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
Bacopa monnieri (water hyssop)Bacopa monnieri is a very popular aquatic plant for use in aquaria Yes Yes PROSEA (2017)
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 Martel et al. (2014)
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)
Bipolaris victoriae (Victoria blight of oats) Yes Yes
Boa imperator (Central American Boa) Yes Dalrymple (1994); Snow et al. (2007); Reynolds et al. (2013)
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)
Coptotermes gestroi (Asian subterranean termite)May be present in any wooden structures used for transportation Yes Yes
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 OEPP/EPPO (2007)
Cromileptes altivelis (humpback grouper) Yes Yes Sadovy (2000); 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 Bowmer et al.; 1995
Elodea nuttallii (Nuttall's waterweed) Yes Bowmer et al. (1995)
Faxonius virilis (virile crayfish)Thought to be introduced into Europe through aquarium trade Yes Yes Ahern et al. (2008)
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
Lampropeltis californiae (California kingsnake) Yes Yes Mateo et al. (2011); Cabrera-Pérez et al. (2012)
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 Wilson (2011)
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
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 IUCN (2017)
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); Rixon et al. (2005)
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 eupatria (Alexandrine parakeet)Near 58,000 individuals traded between 1981 and 2014 Yes Ancillotto et al. (2016)
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 Hogg (1976)
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 Kraus et al. (2012); 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