Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Perna viridis
(Asian green mussel)



Perna viridis (Asian green mussel)


  • Last modified
  • 20 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Animal
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Perna viridis
  • Preferred Common Name
  • Asian green mussel
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Mollusca
  •       Class: Bivalvia
  •         Subclass: Pteriomorphia
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • P. viridis has been recognised as an invasive species since its introduction out of its native range around the world through ship ballast and hull fouling, mainly into the Caribbean and western Atlantic. This sp...

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Green mussel culture on nibong (Balanocarpus heimi) poles in Malaysia.
TitleGreen mussel culture
CaptionGreen mussel culture on nibong (Balanocarpus heimi) poles in Malaysia.
CopyrightDevakie M. Nair
Green mussel culture on nibong (Balanocarpus heimi) poles in Malaysia.
Green mussel cultureGreen mussel culture on nibong (Balanocarpus heimi) poles in Malaysia.Devakie M. Nair
A floating raft for hanging rope culture of green mussels (Perna viridis) in a mangrove-fringed estuary, southern Thailand.  The raft can also be used for oyster culture (Crassostrea species).
TitleFloating raft for culture of green mussels
CaptionA floating raft for hanging rope culture of green mussels (Perna viridis) in a mangrove-fringed estuary, southern Thailand. The raft can also be used for oyster culture (Crassostrea species).
Copyright©Donald J. Macintosh
A floating raft for hanging rope culture of green mussels (Perna viridis) in a mangrove-fringed estuary, southern Thailand.  The raft can also be used for oyster culture (Crassostrea species).
Floating raft for culture of green musselsA floating raft for hanging rope culture of green mussels (Perna viridis) in a mangrove-fringed estuary, southern Thailand. The raft can also be used for oyster culture (Crassostrea species).©Donald J. Macintosh


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Perna viridis Linnaeus, 1758

Preferred Common Name

  • Asian green mussel

Other Scientific Names

  • Chloromya smaragdinus Jukes-Browne, 1905
  • Chloromya viridis Dodge, 1952
  • Mytilus opalus Lamarck, 1819
  • Mytilus smaragdinus Chemnitz, 1785
  • Mytilus viridis Linnaeus, 1758

International Common Names

  • English: green mussel; mussel, green
  • Spanish: mejillón verde
  • French: moule verte asiatique

Local Common Names

  • India: green mussel
  • Malaysia: green lipped mussel
  • Philippines: Philippine green mussel; Philippine mussel

Summary of Invasiveness

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P. viridis has been recognised as an invasive species since its introduction out of its native range around the world through ship ballast and hull fouling, mainly into the Caribbean and western Atlantic. This species can quickly form dense colonies in a range of environmental conditions. It has the ability to form dense populations, up to 35,000 individuals/m², on a variety of structures including vessels, wharves, mariculture equipment, buoys and other hard substrata (Benson et al., 2001). Because of its dispersed spawning nature, lack of local predators, fast growth, and high tolerance of environmental conditions, this mussel population is expected to expand in Atlantic habitats until it reaches its thermal limits (DeVictor and Knott, undated as stated in ISSG, 2005).

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Mollusca
  •             Class: Bivalvia
  •                 Subclass: Pteriomorphia
  •                     Order: Mytiloida
  •                         Unknown: Mytiloidea
  •                             Family: Mytilidae
  •                                 Genus: Perna
  •                                     Species: Perna viridis


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Perna viridis is a large mussel, 80-100 mm in length, occasionally reaching 165 mm (NIMPIS, 2002). Carpenter and Niem (1998) list the following diagnostic features for this species. P. viridis has an elongate shell, roughly trigonal-ovate in outline with swollen and pointed anterior and compressed posterior ends. Umbones are terminal and sharply tapering, rather than incurved. Anterior margin is reduced, while ventral margin is long and often concave. Outer surface is nearly smooth apart from concentric growth marks and faint radial lines. Periostracum is rather thick and smooth and the ligamental ridge finely pitted. Shell hinge has one small tooth in the right valve and two in the left. The anterior adductor scar is absent in adults. Posterior retractor scars are large, confluent with the posterior adductor scar. Anterior retractor scar is separate, elongate-ovate in shape, and situated a short way to posterior end of ligament.

