Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Intentional release (pathway cause)



Intentional release (pathway cause)


  • Last modified
  • 12 June 2017
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Pathway Cause
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Intentional release (pathway cause)
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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Intentional release (pathway cause)

Species Transported by Cause

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SpeciesNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Abelmoschus moschatus (musk mallow)Cultivated for its seeds (oil extraction) and as ornamental Yes Yes PROSEA (2016)
Acer rufinerve (grey snake-bark maple)Planted as an ornamental Yes Yes
Achillea millefolium (yarrow)Intentionally introduced in Australia and New Zealand. Yes Yes Bourdot et al. (1979); Sanecki et al. (2003)
Albizia lebbeck (Indian siris)Widely introduced in agroforestry sysyems Yes Yes PROTA (2016)
Alburnus alburnus (bleak) Yes Welcomme (1988)
Allamanda blanchetii (purple allamanda)Cultivated as an ornamental Yes Yes USDA-ARS (2019)
Alosa pseudoharengus (alewife)Within the USA Yes Yes
Amatitlania nigrofasciata (convict cichlid) Yes Yes Lintermans (2004)
Ambloplites rupestris (rock bass) Yes Yes
Ameiurus melas (black bullhead) Yes Yes
Ameiurus natalis Yes Welcomme (1988)
Ameiurus nebulosus (brown bullhead) Yes
Angiopteris evecta (king fern)Horticulture Yes Yes Christenhusz and Toivonen (2008)
Anolis extremus (Barbados anole)First introduction to Trinidad for research Yes Boos (1967)
Apis mellifera scutellata (africanized bee)From South Africa & Tanzania to Brazil ,to aid honey bee production in Brazil Yes Piereira and Chaud-Netto (2005)
Aquila chrysaetos (golden eagle)Actual or putative conservation management Yes Yes Katzner et al. (2012); Scottish Natural Heritage (2009); Wheeler (2014)
Astronotus ocellatus (oscar)Australia and USA Yes Yes ACTFR (2014); USGS NAS (2014)
Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) Yes Yes Walker et al. (2008)
Belonesox belizanus (pike killifish)The population recorded in the San Antonio area of Texas was likely the result of released ornamenta Yes Yes Howells (1992); USGS (2015)
Bidens pilosa (blackjack)Introduced for ornamental and agricultural purposes and as medicinal herb Yes Yes Sankaran and Suresh (2013)
Boa imperator (Central American Boa)One instance was as part of the making of a film Yes López-González (1991); Martínez-Morales and Cuarón (1999); Dalrymple (1994); Snow et al. (2007)
Brachypodium sylvaticum (slender false brome)USA: 1970s but likely earlier too Yes Hull AC Jr (1974)
Bromus hordeaceus (soft brome) Yes USDA-NRCS (2005)
Cabomba caroliniana (Carolina fanwort) Yes Yes Mackey (1996)
Canis latrans (Coyote)In Florida and Georgia Yes Yes Bekoff (1977)
Carassius cuvieri (Japanese crucian carp)Released for good luck by Buddists, this practice has been discouraged Yes Jang et al. (2002)
Carpobrotus edulis (hottentot fig) Yes Yes
Cascabela thevetia (yellow oleander)Widely cultivated as ornamental Yes Yes USDA-ARS (2020)
Caulerpa taxifolia (killer algae)Home aquarium contents Yes Yes Meinesz (2002)
Cenchrus ciliaris (Buffel grass) Yes Yes Marshall et al. (2012)
Cervus canadensis (wapiti)Released in Fiordland, New Zealand by tourism department Yes Yes Miers (1966)
Cervus elaphus (red deer) Yes Yes
Cervus nippon (sika)In various parts of North America and Europe Yes McCullough et al. (2009b)
Channa argus argus (northern snakehead) Yes Yes Courtenay and Williams (2004)
Channa marulius (bullseye snakehead) Yes Yes Courtenay and Williams (2004); Froese and Pauly (2009)
Channa micropeltes (giant snakehead)Several US states Yes Yes Courtenay and Williams (2004)
Chloris gayana (Rhodes grass)One of the most popular grasses for rotation pastures Yes Yes FAO (2014)
