Brittle naiad, marine naiad, or spiny naiad occurs in fresh or brackish waters. It is a rooted submerged annual plant that resembles southern naiad except the leaves are highly toothed (3 – 12 teeth). Leaves are up to 1 1/4 inch long and 3/16 wide with several leaves at each node. Flowers (1/8 to 3/16 inch long) are found during summer, in the leaf axis.
Submerged portions of all aquatic plants provide habitats for many micro and macro invertebrates. These invertebrates in turn are used as food by fish and other wildlife species (e.g. amphibians, reptiles, ducks, etc.). After aquatic plants die, their decomposition by bacteria and fungi provides food (called “detritus”) for many aquatic invertebrates. Brittle naiad is readily consumed by ducks.