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Home / Invasive Species Resources

Invasive Species Resources

Provides access to all site resources (alphabetically), with the option to search by species common and scientific names. Resources can be filtered by Subject, Resource Type, Location, or Source.

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USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Effective immediately, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is removing a portion of Harris County within the Braeswood area of Houston, Texas, from citrus canker regulations. The successful partnership between APHIS and the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) has resulted in a citrus canker-free status in this area since 2016.

On May 20, 2016, APHIS confirmed the positive identification of citrus canker in two adjacent sour orange trees in a city park in the Braeswood area of Houston, in Harris County, Texas. TDA removed and destroyed both positive citrus canker trees. TDA established an intrastate quarantine area for citrus canker that paralleled the federal citrus canker regulatory requirements specified in 7 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 301.75. APHIS completed a comprehensive delimiting survey around the area and found no additional citrus trees positive for citrus canker within the survey area. The removal of this quarantine area is reflected on the APHIS website, which also contains a description of all the current federal citrus canker quarantine areas.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is proposing changes to regulations regarding harmful or potentially harmful fish, shellfish and aquatic plants. The proposed changes significantly reorganize the existing rules to enhance accessibility, meet the changing needs of the regulated community, and address current and potential future threats posed by these exotic species. The proposed rules will be published in the Texas Register no later than Friday, Oct. 2. At that time, comments on the changes can be provided on the TPWD public comment page until Monday, Nov. 9. The TPW Commission will take public comment on the proposed changes at their meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 10 in Austin. Comments on the proposed changes also can be submitted to Ken Kurzawski at (512) 389-4591, email: ken.kurzawski@tpwd.texas.gov.

USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Effective immediately, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is issuing a Federal Order (Oct 14, 2021; PDF | 171 KB) that expands the existing imported fire ant (IFA) quarantine areas in North Carolina and Tennessee. APHIS is taking this action to prevent the interstate spread of IFA. APHIS is taking these actions based upon verification from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Division of Consumer and Industry Services that IFA is present and established in the areas listed. For additional information on the Federal IFA regulatory program, please contact the IFA National Policy Manager, Herbert Bolton, at (301) 851-3594 or herbert.bolton@usda.gov.

Duke University. Nicholas School of the Environment.

Coastal marshes that have been invaded by feral hogs recover from disturbances up to three times slower than non-invaded marshes and are far less resilient to sea-level rise, extreme drought and other impacts of climate change, a new study led by scientists at Duke University and the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMB) finds. "Under normal circumstances, marshes can handle and recover from drought or sea level rise, given time, but there is no safety net in place for hog invasions," said Brian Silliman, Rachel Carson Distinguished Professor of Marine Conservation Biology at Duke, who co-authored the study.

University of Texas at Austin.

The cactus moth has a wingspan of only about an inch, but this invasive insect has the potential to cause largescale agricultural and ecological devastation in Texas, according to the first study of cactus moths in Texas. Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin's Invasive Species Project based at Brackenridge Field Laboratory in Austin have found that four native species of prickly pear cactus — and the species that rely on them — face a serious health threat from the moth.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) received a report in late June that an invasive silver carp had been spotted in Choctaw Creek, a Texas tributary of the Red River approximately 15 miles downstream from Lake Texoma. "These are the first reports of silver carp from Texas waters, although they have previously been found in other areas of the Red River including just downstream from Lake Texoma in Oklahoma waters in 2019," said Dan Bennett, TPWD fisheries management biologist. "Invasive carp pose a significant risk to Lake Texoma’s ecosystem and boaters and there is adequate flow and upstream river area for them to become established and reproduce in the lake if introduced."

Anyone who catches either silver or bighead carp in Texas waters is asked to report the sighting with location information and photos to AquaticInvasives@tpwd.texas.gov. Silver and bighead carp are prohibited exotic species in Texas and must be killed upon possession by beheading, gutting, gill-cutting or other means or placed on ice. Neither species can be possessed live.

Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.