Chrysemys picta (painted turtle)Intentionally released in Malta, United Kingdom, and California Yes Kraus (2009)
Cichla ocellaris (peacock cichlid)As sports-fish and for ornamental and aquaculture purposes Yes Yes Shafland (1999); Zaret and Paine (1973)
Cichlasoma urophthalmum (Mayan cichlid)Released as unwanted ornamental fish and potentially released to create/augment sport fisheries Yes Yes Global Invasive Species Database (GISD) (2016)
Cinnamomum burmanni (padang cassia) Yes Yes Franck (2012)
Cissus quadrangularis (treebine)Commercialized as an ornamental and medicinal plant Yes Yes PROSEA (2018)
Clerodendrum paniculatum (pagoda flower)Popular ornamental plant Yes Yes USDA-ARS (2020)
Cochliomyia hominivorax (New World screwworm)Low risk Yes Yes
Copsychus malabaricus (White-rumped Shama) Yes Pyle and Pyle (2009); Roberts et al. (1998)
Coregonus albula (vendace) Yes
Crassostrea virginica (eastern oyster) Yes Yes
Ctenosaura similis (black spiny-tailed iguana)Intentionally transported and released in new places in Florida Yes Krysko et al. (2003)
Curtobacterium flaccumfaciens pv. flaccumfaciens (bacterial wilt of dry beans) Yes Yes
Cuscuta japonica (Japanese dodder)For medicinal purposes Yes Tidwell (2008)
Cygnus olor (mute swan) Yes
Cyprinus carpio (common carp) Yes Yes Roberts and Ebner (1997)
Derris elliptica (tuba root)Introduced and cultivated for its roots Yes Yes Orwa et al. (2009)
Dichanthium annulatum (Kleberg's bluestem)Widely cultivated pasture Yes Yes FAO (2014)
Dimorphotheca sinuata (Cape marigold)Popular ornamental plant due to attractive flowers Yes Yes USDA-ARS (2020)
Dioscorea bulbifera (air potato)Intentional introduction for cultivation (crop production) Yes Yes Hammer (1998)
Dolichandra unguis-cati (cat's claw creeper)Widely planted as ornamental in gardens Yes Yes USDA-ARS (2016)
Dracaena fragrans (corn plant)Planted for hedges living fences and windbreaks Yes Yes PROTA (2020)
Dysphania ambrosioides (Mexican tea)Frequently grown as garden plants in the tropics. Yes Yes Prota4U (2013)
Erinaceus europaeus (European hedgehog) Yes Yes
Eriobotrya japonica (loquat)Widely commercialized as ornamental/shade tree/hedge tree/edible fruit Yes Yes Orwa et al. (2009)
Esox lucius (pike)See distribution table and list Yes Yes
Euphorbia milii (crown-of-thorns)Popular ornamental Yes Yes USDA-ARS (2020)
Fallopia sachalinensis (giant knotweed)It is planted as a crop in Germany for the production of Milsana Yes
Felis catus (cat) Yes
Ficus benghalensis (banyan)Widely cultivated in the tropics and naturalized in almost every wet tropical habitat Yes Yes Starr et al. (2003)
Galphimia glauca (goldshower)Cultivated and commercialized as an ornamental Yes Yes Floridata (2015)
Gambusia holbrooki (eastern mosquitofish)For mosquito control Yes
Gammarus tigrinusSemi-intentional release in the Netherlands Yes Yes Nijssen and Stock (1966)
Garcinia dulcis (yellow mangosteen)Cultivated for its fruits Yes Yes Jansen (1991)
Geophagus brasiliensis (pearl cichlid)In Australia and USA Yes Yes Beatty et al. (2013)
Haematoxylum campechianum (logwood)Seeds and cuttings are planted to exploit its wood Yes Yes Gurib-Fakim (2005)
Harmonia axyridis (harlequin ladybird)Used worldwide as biocontrol agent Yes Yes Brown et al. (2008a); Koch et al. (2006)
Hedychium gardnerianum (kahili ginger) Yes Yes
Helianthus debilis (beach sunflower)Cultivated as an ornamental Yes Yes Gilman and Park-Brown (1999)
Hemichromis letourneuxi (African jewelfish)Released and/or escaped aquarium fish thought responsible for populations in Florida Yes Yes USGS (2016)
Hemigraphis alternata (red ivy)Widely commercialized as ornamental Yes Yes USDA-ARS (2016)
Hemimysis anomala Yes Gasiunas (1964); Grigorovich et al. (2002); Zhuravel (1960)
Herichthys cyanoguttatus (Rio Grande cichlid)Release by fish hobbyists Yes Yes Nico et al. (2015)
Homarus americanus (American lobster) Yes Kittaka (1984)
Hydrocharis morsus-ranae Yes Yes CWS (2003)
Hypostomus plecostomus (suckermouth catfish)Released ornamental fish Yes Yes Hoover et al. (2014); Texas Parks and Wildlife (2012)
Ictalurus punctatus (channel catfish) Yes Yes
Impatiens glandulifera (Himalayan balsam)by bee-keepers, etc. Yes Hartmann et al. (1995); Rotherham (2001)
Impatiens walleriana (busy lizzy)Extensively cultivated as ornamental Yes Yes Adamowski (2008)
Inga punctata (ice cream bean tree) Yes Yes González-Oliva (2015)
Ipomoea cairica (five-fingered morning glory)Grown as a garden ornamental Yes Yes USDA-ARS (2020)
Ipomoea carnea subsp. fistulosa (bush morning glory)Often cultivated as ornamental Yes Yes USDA-ARS (2017)
Ipomoea indica (ocean blue morning-glory)Widely cultivated as ornamental Yes Yes USDA-ARS (2017)
Ipomoea purpurea (tall morning glory)Often planted as ornamental for its colorful flowers Yes Yes USDA-ARS (2014)
Ipomoea quamoclit (cypress vine)Widely cultivated as an ornamental Yes Yes USDA-NRCS (2018)
Ixora casei (giant red ixora)Ornamental, hedge plant Yes Yes Keeler et al. (2003)
Juncus ensifolius (swordleaf rush)Deliberately introduced in wetland restoration and artificial ponds Yes Adamus and Holzhauser (2006); Woosaree (2000)
Lagarosiphon major (African elodea) Yes Yes Cronk and Fuller (1995)
Lagenaria siceraria (bottle gourd)One of the oldest cultivated crops. Widely grown for its fruits Yes Yes Erickson et al. (2005)
Lampropeltis californiae (California kingsnake)Possibly intentional release of animals bred in captivity Yes Mateo et al. (2011); Cabrera-Pérez et al. (2012)
Lates niloticus (Nile perch) Yes Yes Pringle (2005)
Leiothrix lutea (red-billed leiothrix)Intentionally released in the Hawaiian Islands Yes Ralph et al. (1998)
Lemna aequinoctialis (lesser duckweed)In small ponds for sewage management and for fish food Yes Yes
Lepomis cyanellus (green sunfish)Release as live baitfish probably increased distribution in N. American Great Lakes basin Yes Yes Litvak and Mandrak (1999); Mills et al. (1993)
Lepomis gibbosus (pumpkinseed) Yes Yes Lever (1977)
Lepomis gulosus (warmouth)See distribution table and list Yes Yes
Leucanthemum vulgare (oxeye daisy)For ornamental or medicinal purposes Yes Yes
Leuciscus leuciscus (common dace) Yes
Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush)Popular ornamental Yes Yes USDA-ARS (2020)
Limnomysis benedeniIn continental waters of eastern Europe to enrich food supply for fish, mostly in the 1950s-1960s. Yes Yes Aladin et al. (2003); Grigorovich et al. (2002); Ioffe (1968)
Littorina littorea (common periwinkle)Hypothesis Yes San Francisco Estuary Partnership (2009); Steneck and Carlton (2001)
Livistona chinensis (Chinese fan palm)Ornamental palm Yes Yes Meyer et al. (2008)
Ludwigia grandiflora (water primrose) Yes Yes Dandelot et al. (2005); Okada et al. (2009)
Ludwigia palustris (marsh seedbox)Aquatic ornamental, aquarium plant Yes Yes USDA-NRCS (2020)
Ludwigia peploides (water primrose) Yes Yes Dandelot et al. (2005)
Lumbricus rubellus Yes Yes
Lumbricus terrestris Yes Yes
Maranta arundinacea (arrowroot)Cultivated for its roots Yes Yes PROSEA (2018)
Martynia annua (tiger's claw)Grown in botanical gardens Yes Parsons and Cuthbertson (2001)
Merremia aegyptia (hairy woodrose)main spread through intentional release as an ornamental Yes Yes Smith (2002)
Microlaena stipoides (meadow rice grass, meadow ricegrass)see Agriculture Yes Yes
Micropterus dolomieu (smallmouth bass) Yes Yes
Micropterus salmoides (largemouth bass) Yes
Mimosa diplotricha (giant sensitive plant) Yes Yes DAF (2016); Parsons and Cuthbertson (1992)
Mimosa pudica (sensitive plant) Yes Yes
Monopterus albus (Asian swamp eel)Presence in Florida and Georgia most likely due to aquarium release (or fish farm escape in Florida) Yes Fuller et al. (2011)
Mussaenda erythrophylla (red flag bush)Widely commercialized as ornamental Yes Yes Ogbu (2011)
