Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Pet trade (pathway cause)



Pet trade (pathway cause)


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

  • Pet trade (pathway cause)

Species Transported by Cause

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SpeciesNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Achatina fulica (giant African land snail)Intentional Yes Yes
Acridotheres tristis (common myna) Yes
Amatitlania nigrofasciata (convict cichlid) Yes Yes Lintermans, 2004; Magalhães and Jacobi, 2013
Ameiurus melas (black bullhead) Yes Yes
Ameiurus natalis Yes Welcomme, 1988
Amphiprion Yes Yes Tullock, 1998
Anolis cristatellus (Puerto Rican crested anole)Introduced into Florida Yes Krysko et al., 2011
Anolis extremus (Barbados anole)Possible for Florida, USA introduction Yes Bartlett and Bartlett, 1998
Anolis trinitatis (St Vincent bush anole)International Yes Krysko et al., 2011a
Aphanomyces astaci Yes Oidtmann et al., 2005
Astronotus ocellatus (oscar)Australia and USA Yes Yes ACTFR, 2014; USGS NAS, 2014
Avipoxvirus Yes Yes
Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) Yes Une et al., 2008
Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal)Trade of salamanders within countries and import of (Asian) salamanders to Europe and the Americas Yes Yes Lintermans, 2004
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
Boa imperator (Central American Boa) Yes Lintermans, 2004
Boiga irregularis (brown tree snake) Yes Yes
Cabomba caroliniana (Carolina fanwort) Yes Yes Les and Mehrhoff, 1999
Callosciurus erythraeus (Pallas's squirrel) Yes Dijkstra et al., 2009; Ono, 2001
Callosciurus finlaysonii (Finlayson's squirrel) Yes Yes Bertolino and Lurz, 2013; Yanagawa, 2000
Canis lupus familiaris (dogs) Yes
Carassius auratus auratus (goldfish) Yes FishBase, 2004
Carcinus maenas (European shore crab)low probability Yes Yes
Carijoa riisei (branched pipe coral) Yes Yes
Carpodacus mexicanus (house finch) Yes
Caulerpa racemosa var. cylindracea Yes Verlaque et al., 2003
Caulerpa taxifolia (killer algae) Yes Yes Meinesz, 2002
Cavia porcellus (domesticated guinea pig)Global; since 1550s C. porcellus has been transported and later bred as a pet Yes Morales, 1995
Ceratophyllum demersum (coontail) Yes Yes
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)Most popular channid species in the USA. Also popular in Japan and Europe Yes Yes Courtenay and Williams, 2004
Cherax destructor (yabby) Yes Yes Souty-Grosset et al., 2006
Cherax quadricarinatus (redclaw crayfish) Yes Yes Souty-Grosset et al., 2006
Chrysemys picta (painted turtle)Released via the pet trade in Spain, United Kingdom, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, and Ill Yes Kraus, 2009
Cichla ocellaris (peacock cichlid)A moderately popular aquarium species Yes Yes Seriously Fish, 2016
Cichlasoma urophthalmum (mayan cichlid)Released and/or escaped aquarium fish thought responsible for populations in Florida Yes Yes Schofield et al., 2016
Clea helena (assassin snail) Yes Ng et al., 2016b
Cochliomyia hominivorax (New World screwworm)Very low risk Yes Yes
Copsychus malabaricus (White-rumped Shama) Yes Yes Fan et al., 2009
Corbicula fluminea (Asian clam)C. fluminea reported as a decorative item for freshwater aquariums Yes Brancotte and Vincent, 2002
Cornu aspersum (common garden snail) Yes
Crassula helmsii (Australian swamp stonecrop) Yes Yes Lintermans, 2004
Cromileptes altivelis (humpback grouper) Yes Yes Lintermans, 2004; Sadovy et al., 2007
Ctenosaura similis (black spiny-tailed iguana)Florida resident brought 3 ctenosaurs back from Mexico as pets, but then released them on Gasparilla Yes Krysko et al., 2003
Cyprinella lutrensis (red shiner)Introduction into the Yadkin drainage, N. Carolina may have been aquarium release Yes Moore et al., 1976
Cyprinus carpio (common carp) Yes Yes Hanchet, 1990
Daphnia lumholtziHypothesized to have travelled to North America via shipment(s) of cichlids from Lake Victoria Yes Havel and Hebert, 1993
Dicrurus macrocercus Yes Yes BirdLife International, 2012; KFBG, 2004; Shepherd et al., 2004
Eichhornia azurea (anchored water hyacinth) Yes Stratford and Steve, 2001
Elodea canadensis (Canadian pondweed) Yes Yes
Elodea nuttallii (Nuttall's waterweed) Yes Bowmer et al., 1995
Felis catus (cat) Yes
Gambusia holbrooki (eastern mosquitofish) Yes
Garrulax canorus (Chinese hwamei)Popular caged birds in China Yes Li et al., 2006
Geophagus brasiliensis (pearl cichlid)Australia and USA Yes Yes Loiselle, 1980
Gracilaria tikvahiae (graceful red weed) Yes Yes Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, 2008
Gymnocoronis spilanthoides (Senegal tea plant)India to Australia Yes Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992
Hemichromis letourneuxi (African jewelfish)Released and/or escaped aquarium fish thought responsible for populations in Florida Yes Yes USGS, 2016
Hemidactylus frenatus (common house gecko)Accidental introductions Yes Meshaka et al., 1994; Krysko and Sheehy, 2005
Herichthys cyanoguttatus (Rio Grande cichlid)Ornamental fish Yes Yes Nico et al., 2015
Hydrilla verticillata (hydrilla) Yes Yes
Hydrocharis morsus-ranae Yes Yes Catling et al., 2003
Hygrophila polysperma (Indian swampweed) Yes Yes FNW Disseminules, 2007
Hypostomus plecostomus (suckermouth catfish)Popular ornamental fish worldwide Yes Yes Hoover et al., 2014
Iguana iguana (iguana) Yes
Isometrus maculatus (lesser brown scorpion)Potential for accidental release to new areas Yes Yes
Lagarosiphon major (African elodea) Yes Yes
Leiothrix lutea (red-billed leiothrix)Frequent escapee from cages/aviaries Yes Kawano et al., 2000
Lemna minuta Yes Armstrong, 2009
Lemna perpusilla (duckweed) Yes Yes Maki and Galatowitsch, 2004
Lepomis cyanellus (green sunfish)Introduced to Germany by aquarists Yes Soes et al., 2011
Lepomis gibbosus (pumpkinseed) Yes Yes
Lepomis gulosus (warmouth)See distribution table and list Yes Yes
Leucaspius delineatus (sunbleak) Yes
Leuciscus idus (ide) Yes
Limnocharis flava (yellow bur-head) Yes
Limnomysis benedeniUse as fodder animals or as ornamental animals Yes Yes Piepiorka and Walter, 2006; Rey et al., 2005; Wittmann and Ariani, 2009
Macaca fascicularis (crab-eating macaque) Yes Yes
Marisa cornuarietis (giant ramshorn) Yes Yes
Melanoides tuberculata (red-rimmed melania) Yes
Mephitis mephitis (striped skunk)Kept as pets in several European countries, can escape or be intentionally released Lintermans, 2004
Molothrus bonariensis (shiny cowbird) Yes Yes
Mustela furo (ferret) Yes Yes
Myiopsitta monachus (monk parakeet) Yes Yes
Myriophyllum aquaticum (parrot's feather) Yes Yes Gregory, 2003; Kay and Hoyle, 2001
Myriophyllum heterophyllum (broadleaf watermilfoil) Yes Yes Kay and Hoyle, 2001; Moody et al., 2008
Myriophyllum spicatum (spiked watermilfoil) Yes Yes
Nasua nasua (ring-tailed coati) Yes
Orconectes virilis (virile crayfish)Thought to be introduced into Europe through aquarium trade Yes Yes Ahern et al., 2008
Oreochromis aureus (blue tilapia)Accidental introduction Yes Yes Courtenay et al., 1984
Osteopilus septentrionalis (Cuban treefrog)A common species in the pet trade Yes Yes Lintermans, 2004
Pantherophis guttatus (corn snake)A once common pet trade species. Yes Enge, 1994
Perccottus glenii (Amur sleeper)In 1950s it appeared on the bird market in Moscow Yes Reshetnikov, 2004
Pethia conchonius Yes Yes Corfield et al., 2008
Phalloceros caudimaculatus (dusky millions fish)Australia Yes Yes Lintermans, 2004
Pimephales promelas (fathead minnow) Yes Yes USGS, 2012
