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Invasive Species Resources

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International Maritime Organization.

Amendments to an international treaty aimed at preventing the spread of potentially invasive species in ships' ballast water entered into force on 13 October 2019. The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004 (the BWM Convention) was adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, to address this problem. The BWM Convention entered into force in 2017. The amendments formalise an implementation schedule to ensure ships manage their ballast water to meet a specified standard ("D-2 standard") aimed at ensuring that viable organisms are not released into new sea areas, and make mandatory the Code for Approval of Ballast Water Management Systems, which sets out how ballast water management systems used to achieve the D-2 standard have to be assessed and approved. This will help ensure that aquatic organisms and pathogens are removed or rendered harmless before the ballast water is released into a new location – and avoid the spread of invasive species as well as potentially harmful pathogens.

UNFAO. Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.
An insect that can infest and damage hundreds of hectares of maize fields, literally overnight, is sweeping across Asia – alarming smallholder farmers and threatening livelihoods – but the damage can be limited, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported today. Fall Armyworm is native to the Americas. However, since 2016 it has been aggressively moving ever eastwards, sweeping across Africa, and making landfall for the first time in Asia last summer. Fall Armyworm (FAW) was first detected in India in July 2018 and by January of this year, it had spread to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand and China’s Yunnan Province.

National Environmental Science Programme (Australia). Threatened Species Recovery Hub.

New research by the Threatened Species Recovery Hub has shown that invasive or pest species are a problem for 1,257 threatened species in Australia, or about four out of five species. The research which has been published in the scientific journal Pacific Conservation Biology also identified the top ten invasive species based on how many threatened species they impact. Lead researcher Stephen Kearney from the University of Queensland said many people may be surprised at which species top the list. “Rabbits, a plant root disease and feral pigs are the top three pest species impacting Australia’s threatened species,” Mr Kearney said.

USDA. FS. Southern Research Station. CompassLive.

White-nose syndrome has been spreading through U.S. bat populations since 2006 and has caused mass die-offs in various regions of the country. The syndrome is caused by Pd (Pseudogymnoascus destructans), a fungus that invades the skin of bats while they hibernate. USDA Forest Service wildlife biologists Roger Perry and Phillip Jordan conducted a study to calculate the survival rates of tricolored bats (Perimyotis subflavus) in the Ouachita Mountains of west-central Arkansas. The research helps satisfy the need for robust estimates of population data amid the WNS outbreak. The scientists chose to study the tricolored bat because it is common across North America and has suffered substantial declines due to WNS. The research highlights the importance of maintaining and protecting small hibernation sites as they may be critical to the conservation of the tricolored bat species.

DHS. Customs and Border Protection.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists have already intercepted a dozen significant and potentially destructive pests this year at various ports of entry in Florida as part of the agency's all-encompassing efforts to safeguard American agriculture.

Unknown pests pose a significant risk in agriculture due to a lack of knowledge in controlling the pests and the extent of damage they can cause to crops. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologists recently classified eight pests discovered by CBP agriculture specialists in Florida as first-in-the-nation interceptions and another pest as a new species.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Now is the time to register for the 2020 Lionfish Challenge! The Lionfish Challenge is an incentive program that rewards harvesters for their lionfish removals. With a tiered system, everybody can be a winner. The participant who harvests the most lionfish will be crowned the Lionfish King/Queen. The Challenge is open now and will run through Labor Day (Sept. 7). You can register for the 2020 Lionfish Challenge and find more information at FWCReefRangers.com/Lionfish-Challenge. Questions regarding the challenge can be sent to Lionfish@MyFWC.com.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture has confirmed the first spotted lanternfly hatch of 2020. The first instar nymph of the season was reported by a department employee while surveying for the pest in the upper northeast corner of Cecil County near the Pennsylvania border.

See additional resources on the Maryland Department of Agriculture's site for Spotted Lanternfly for up-to-date information. For questions related to the quarantine, permitting, treatment, or to report a sighting of the spotted lanternfly, especially outside of the quarantine zone, call 410-841-5920 or email DontBug.MD@maryland.gov. If you report a spotted lanternfly via email, please provide the location of the sighting and your contact information.

National Conference of State Legislatures.

National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) tracks environment and natural resources legislation to bring you up-to-date, real-time information on bills (from 2015) that have been introduced in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. Database provides search options by state (or territory), topic, keyword, year, status or primary sponsor. Topics include: Wildlife-Invasive Species and Wildlife-Pollinators.

Australian Government. Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

The exotic plant pest fall armyworm has been detected for the first time in Australia, in a network of surveillance traps on the northern Torres Strait islands of Saibai and Erub. Head of Biosecurity at the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, Lyn O'Connell, said the caterpillar stage of the fall armyworm, also known as Spodoptera frugiperda, damages many crops across Africa and Asia vital to human food security, such as rice, maize and sorghum. "Everyone can do their part to protect Australia from biosecurity risks like fall armyworm by being aware of what can and cannot be brought to Australia from overseas or from the Torres Strait region and reporting any unexpected pests, plant matter or soil."

Adult moths of fall armyworm were detected in surveillance traps monitored by the Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy. These traps were set up as part of preparedness activities for early detection as fall armyworm is a strong flyer and has been spreading rapidly through Southeast Asia countries in recent months. For more information, see Fall Armyworm and Other Exotic Armyworms from the Australian Department of Agriculture.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

On Jan 10, 2020, the Florida Python Challenge™ 2020 Python Bowl officially kicked off in South Florida with more than 550 people registered for the competition to remove as many pythons from the wild as possible. Native to Southeast Asia, pythons pose a significant threat to Florida’s native wildlife. Under the direction of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) have teamed up with the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee and other partners to support the Committee’s Ocean to Everglades (O2E) initiative, which features the Python Bowl. It’s not too late! People interested in taking part in the Florida Python Challenge™ 2020 Python Bowl can still register at FLPythonChallenge.org

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.
More than 50 non-native species have found their way to the Galápagos Islands, over 10 times more than scientists previously thought, reports a new study in Aquatic Invasions published Thursday, March 28. The study, a joint effort of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Williams College, and the Charles Darwin Foundation, documents 53 species of introduced marine animals in this UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the largest marine protected areas on Earth. Before this study came out, scientists knew about only five.