Mussaenda philippica (Queen of Philippines)Widely commercialized as an ornamental Yes Yes Alejandro et al. (2016)
Mustela furo (ferret)Sometimes done to control rabbits Yes Yes
Myiopsitta monachus (monk parakeet) Yes
Myriophyllum aquaticum (parrot's feather) Yes
Myriophyllum pinnatum (cutleaf watermilfoil)recommended to be used in sewage treatment systems Yes Mohan et al. (2010)
Nasua narica (white-nosed coati)Possible prehistoric introduction to Cozumel Island, Mexico Yes
Nasua nasua (ring-tailed coati) Yes
Neomarica caerulea (walking iris)Planted in parks and gardens Yes Yes
Neovison vison (American mink) Yes
Nopalea cochenillifera (cochineal cactus)Introduced as an ornamental, a host of the cochineal insect, a vegetable and a fodder/forage species Yes Yes Encyclopedia of Life (2017)
Nymphoides peltata (yellow floating-heart) Yes Hallstan (2005)
Ocimum gratissimum (African basil)Cultivated for the essential oil extracted from leaves and stems Yes Yes Orwa et al. (2009)
Oncorhynchus mykiss (rainbow trout) Yes Yes
Oreochromis aureus (blue tilapia)Deliberate introduction. Please see distribution table and list for additional details Yes Yes Froese and Pauly (2015)
Oreochromis mossambicus (Mozambique tilapia)For aquatic plant control Yes Yes Nico (2011)
Oreochromis niloticus (Nile tilapia)Wide spread intentional introduction Yes Yes Canonico et al. (2005)
Oryctolagus cuniculus (rabbits) Yes
Pacifastacus leniusculus (American signal crayfish)Illegal Yes Johnsen and Taugbøl (2010)
Paralithodes camtschaticus (red king crab)From Eastern Russia (Kamtschatca) to Western Russia (Kola Bay in the Barents Sea) Yes Orlov and Ivanov (1978); Orlov and Karpevich (1965)
Paspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass)Cultivated as forage and cut-and-carry systems and lawn grass Yes Yes Manidool (1992)
Paspalum dilatatum (dallisgrass)widely introduced as forage/fodder for livestock Yes Yes PROTA (2017); Tropical Forages (2017)
Pennisetum purpureum (elephant grass)Widely introduced in wet tropics Yes Yes FAO (2013)
Pentas lanceolata (Egyptian starcluster)Widely cultivated and very popular among horticulturalists. Intentionally introduced as ornamental Yes Yes PIER (2018)
Perna viridis (Asian green mussel) Yes
Pethia conchonius Yes Yes Allen (1989); Beatty et al. (2006); Corfield et al. (2008); McKay (1984)
Phalloceros caudimaculatus (dusky millions fish) Yes Yes Lintermans (2004); Maddern (2007b); McDowall (1999)
Phasianus colchicus (common pheasant)Deliberate introduction as gamebird from Asia to Europe, N. America, Chile, Australia & New Zealand Yes Yes
Phoxinus phoxinus (European minnow) Yes
Pistia stratiotes (water lettuce) Yes Yes Gherardi (2007)
Plasmodium relictumRelease of infected passerines to repopulate decimated native avifauna Yes Warner (1968)
Plumeria rubra (red frangipani)Popular ornamental tree Yes Yes Criley (2005)
Podarcis sicula (Italian wall lizard)Only in USA populations are lizards released into gardens Yes Burke (2010); Deichsel et al. (2010)
Poecilia latipinna (sailfin molly) Yes Yes Magalhães and Jacobi (2008)
Poecilia reticulata (guppy) Yes Welcomme (1988)
Polyscias balfouriana (Balfour aralia)Cultivated as a landscape ornamental and indoor potted plant Yes Yes Lowry and Plunkett (2010)
Polyscias fruticosa (ming aralia)Ornamental and hedge plant Yes Yes Useful Tropical Plants (2020)
Polyscias guilfoylei (geranium aralia)Popular ornamental plant Yes Yes USDA-ARS (2020)
Pomacea canaliculata (golden apple snail)Released into rice paddies and taro fields to provide human food Yes
Pomacea maculataTied to aquarium trade Yes Yes Karatayev et al. (2009); Martin et al. (2012)
Pontogammarus robustoidesIn waterreservoirs and lakes as fish-food Yes Yes Arbaciauskas et al. (2010); Grabowski (2011); Jazdzewski et al. (1972)
Procambarus fallax f. virginalis (Marmorkrebs)Aquarium discards Yes Souty-Grosset et al. (2006)
Procyon lotor (raccoon) Yes Aliev and Sanderson (1966)
