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
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 PROSEA, 2016
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
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
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 PROSEA, 2016; Zaret and Paine, 1973
Cichlasoma urophthalmum (Mayan cichlid)Released as unwanted ornamental fish and potentially released to create/augment sport fisheries Yes Yes PROSEA, 2016
Cinnamomum burmanni (padang cassia) Yes Yes Franck, 2012
Cissus quadrangularis (treebine)Commercialized as an ornamental and medicinal plant Yes Yes PROSEA, 2018
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 PROSEA, 2016
Hydrocharis morsus-ranae Yes Yes CWS, 2003
Hypostomus plecostomus (suckermouth catfish)Released ornamental fish Yes Yes Hoover et al., 2014; PROSEA, 2016
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 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
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
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 PROSEA, 2016
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
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 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 (creeping 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 PROSEA, 2016
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
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 PROSEA, 2016; PROSEA, 2016; 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
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
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 minima Yes Yes ISSG, 2006
Salvinia molesta (kariba weed) Yes Yes McFarland et al., 2004
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
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
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; PROSEA, 2016
Thelypteris opulenta (jewelled maiden fern)Ornamental Yes Yes
Thorichthys meeki (firemouth cichlid)Released ornamental fish Yes Yes Nico et al., 2014
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
Xiphophorus helleriiAustralia Yes Yes McKay, 1978
Xiphophorus maculatus (southern platyfish)Australia Yes Yes