P. viridis begins its life as a juvenile with a green and blue-green shell that develops brown patches as an adult. It is also distinguishable from other species of Perna (i.e. P. perna and P. canaliculus) by the kidney shape of the posterior adductor muscle, S-shaped pallial line and concave ventral margin (NIMPIS, 2002). Internally, the exhalant siphon and the inner surfaces of the inhalant aperture are outlined with a stripe darker than the variably patterned dark brown mantle (Morton, 1987). Adults of the brown mussel, P. perna,are usually brown "with irregular areas of light brown and green" and distinguished from P. viridis and P. canaliculus by mantle margins lined with enlarged sensory papillae (Siddall, 1980). Young P. canaliculus have light coloured zigzag markings on the outer shell and can be found only in New Zealand (Siddall, 1980).

The outside of the shell is whitish under a bright periostracum which is dark brownish green anteriorly and olive green to bright green posteriorly. The interior shell is an iridescent pale bluish green, with a vivid green margin of periostracum (Carpenter and Niem, 1998).


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The native range of Perna viridis is along the Indian coast and throughout the Indo-Pacific (Siddall, 1980). It is broadly distributed in the Indo-Pacific where it ranges west from the Persian Gulf and east to New Guinea and Japan and New Guinea for north and south ranges, respectively. P. viridis occurs naturally and is widely distributed along the intertidal coasts of India (Jones and Alagarswami, 1973). It is also local to Malaysia (Sivalingam, 1977) and rock stacks on the Mangalore coast of India (Kuriakose and Nair, 1976).

According to Siddall (1980), P. viridis has the potential to increase its geographical distribution by step-wise larval dispersal, or "island hopping." Although the bivalve is not part of the native fauna of northern South America (Siddall, 1980), it was first recorded in Trinidad in the mid-1990s (Agard et al., 1992). The mussel later moved southward to the Gulf of Paria by way of prevailing currents (Agard et al., 1992). In 1993 the mussel population from Trinidad is thought to have been dispersed into Venezuela by currents (Agard et al., 1992) and human activities (Rylander et al., 1996).

The first known occurrence of the green mussel in the United States was in Tampa Bay, Florida, during the summer of 1999 (Benson et al., 2001). Scientists suspect that the method of transportation presumably was as larvae in the sea water ballast tanks of ships.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Sea Areas

Atlantic, Western CentralPresentIntroduced Not invasive Benson et al., 2001; DFAS, 2005
Indian Ocean, EasternPresentNative Not invasive DFAS, 2005
Indian Ocean, WesternPresentNative Not invasive DFAS, 2005
Pacific, NorthwestPresentIntroducedDFAS, 2005
Pacific, Western CentralPresentNative Not invasive NACA, 1988


ChinaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Hong KongPresentIntroducedDFAS, 2005
IndiaPresentNativeDFAS, 2005
JapanPresentIntroducedDFAS, 2005
MalaysiaPresentNativeNACA, 1988
PhilippinesPresentNativeDFAS, 2005
ThailandPresentNativeNACA, 1988

North America

USAPresentIntroducedDFAS, 2005
-FloridaPresentIntroducedBenson et al., 2001
-GeorgiaPresentIntroducedBenson, 2011
-South CarolinaPresentIntroducedBenson, 2011
-WashingtonPresentIntroducedBenson, 2011

Central America and Caribbean

JamaicaPresentIntroducedBenson et al., 2001; DFAS, 2005
Trinidad and TobagoPresentIntroducedBenson et al., 2001; DFAS, 2005