Pseudorasbora parva (topmouth gudgeon) Yes Yes Copp et al. (2005a)
Psittacula krameri (rose-ringed parakeet) Yes Strubbe and Matthysen (2009a)
Pterocarpus macrocarpus (Burma padauk)Ornamental, shade tree, timber plantation Yes Yes USDA-ARS (2017)
Pterois volitans (lionfish)People releasing their pet fish when they become too big for their tanks Yes NOAA (2004)
Rana catesbeiana (American bullfrog) Yes Yes
Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac) Yes Yes
Rocio octofasciata (Jack Dempsey)Released ornamental fish Yes Yes Lintermans (2004); Froese and Pauly (2014); Nico and Neilson (2014)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)Root-stock, and planted as a hedge and for conservation Yes Yes Munger (2002)
Ruditapes philippinarum (Japanese carpet shell) Yes FAO (2009)
Salvelinus fontinalis (brook trout) Yes Yes
Salvelinus namaycush (lake trout)Released as a sport fish Yes
Salvinia auriculata (giant salvinia) Yes Yes ISSG (2009)
Salvinia biloba (giant salvinia)Possible, as its used is suggested for the bioremediation of contaminated waters Yes Freitas et al. (2018); Castillo Loría et al. (2019)
Salvinia minima Yes Yes ISSG (2006)
Salvinia molesta (kariba weed) Yes Yes McFarland et al. (2004)
Sambucus canadensis (American black elderberry)Cultivated for its fruits and as an ornamental Yes Yes Charlebois et al. (2010)
Sander lucioperca (pike-perch) Yes Yes
Sander vitreus (walleye)See distribution table and list Yes Yes
Sciurus aberti (Abert's squirrel)Frequent occurrence in 1900’s Yes Yes Davis and Brown (1988)
Sciurus niger (fox squirrel) Yes Yes Flyger and Gates (1982); Long (2003)
Sechium edule (chayote)Cultivated for its fruits, tubers, seeds and young shoots. Also as honey-producing plant Yes Yes PROSEA (2018)
Senna aculeata (senna)Cultivated as ornamental and for medicinal uses Yes Yes Castellanos and Lewis (2012)
Senna italica (Senegal senna)Cultivated for its leaves, flowers and seeds Yes Yes Okeyo and Bosch (2007)
Sesbania bispinosa (dunchi fibre)Planted for soil improvement, green manure and for products such as fibres and gum Yes Yes PROTA (2016)
Sorghum halepense (Johnson grass) Yes Yes
Spartium junceum (Spanish broom)Planted along roadsides for revegetation after fires Yes Yes Zouhar (2005)
Sphagneticola trilobata (wedelia) Yes Yes
Spiraea chamaedryfolia (germander meadowsweet) Yes Yes
Spirodela polyrrhiza (giant duckweed)Used for bioremediation of contaminated water Yes Yes Les (2020)
Squalius cephalus (European chub) Yes
Sterculia apetala (Panama tree)Used for soil conservation and erosion control Yes Rodríguez-Vargas (2007)
Tamias sibiricus (Siberian chipmunk)Cause of the majority of introduced populations in Europe Yes Chapuis (2005)
Theba pisana (white garden snail) Yes Barrett (1972); Taylor (1906-1914)
Thelypteris opulenta (jewelled maiden fern)Ornamental Yes Yes
Thorichthys meeki (firemouth cichlid)Released ornamental fish Yes Yes Nico et al. (2014)
Thunbergia erecta (bush clockvine)Cultivated as an ornamental Yes Yes Gilman (1999)
Tilapia zillii (redbelly tilapia)Deliberate introduction Yes Yes Froese and Pauly (2014)
Tinca tinca (tench) Yes Yes Nico and Fuller (2011)
Toxicodendron succedaneum (wax tree)Intentionally introduced as ornamental Yes Yes Weeds of Australia (2016)
Trachemys scripta elegans (red-eared slider) Yes
Trapa natans (waterchestnut) Yes Yes Les and Mehrhoff (1999)
Trioceros jacksonii (Jackson’s chameleon)Intentionally released in Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo County; Redondo Beach, Los Angeles County; and Yes McKeown (1997); Vosjoli and Ferguson (1995)
Vitex agnus-castus (chaste tree)Often cultivated as an ornamental Yes Yes USDA-ARS (2020)
Xiphophorus helleriiAustralia Yes Yes McKay (1978)
Xiphophorus maculatus (southern platyfish)Australia Yes Yes
Yucca gigantea (spineless yucca)Popular indoor and outdoor ornamental Yes Yes Smith and Figueiredo (2016)