Do not release live bait. It is illegal to release live baitfish from one water body into another.
  • Rinse your boat and equipment with hot water or spray them with high pressure water or dry them in the sun for at least five days.
  • Soak hard-to-clean fishing equipment and nets in hot water for ten minutes.

What the City is doing

The City’s Lake Water Quality Program aims to educate the public on the threat of invasive species and what you can do to help. We work with individual lake stewardship groups and the Greater Sudbury Watershed Alliance to promote these messages.  

If there is a public beach on an affected lake, the City will work with lifeguard staff to inform swimmers about spiny waterfleas and the measures that can be taken to prevent their spread. 

Report Spiny Waterfleas

If you find spiny waterfleas, or think you may have found them in an area lake or water body, try to preserve the organism in rubbing alcohol. Call the Invading Species hotline at 1-800-563-7711 or the local Ministry of Natural Resources office at 705-564-7823. 

For more information, please visit www.invadingspecies.com.