South America

VenezuelaPresentIntroducedBenson et al., 2001; DFAS, 2005


AustraliaPresentIntroducedDFAS, 2005
FijiPresentIntroducedDFAS, 2005


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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Australia UnknownDFAS (2005)
Cook Islands 1984 UnknownUwate et al. (1984)
Fiji Philippines 1975 Aquaculture (pathway cause)UnknownUwate et al. (1984)
Florida 1999 Unknown Yes USGS (2001)
French Polynesia New Caledonia 1978 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown Yes AQUACOP, and De (1979)
Jamaica UnknownDFAS (2005)
Japan UnknownDFAS (2005)
New Caledonia Philippines 1972 Aquaculture (pathway cause)UnknownSPIFDA (1972)
Samoa French Polynesia 1982 Aquaculture (pathway cause)UnknownUwate et al. (1984)
Tonga Philippines 1975 Aquaculture (pathway cause)UnknownUwate et al. (1984)
Trinidad and Tobago 1990 Unknown Yes USGS (2001)
Venezuela 1993 Unknown Yes USGS (2001)

Habitat List

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Biology and Ecology

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P. viridis is distinguished from all others of the genus by having 30 instead of 28 diploid chromosomes (Ahmed, 1974).

Natural Food Sources

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Food SourceLife StageContribution to Total Food Intake (%)Details
Brachionus plicatilis Adult
Chlorella autotrophica Adult
Coscinodiscus nodulifer Adult
Isochrysis galbana Larval
Skeletonema costatum Adult
Tetraselmis sp. Larval
Thalassiosira pseudonana Adult


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A - Tropical/Megathermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coolest month > 18°C, > 1500mm precipitation annually

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Babylonia formosae Predator Adult Wang et al., 2000
Scylla serrata Predator Fry Choo, 1983; Yap et al., 1979

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Intentional release Yes

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Ship ballast water and sediment Yes
Ship hull fouling Yes

Impact Summary

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Biodiversity (generally) Negative
Fisheries / aquaculture Positive
Human health Negative
Native fauna Negative
Transport/travel Negative

Economic Impact

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Economically, Perna viridis can cause problems with water systems of industrial complexes by clogging pipes, increasing corrosion and reducing efficiency. The accumulation of P. viridis can cause problems for power plants using seawater as a coolant. Large numbers can block the flow of water causing not only mechanical damage to the pumps (Neitzel et al., 1984), but also reducing the heat transfer efficiency (Rajagopal et al., 1994). Henager et al. (1985) found that this mussel also clogs condenser tubes. According to Fischer et al. (1984), P. viridis can increase the rate of corrosion of tubes. It is also a problem for vessels by causing fouling leading to increased maintenance costs. Rajagopal et al. (1996) discuss methods for the control of P. viridis in the cooling conduits of a coastal power station.

Environmental Impact

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Perna viridis is now well established in the Tampa Bay estuary, being first discovered by divers doing maintenance work at the TECO power plant in South Hillsborough County (Tampa Bay Estuary Program, 2000). It is believed that the larvae may have been transported via ballast. Consequently, the threat of invasion to neighbouring coastal ports from inter-coastal transport is now a distinct possibility that will require monitoring.

Mazzola and Sara (2001) propose that bivalve organic matter uptake may play an effective role in reducing the environmental impact of organic waste from fish farming. The organic matter produced by bivalves (faecal material) under these hydrodynamic conditions (low current velocities) can be recycled through the filtration activities of the bivalves themselves, together with most of the organic matter produced by fish-farming activities (uneaten feed and faecal material). Bivalve cultivation around cages may reduce the environmental impact of organic waste from fish-farming activities and increase the profitability of fish culture activities. On the other hand, filter feeding P. viridis populations exert keystone effects on coastal plankton by filtering large volumes of water, thereby severely depleting the phytoplankton (Dame, 1996; Prins et al., 1998).