International Maritime Organization.

A key international measure for environmental protection that aims to stop the spread of potentially invasive aquatic species in ships’ ballast water enters into force. The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention) addresses aquatic invasive alien species (IAS) by requiring all ships to implement a ballast water management plan, among other actions.
See also: Ballast Water Convention Enters into Force (Sep 12, 2017)

Government of Canada.
Grass carp, one of four species of Asian carp, has the potential to disrupt the Great Lakes ecosystem and economy unless their spread is stopped, according to a report released by Fisheries and Oceans Canada with support from the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. The socio-economic study concludes that, in addition to the significant ecological threat that is posed by the presence of grass carp in the Great Lakes, there would also be economic, social and cultural ripple effects. The full report can be viewed here (PDF | 1.34 MB).

California Academy of Sciences; National Geographic Society.

iNaturalist helps you identify the plants and animals around you. Get connected with a community of over 750,000 scientists and naturalists who can help you learn more about nature! By recording and sharing your observations, you’ll create research quality data for scientists working to better understand and protect nature. Experience and record nature with species identification technology by downloading the iNaturalist app (Android and iPhone) --  See Getting started:

  • Find Wildlife - it can be any plant, animal, fungi, slime mold or evidence of life found in the wild
  • Take Pictures - be sure to notice the location
  • Share Observations - upload your findings to iNaturalist

Seek by iNaturalist is an educational tool and provides a kid-friendly alternative. Seek allows you to identify plants and animals from your photos by harnessing image recognition technology, drawing from existing data collected from observations on iNaturalist (no registration is required, and no user data is collected).

DOI. Office of Insular Affairs.

U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs, Douglas W. Domenech announced $942,206 in fiscal year (FY) 2020 Coral Reef and Natural Resources Initiative grants to eradicate and control the spread of invasive species in the U.S. territories of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), as well as in the Republic of Palau, and Yap, in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). Funding will be used to introduce biological control of coconut rhinoceros beetles, control and eradicate feral cats and monitor lizards, and destroy wild vines, all of which are disruptive to ecological systems and impacting communities and livelihoods in the islands.

University of Florida. Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension.

Florida is a national and global hot spot for non-native, invasive species. Because researchers and land managers in Florida have been dealing with invasive species for decades, there is an abundance of resources available to the public regarding invasive species. Sometimes, the volume of available information can be confusing. There are five different primary lists of non-native plant species that are referenced in Florida: 1. The Federal Noxious Weed List, 2. The Florida Noxious Weed List, 3. The Florida Prohibited Aquatic Plant List, 4. The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (FLEPPC) Plant List, and 5. The UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants. This document aims to inform the general public, land managers, researchers, local and state policy makers, and others who seek guidance in accessing regulatory and nonregulatory non-native plant lists in the state of Florida. This publication explains the origins of the lists, meaning of inclusion on a particular list, and ways to access each of the lists.

European Commission.

In October 2016, the European Parliament and the Council adopted Regulation (EU) 2016/2031 on protective measures against plant pests (“Plant Health Law”). On 13 December 2016, the Regulation entered into force and will be applicable from 14 December 2019. The new rules aim to modernise the plant health regime, enhancing more effective measures for the protection of the Union's territory and its plants. The Plant Health Law increases the prevention against the introduction of new pests via imports from third countries. Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/2019 establishes the list of high risk plants the introduction of which into the EU territory will be provisionally prohibited from 14 December 2019 until a full risk assessment has been carried out. Published in the Official Journal on 11 October 2019, the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/1702 lists 20 quarantine pests as priority pests, including Xylella fastidiosa, the Japanese beetle, the Asian long-horned beetle, Citrus greening and Citrus Black Spot, whose economic, environmental and social impact on EU territory is the most severe.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Commissioners approved rule changes in Chapter 68-5, F.A.C., regarding nonnative species on February 21, 2019. The new rules will add high-risk nonnative animals to the Prohibited list and clarify rule language by defining key terms. The rules also include provisions for people currently in personal or commercial possession of these species. All rule changes will become effective on May 2, 2019. The 90-day grace period will begin on May 2, 2019 and end on July 31, 2019. Have questions? Contact us at NonnativeSpeciesRules@MyFWC.com, or see New Nonnative Species Rules for more information.

Great Lakes Commission.
Aquatic invasive species inflict millions of dollars of ecological and economic damage to the Great Lakes, with impacts on coastal industries, water quality, native fish and wildlife and human health. Recently, Blue Accounting, in partnership with state and federal agencies, launched a new suite of web-based resources and tools to support early detection of aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes. The earlier new aquatic invasive species are detected, the easier and less expensive it is to avoid potentially devastating consequences of a large invasion. The new tools released by the Blue Accounting initiative help target efforts to focus on high-risk species and locations across the 11,000 miles of shoreline and 94,000 miles of surface area that make up the Great Lakes basin.

Government of British Columbia. Ministry of Agriculture.

Three Asian Hornets (Vespa mandarinia) were found in the Nanaimo area on Vancouver Island in mid-August. The identification has been confirmed by Canadian and international experts. This is the first time this insect has been found in British Columbia. Please report suspected Asian giant hornet sightings to the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia.