Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Aircraft (pathway vector)



Aircraft (pathway vector)


  • Last modified
  • 12 June 2017
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Pathway Vector
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Aircraft (pathway vector)
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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Aircraft (pathway vector)

Species Transported by Vector

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SpeciesNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Achatina fulica (giant African land snail) Yes
Adiantum raddianum (delta maidenhair fern)whole plants Yes
Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed) Yes
Ambrosia trifida (giant ragweed) Yes
Ameiurus nebulosus (brown bullhead) Yes
Anastrepha fraterculus (South American fruit fly)Immatures in fruit Yes Yes
Anastrepha grandis (South American cucurbit fruit fly)Immatures in fruit Yes Yes
Anastrepha ludens (Mexican fruit fly)Immatures in fruit Yes Yes
Anastrepha obliqua (West Indian fruit fly)Immatures in fruit Yes Yes
Anastrepha serpentina (sapodilla fruit fly)Immatures in fruit Yes Yes
Anastrepha striata (guava fruit fly)Immatures in fruit Yes Yes
Anastrepha suspensa (Caribbean fruit fly)Immatures in fruit Yes Yes
Anomala sulcatula (chafer beetle)Detected on a plane bound to Hawaii in the 1950s. Possibly hitchhiked into Guam and Saipan on military planes Yes Suehiro (1960), Cartwright and Gordon (1971)
Anoplolepis gracilipes (yellow crazy ant) Yes
Aproceros leucopoda (elm zigzag sawfly) Yes Blank et al. (2010)
Aronia x prunifolia Yes
Arthraxon hispidus (small carpetgrass) Yes
Asparagus asparagoides (bridal creeper) Yes
Asparagus densiflorus (asparagus fern) Yes
Aspidiella hartii (yam scale)With the trade of rhizomes and tubers Yes DAFF (2013), Salerno et al. (2018)
Austrominius modestusOn flying boats or sea planes Yes Yes Barnes and Barnes (1961); Eno et al. (1997)
Axonopus fissifolius Yes
Bactrocera cucurbitae (melon fly)Most frequently eggs and larvae inside fruit Yes Yes
Bactrocera dorsalis (Oriental fruit fly)Fruits infested with larvae and/or eggs Yes
Bactrocera musae (banana fruit fly)10% of airline passengers in Papua New Guinea carry bananas Yes Putulan et al. (2004)
Bactrocera neohumeralisWith fruit cargo Yes
Bactrocera passiflorae (Fijian fruit fly)With fruit cargo Yes
Bactrocera tryoni (Queensland fruit fly)High frequency, larvae in host fruit Yes Baker and Cowley (1991)
Bactrocera zonata (peach fruit fly)Fruits infested with larvae and/or eggs Yes Yes
Boiga irregularis (brown tree snake) Yes
Brachypodium sylvaticum (slender false brome)Likely infrequent. Seeds were likely imported via airmail for USDA work Yes Hull AC Jr (1974); Rosenthal et al. (2008)
Bromelia pinguin (wild pineapple) Yes
Cabomba caroliniana (Carolina fanwort) Yes Yes
Carpobrotus edulis (hottentot fig) Yes
Ceratitis cosyra (mango fruit fly)Carrying cargo Yes
Ceratitis quinaria (five-spotted fruit fly)Host fruit carried in passenger luggage. Yes Yes
Chrysomya bezziana (Old World screw-worm)Adults Yes Rajapaksa and Spradbery (1989)
Citrus leprosis virus C (leprosis of citrus) Yes Yes
Cochliomyia hominivorax (New World screwworm)Low risk, but possible Yes Yes
Conium maculatum (poison hemlock) Yes
Coptotermes gestroi (Asian subterranean termite)Alates, larvae or nymphs in woodens storage boxes Yes Yes Scheffrahn and Su (2000)
Cordyline fruticosa (ti plant) Yes
