Kate Ravilious
National Geographic News
July 23, 2010

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t
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Remnants of antidepressant drugs flushed into waterways worldwide are altering shrimp behavior and making them easier prey, experts say.

(See “Cocaine, Spices, Hormones Found in Drinking Water.”)

To mimic conditions in the wild, scientists exposed the estuary-dwelling shrimp Echinogammarus marinus to the antidepressant fluoxetine at levels detected in average sewage-treatment waste. Fluoxetine is the key ingredient in the drugs Prozac and Sarafem.

Shrimp normally gravitate toward safe, dark corners. But when exposed to fluoxetine, the animals were five times more likely to swim toward a bright region of water, the team discovered.

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