Impact: Biodiversity

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Ecologically, Perna viridis, is able to outcompete many other fouling organisms, causing changes in community structure and trophic relationships. Displacement of native mussels and competition with oyster fishery are recognized as potential negative impacts on biodiversity (USGS, 2001). In particular, P. viridis has become far more abundant on eastern oyster reefs in Florida than previously noted (Baker et al., 2003). Densities are very high, with P. viridis replacing the biomass formerly produced by oysters. The oyster reef matrix and structure remain, but over 90% of adult oysters are recently dead (shells still articulated by the ligament) (Baker et al., 2003).

Social Impact

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Perna viridis is an effective bioaccumulator, accumulating pollutants in the environment and causing human health problems by food poisoning.

Uses List

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Human food and beverage

  • Canned meat
  • Cured meat
  • Fresh meat
  • Frozen meat
  • Live product for human consumption


  • Shell


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Agard J; Kishore R; Bayne B, 1992. Perna viridis (Linnaeus, 1758): first record of the Indo-Pacific green mussel (Mollusca: Bivalvia) in the Caribbean. Caribbean Marine Studies, 3:59-60.

Ahmed M, 1974. Chromosomes of two species of the marine mussel Perna (Mytilidae:Pelecypoda).Bol.Inst.Oceanogr.Univ.Oriente,13:17-22.

AQUACOP French Polynesia Centre Oceanologique du Pacifique, 1979. Larval rearing and spat production of green mussel Mytilus viridis Linnaeus in French Polynesia. Proceedings of the World Mariculture Society, 10:641-647.

AQUACOP; De Gaillande D, 1979. Spat production and culture of the green mussel Mytilus viridis in French Polynesia. SPC Fisheries Newsletter,19:4-10.

Azanza MPV; Azanza RV; Ventura SR, 2005. Heat shocking of Philippine green mussels, Perna viridis. International Journal of Food Science and Technology, 40(7).

Baker P; Fajans J; Bergquist D, 2003. Invasive green mussels, Perna viridis, on mangroves and oyster reefs in Florida. Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Marine Bioinvasions, La Jolla, California, USA, 16-19 March, 2003, 10 p.

Beales RW; Lindley RH, 1982. Studies on the growth and aquaculture potential of green mussel, Perna viridis, in Brunei waters. In: Beales RW, Currie DJ, Lindley RH eds. Investigations into fisheries resources in Brunei. Monograph Brunei Museum No. 5:123-126.

Benson A J; Marelli DC; Frischer ME; Danforth JM; Williams JD, 2001. Establishment of the green mussel, Perna viridis (Linnaeus 1758), (Mollusca: Mytilidae) on the west coast of Florida. Journal of Shellfish Research 20(1): 21-29.

Benson AJ, 2011. Perna viridis. USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida, USA: USGS.

Carpenter KE; Niem VH, 1998. The living marine resources of the Western Central Pacific. Volume 1. Seaweeds, corals, bivalves and gastropods. The living marine resources of the Western Central Pacific. Volume 1. Seaweeds, corals, bivalves and gastropods., xiv + 686 pp.

Chatterji A; Ansari ZA; Ingole BS; Parulekar AH, 1984. Growth of the green mussel, Perna viridis L., in a sea water circulating system. Aquaculture, 40(1):47-55.

Cheong L, 1982. Country report, Singapore. In: Davey FH, Graham M, eds. Bivalve culture in Asia and the Pacific. Proceedings of a workshop held in Singapore 16– 19 February 1982, IDRC-200e, pp. 69–71.

Cheung SG; Tong PY; Yip KM; Shin PKS, 2004. Chemical cues from predators and damaged conspecifics affect byssus production in the green-lipped mussel Perna viridis. Mar. Freshwat. Behav. Physiol., 37( 2): 127-135.

Choo PS, 1974. Preliminary studies on the culture of the mussel, Mytilus viridis, Linnaeus (Mollusca, Mytilidae) in Penang. Malaysian Agricultural Journal, 49:514-524.