Cornu aspersum (common garden snail) Yes
Cosmos caudatus (wild cosmos) Yes
Cosmos sulphureus (sulphur cosmos) Yes
Cotton leaf curl disease complex (leaf curl disease of cotton) Yes
Cotton leaf curl Gezira virus Yes
Cowpea mild mottle virus (angular mosaic of beans)
Crassostrea virginica (eastern oyster) Yes
Cromileptes altivelis (humpback grouper)Juveniles and adults Yes APEC/SEAFDEC (2001); Ou et al. (1999)
Culex quinquefasciatus (southern house mosquito)Adult Yes Yes Gratz et al. (2000)
Cuscuta campestris (field dodder) Yes
Cuscuta japonica (Japanese dodder) Yes
Cyathea cooperi (australian tree fern)The plant is distributed in the horticultural trade Yes Jones (1987)
Cydalima perspectalis (box tree moth)Transportation of Buxus spp. Yes Leuthardt et al. (2010)
Dactylosternum hydrophiloidesNot specified but it has been purposely introduced to various countries as a biological control Yes Hansen (1995), Lenteren et al. (2020)
Dacus ciliatus (lesser pumpkin fly)infested fruit Yes
Digitaria insularis (sourgrass) Yes
Discus rotundatus (rotund disc)Not explicitly mentioned in literature, but likely based on the species’ biology Yes
Drosophila suzukii (spotted wing drosophila) Yes
Echinochloa pyramidalis Yes
Epidendrum radicans (crucifix orchid) Yes Tropical World Nursery (2016)
Erionota thrax (banana skipper) Yes
Erionota torus (banana skipper)Adults attracted to lights when aircraft are loaded at night are likely to be rare hitchhikers Yes Cock (2015)
Eucheuma spp.Live vegetative stage Yes
Euonymus japonicus (Japanese spindle tree) Yes
Euphorbia hypericifolia (graceful spurge) Yes
Frankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips)Commonly infests cut flowers that are shipped by air. Yes Nickle (2003); Vierbergen (1995)
Halyomorpha halys (brown marmorated stink bug)Accidentally transported by aircraft. Yes Yes
Harmonia axyridis (harlequin ladybird) Yes
Hedychium coccineum (scarlet ginger lily)Ornamental trade Yes Branney (2005); Dave's Garden (2014)
Helenium amarum (bitterweed) Yes Csurhes and Zhou (2016)
Helicoverpa zea (bollworm) Yes Yes
Heracleum mantegazzianum (giant hogweed)Interception at ports of entry Yes Fowler (1998); Westbrooks (1991)
Heterodera glycines (soybean cyst nematode) Yes Yes
Heterotis niloticus (African bonytongue) Yes
Homarus americanus (American lobster) Yes van der Meeren et al. (2010)
Ictalurus punctatus (channel catfish) Yes Yes
Imperata cylindrica (cogon grass) Yes
Indigofera suffruticosa (Anil indigo) Yes
Jatropha gossypiifolia (bellyache bush)Seed Yes
Lagarosiphon major (African elodea)seaplanes, float planes Yes McGregor and Gourlay (2002)
Leucanthemum vulgare (oxeye daisy) Yes
Limax maximus (leopard slug)Uncommon Yes Yes
Linaria vulgaris (common toadflax)Rare Yes
Liriomyza sativae (vegetable leaf miner) Yes
Litopenaeus vannamei (whiteleg shrimp)All stages from live broodstock, to larvae and adults Yes Yes Briggs et al. (2004)
Lycorma delicatula (spotted lanternfly)Aircraft have accidentally transported Yes Yes
Lythrum maritimum (pukamole)Seeds can be transported on helicopters deploying to remote areas Yes Yes Anderson et al. (1992)
Maconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug)eggs, larvae, nymphs, pupae and adults on infested live plant material; and larvae on people Yes Yes Harman (in press)
Meloidogyne enterolobii (Pacara earpod tree root-knot nematode)Rare, eggs, J2 and females Yes
Mesosphaerum pectinatum (comb bushmint)Seed Yes