On August 27, an angler caught a northern snakehead from Reservoir Pond in Canton, Massachusetts. After obtaining and analyzing the specimen, MassWildlife confirmed this fish was a snakehead, an invasive species in Massachusetts. This fish was most likely released by a pet owner when it grew too large for its aquarium. Possession and liberation of snakeheads are both illegal in Massachusetts. Transferring exotic fish into local waterways can cause a host of problems, including competition with native species and spread of disease. This recent catch is the fifth confirmed snakehead documented in Massachusetts since 2002. All snakeheads found in Massachusetts were adults, and MassWildlife has found no evidence of reproduction at any of the locations where the snakeheads were caught.

Anglers may confuse snakeheads with other native species like bowfin. Anyone who captures a fish that can be confidently identified as a snakehead should keep the fish, kill it, and report it to MassWildlife by emailing mass.wildlife@mass.gov or calling (508) 389-6300. MassWildlife encourages anglers who are less certain about the species of fish they have caught to send photos showing various angles of the fish. Under no circumstance should a suspected snakehead be transported to another location until identification is confirmed.

Capital Press.

Idaho watercraft inspectors have identified zebra mussels on a commercially hauled sailboat destined for Lake Coeur d’Alene in the state’s northern panhandle, marking the first time the invasive species has been found live this year.

Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources.

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) today announced that it has identified two dead specimens of the spotted lanternfly (SLF) in Massachusetts communities, and is urging residents to report any sign of the invasive pest. The specimens were recovered in the towns of Milford and Norwood, and were brought into Massachusetts on materials shipped from Pennsylvania counties currently under a spotted lanternfly quarantine. Additionally, MDAR was recently notified that nursery stock with spotted lanternfly egg masses and adults may have been unintentionally imported and planted in several parts of Massachusetts.

MDAR is urging anyone who has received goods or materials, such as plants, landscaping materials, or outdoor furniture, from a state with a known SLF infestation to carefully check the materials, including any packaging, for signs of spotted lanternfly. Currently, there are known introductions of SLF in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. If any indication of SLF is found, residents should take a photo or collect the specimen, and report any potential sightings of the pest using MDAR’s online reporting form. Residents should look for large, gray insects, about one inch long, with black spots and red underwings, or inch-long, rectangular yellowish-brown egg masses covered with a gray waxy coating.

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has unveiled a new online reporting tool for people to report any sightings of feral swine or their damage to the agency. Feral swine, also called wild boar and feral hogs, are an invasive species that cause significant damage to plant communities and wildlife habitat, prey on native wildlife, compete with native species for limited food and clean water resources and potentially spread diseases that pose substantial risk to livestock, wildlife, humans and pets. Commission biologists, along with other members of the N.C. Feral Swine Task Force, are seeking information from the public to better understand the distribution and abundance of feral swine across the state, and to estimate type and extent of damages they are causing, including damage to agricultural crops, timber, wildlife habitats, landscaping and others.

Reported sightings will help members of the task force determine priority areas where they can focus management efforts. Education and outreach events, technical assistance staff, loaner traps, and other control measures will be focused in areas of greatest need. For more information on feral swine in North Carolina, visit the Commission’s feral swine web page.

Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources.

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) announced today that a single dead specimen of the invasive pest known as spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) was reported and confirmed at a private residence in Boston. As a result, MDAR is urging the public to check for signs of spotted lanternfly adults in any potted plants that they may have received over the holiday season and to report any potential sightings of this pest on MDAR's online reporting form by taking photographs and collecting a specimen if possible. Residents should look for large, gray insects, about one inch long, with black spots and red underwings.

Texas A&M University. AgriLife Extension Service.

USDA NIFA research investment in Texas A&M AgriLife leads to breakthrough in fighting agricultural plant diseases. Researchers have made a discovery that will help combat fastidious pathogens, which cost U.S. agriculture alone billions of dollars annually.

USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is announcing its plans for combatting the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) in New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio in 2020. "Just last year we declared eradication of ALB from Brooklyn and Queens in New York City, ending the city's 23-year-long battle with the beetle," said Osama El-Lissy, APHIS' Plant Protection and Quarantine Deputy Administrator. "This year, we've mapped out a sound strategy that will further our efforts to eliminate this pest from the remaining areas of this country where it still has a foothold."