Pistia stratiotes (water lettuce) Yes Yes Rivers, 2002
Plasmodium relictumTransport and accidental release of infected birds to new geographic areas Yes Moulton et al., 2001; Warner, 1968
Podarcis sicula (Italian wall lizard)Main cause of introduction in the USA - intentional release or escapes occur Yes Burke, 2010; Deichsel et al., 2010; Kolbe et al., 2013
Poecilia latipinna (sailfin molly)Popular ornamental fish translocated to many continents/countries Yes Yes Lintermans, 2004
Poecilia reticulata (guppy) Yes
Pomacea canaliculata (golden apple snail)Some instance reported but not major pathway globally. Probably release by aquarium owners Yes Yes
Pomacea maculataFrequency has never been quantified, but taxonomic confusion suggests it is not rare Yes Yes Karatayev et al., 2009; Martin et al., 2012
Pomoxis nigromaculatus (black crappie) Yes Welcomme, 1988
Potamogeton crispus (curlyleaf pondweed) Yes Yes Maki and Galatowitsch, 2004
Procambarus clarkii (red swamp crayfish) Yes
Procambarus fallax f. virginalis (Marmorkrebs)Europe/USA Yes Yes Chucholl, 2010; Faulkes, 2010
Procyon lotor (raccoon) Yes Ikeda et al., 2004
Pseudorasbora parva (topmouth gudgeon) Yes Yes Copp et al., 2005b
Psittacula krameri (rose-ringed parakeet) Yes Yes Lever, 2005; Low, 1992; Strubbe and Matthysen, 2009a
Psittacus erithacus (African grey parrot) Yes Yes Clemmons, 2003
Pterois volitans (lionfish)Indo-Pacific Yes Yes
Pycnonotus jocosus (Red-whiskered bulbul) Yes Yes National Audubon Society, 2017; Clergeau and Mandon-Dalger, 2001
Python bivittatus (Burmese python)Most individuals probably originally imported from SE Asia Yes Yes Auliya, 2003; Snow et al., 2007b
Quelea quelea (weaver bird)Some quelea birds have been transported for the pet trade in the past, but the advent of import rest Yes Yes Jaeger and Elliott, 1989
Rana catesbeiana (American bullfrog) Yes Yes
Rhodeus ocellatus ocellatus (rosy bitterling) Yes Yes
Rocio octofasciata (Jack Dempsey)All introduced populations are thought to be released ornamental fish Yes Yes Lintermans, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2014; Nico and Neilson, 2014
Salvinia auriculata (giant salvinia) Yes Yes ISSG, 2009
Salvinia minima Yes Yes ISSG, 2006
Streptopelia decaocto (Eurasian collared-dove)Accidental Yes Yes Smith, 1987
Tamias sibiricus (Siberian chipmunk)Most introduced populations in Europe are due to introductions by private owners Yes Armori and Gippoliti, 1995; Bertolino and Genovesi, 2005; de Keyser, 1983; Fernandez, 1995; Geinitz, 1980; Marmet and Chapuis, 2007; Münch, 2005; Verbeylen and Broeke, 2003
Thorichthys meeki (firemouth cichlid)Most introduced populations are thought to be released ornamental fish Yes Yes Nico et al., 2014
Tilapia zillii (redbelly tilapia)Accidental introduction Yes Yes Lintermans, 2004
Trachemys scripta elegans (red-eared slider) Yes Yes
Trichopodus trichopterus (three spot gourami)Popular ornamental fish translocated to many continents Yes Yes Lintermans, 2004
Trioceros jacksonii (Jackson’s chameleon)Intentionally released on Oahu, Maui, Hawaii and Lanai, Hawaii; in Morro Bay, San Luis Obisp Yes Lintermans, 2004; McKeown, 1996; McKeown, 1997; Vosjoli and Ferguson, 1995
Umbra pygmaea (eastern mudminnow)Imported from USA for aquariarists Yes Verreycken et al., 2010
Utricularia gibba Yes Webb et al., 1988
Vallisneria spiralis (eelweed) Yes Yes Hussner and Lösch, 2005
Varanus indicus (ambon lizard) Yes
Varanus niloticus (Nile monitor)A once common pet trade species Yes Enge et al., 2004
Xenopus laevis (African clawed frog) Yes Yes
Xiphophorus helleriiAustralia Yes Yes Lintermans, 2004
Xiphophorus maculatus (southern platyfish)Australia Yes Yes Lintermans, 2004
Zosterops japonicus (Japanese white-eye) Yes