Micropterus salmoides (largemouth bass) Yes
Mikania micrantha (bitter vine) Yes
Mimosa pudica (sensitive plant) Yes Yes
Mononychellus tanajoa (cassava green mite)Egg, crawlers/adults, rare pathway Yes
Mus musculus (house mouse) Yes
Neyraudia reynaudiana (burma reed) Yes Hill (1976)
Notropis stramineus Yes USGS (2012)
Odontesthes bonariensis (pejerrey)Eggs and fry Yes Reartes (1995)
Oncorhynchus tshawytscha (chinook salmon)Stocked in rivers yearly as juveniles Yes Yes Leitritz and Lewis (1976); Piper et al. (1982)
Opogona sacchari (banana moth) Yes
Oracella acuta (loblolly pine mealybug)Rare, all stages on transported host material Yes Sun et al. (1996)
Paralithodes camtschaticus (red king crab)Specimens were released into the Kolafjord (Barents Sea) to create a fishing resource (1961-1969) Yes Orlov and Ivanov (1978); Orlov and Karpevich (1965)
Pectobacterium brasiliense (soft rot and blackleg of ornamentals and potato) Yes
Penaeus monodon (giant tiger prawn)All stages from live broodstock, larvae and adults to frozen and prepared adult product Yes Yes Shrimp News (2007)
Persicaria wallichii (Himalayan knotweed) Yes
Phenacoccus solenopsis (cotton mealybug) Yes Arif et al. (2012)
Phragmites australis (common reed) Yes
Phthorimaea absoluta (tomato leafminer)Phthorimaea absoluta was accidentally introduced by airfreight transport of fresh fruit tomato from Chile to Spain Yes Guillemaud et al. (2015)
Physalis peruviana (Cape gooseberry) Yes
Plantago coronopus (Buck's-horn plantain) Yes
Plasmodium relictumAircraft can transport infected mosquitoes, but this has not yet been demonstrated for P. relictum. Yes Joyce (1961); Kilpatrick et al. (2004); LaPointe (2007)
Pomacea canaliculata (golden apple snail) Yes
Potamogeton crispus (curlyleaf pondweed)Vegtative hitchiker on sea planes Yes Yes
Procambarus fallax f. virginalis (Marmorkrebs) Yes
Pseudelephantopus spicatus (false elephant’s foot) Yes Ward (1975)
Pseudococcus viburni (obscure mealybug)Occasional, females on fresh cut plant material and fruits Yes
Psittacus erithacus (African grey parrot) Yes Yes CITES (2005)
Rattus rattus (black rat) Yes
Rivina humilis (bloodberry) Yes
Salvinia minima Yes Yes
Sepedomerus macropus (liverfluke snail predator fly) Yes Davis (1959); Davis (1960)
Sepedon aenescens (snail-killing fly)Eggs Yes Knutson and Orth (1984)
Setaria palmifolia (palm grass) Yes
Sorghum halepense (Johnson grass) Yes
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm)potential pathway Yes Cock et al. (2017)
Spodoptera litura (taro caterpillar)eggs, larvae, pupae Yes
Striga asiatica (witch weed) Yes
Tapinoma melanocephalum (ghost ant)Observed with produce on aircraft Yes Yes Harris et al. (2005)
Thaumastocoris peregrinus (bronze bug)All life stages but mainly nymphs and adults Yes Garcia et al. (2013); Nadel et al. (2010); Sopow and George (2012); Wilcken et al. (2010)
Tibouchina herbacea (cane tibouchina)Possibly more frequent at helicopter landing sites (C. Buddenhagen, personal communication, 2013) Yes Yes
Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (leaf curl) Yes Caciagli (2007)
Tricellaria inopinataAdult colonies Yes Yes
Trioceros jacksonii (Jackson’s chameleon)Occasionallly transported via the pet trade Yes Kraus et al. (2012); McKeown (1996); McKeown (1997)
Ventenata dubia (North Africa grass)Infrequent when seeds are present, back country air landing strips Yes
Vespa velutina (Asian hornet)In boxes Yes Yes
Xanthomonas citri (citrus canker)rare Yes