Every year, APHIS evaluates and determines the most effective options to achieve ALB eradication. In 2020, the ALB program will focus on inspecting trees in quarantined areas in New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio, and removing infested trees at no cost to property owners. The program will not apply insecticide treatments this year. In addition, program officials will monitor for the beetle’s presence inside and around each area, respond to service calls, conduct training sessions for compliance agreement holders, and perform outreach.

USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is announcing its plans for combatting the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) in Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, and South Carolina in 2021. "Every year, APHIS evaluates and determines the most effective options to achieve ALB eradication," said Osama El-Lissy, APHIS' Plant Protection and Quarantine Deputy Administrator. "Complete eradication of this pest from the United States remains our goal, and our strategy this year will advance our efforts to eliminate this pest from where it is infesting trees."

In 2021, the ALB program will focus on inspecting trees in quarantined areas in Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, and South Carolina, and removing infested trees at no cost to property owners. The program will not apply insecticide treatments this year. Program officials will monitor for the beetle's presence inside and around each area, respond to calls for assistance, conduct training sessions for compliance agreement holders, and perform outreach.

USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) employees in Zapata, Webb, Hidalgo, Willacy and Cameron Counties in Texas are working with the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) to inspect fruit trees in residential yards and commercial properties for signs of invasive citrus pests and diseases. Inspectors are hanging and servicing traps with lures set to combat fruit flies in those counties, while surveyors in South Texas examine citrus trees for signs of citrus canker and other diseases. These programs are a collaborative effort with TDA and the citrus industry to protect Texas citrus. APHIS asks residents and business owners to help limit the spread of citrus pests and diseases by cooperating with survey teams and allowing them to access your property for survey work.

USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is working with the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) to combat the Mexican fruit fly (Anastrepha ludens) in Cameron and Willacy Counties in Texas. Following the detection of this pest in Cameron and Willacy Counties in January 2020, APHIS put quarantines in place to contain this fruit fly and is conducting surveys to find and treat infestations. Mexican fruit fly is one of the world's most destructive invasive pests, attacking more than 40 different kinds of fruits and vegetables. This invasive fruit fly does not harm humans or animals but it poses a serious threat to the Texas citrus industry.

APHIS needs the public's help to limit this invasive fruit fly's spread. We are asking residents living or working within Mexican fruit fly quarantine areas to cooperate with survey teams and give them access to your property. Surveyors will have official credentials identifying them as U.S. Department of Agriculture or TDA employees. With the residents' permission, they will inspect fruit trees on residential properties in quarantine zones and hang traps. If APHIS or TDA detect Mexican fruit flies, they will work with residents and business owners to eradicate the pest from infested properties.

If you live in the Lower Rio Grande Valley and think you might have Mexican fruit flies on your property, please call APHIS at 956-421-4041. With your help, we can protect local agriculture and stop the spread of this destructive pest.

eXtension.

If a fire ant colony is flooded during a rainstorm or other high-water situation, the ants cling together and form a living raft that floats on the flood waters. Once the raft hits dry ground or a tree, rock, or other dry object, the ants can leave the water.

Footage Shows Massive Colonies of Fire Ants Floating in Hurricane Florence Floodwaters (Sep 18, 2018)
AOL News.
Floodwaters will not drown fire ants. In the wake of Hurricane Florence, victims in the storm's path are being warned to avoid wading through dangerous floodwaters (in addition to other reasons and threats).

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

For the first time, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) biologists have confirmed the disease white-nose syndrome (WNS) in a Texas bat. Up until this point, while the fungus that causes the disease was previously detected in Texas in 2017, there were no signs of the disease it can cause. WNS has killed millions of hibernating bats in the eastern parts of the United States, raising national concern. WNS is a fungal disease only known to occur in bats and is not a risk to people. However, bats are wild animals and should not be handled by untrained individuals. The public is encouraged to report dead or sick bats to TPWD at nathan.fuller@tpwd.texas.gov for possible testing.