Choo PS, 1983. Mussel culture. SAFIS Extension Manual No. 3. Southeast Asian Fisheries development Centre, Bangkok, Thailand. 17 pp.

Choo PS, 1993. Turbellarian infestation and the mass mortality of the mussel Perna viridis in Malaysia. Fish. Bull. Dep. Fish. (Malaysia), no. 81, 7 pp.

Chou R; Lee HB, 1997. Commercial marine fish farming in Singapore. Aquaculture Research, 28(10):767-776.

Coeroli M; Gaillande DDe; Landret JP; Coatanea D, 1984. Recent innovations in cultivation of molluscs in French Polynesia. Aquaculture, 39:45-67.

Dame RF, 1996. Ecology of marine bivalves: an ecosystem approach. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, USA.

DFAS, 2005. Green Mussel Distribution. Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, University of Florida, Florida, USA, Online at . Accessed on 19 October 2005.

FIGIS, 2005. Perna viridis. Fisheries global information system, FAO/SIDP Species Identification sheets. Online at Accessed 19 October 2005.

Fischer EC; Castelli VJ; Rodgers SD; Bleile HR, 1984. Fouling Control Technology. In Marine Biodeterioration:An Interdisciplinary Study. Costlow JD, Tipper RC, eds, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, USA, pp. 261-300.

FishStat Plus, 2002. Online at Accessed 19 October 2005.

Glude JB, 1982. The applicability of recent innovations to mollusc culture in the Pacific Islands. Prepared for the International Symposium on Recent Innovations in Cultivation of Pacific Molluscs, La Jolla, California, USA, 1–3 December 1982.

GSMFC, 2005. Fact Sheet. Perna viridis. Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission Online at . Accessed on 11 August 2005.

Hawkins AJS; Smith RFM; Tan SH; Yasin ZB, 1998. Suspension-feeding Behavior. Tropical Bivalve Molluscs: Perna iridis, Crassostrea belcheri, Crassostrea iradelei, Saccostrea cucculata, and Pinctada margarifera. Marine Ecology and Progress Series 166:173-185.

Henager CH; Daling PM; Johnson KI, 1985. Factors That May Intensify The Safety Consequences Of Biofouling. In Bivalve Fouling Of Nuclear Power Plant Service Water Systems. US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Report No. NUREG/CR 4070, Washington, USA, 15 pp.

Hickman RW, 1989. The potential of farming green mussel in the federated states of Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. Field Document 91/6. Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, Rome, Italy.

IOC, 1981. First Session Of The WESTPAC TASK Team On Marine Pollution Research And Monitoring Using Commercially Exploited Shellfish As Determinants. Summary Report IOC/WTTMPM-I/3 (Inter-governmental Oceanographic Commission, Paris).

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Jones S; Algarswami K, 1973. Mussel fishery resources of India. Proceedings of the Symposium on Living Resources, Cochin, India, CMFRI Special Publication, pp. 641–647.

Kuriakose PS; Nair NB, 1976. The Genus Perna Along The Coasts Of India With Description Of A New Species, Perna indica. Aquatic Biology 1:25-36.

Lin X; Zhong J; Xie X; Xu Z; Huang C, 2002. The effect of temperature on the energy budget of Perna viridis. Marine Science, 26(4): 13-16.

Mazzola A; Sarà G, 2001. The effect of fish farming organic waste on food availability for bivalve molluscs (Gaeta Gulf, Central Tyrrhenian, MED): stable carbon isotopic analysis. Aquaculture, 192(2/4):361-379.

Morton B, 1987. The Functional Morphology Of The Organs Of The Mantle Cavity Of Perna viridis (Linnaeus, 1758) (Bivalvia:Mytilacea). American Malacological Bulletin 5(2):159-164.

NABARD, 2005. Model Bankable Project on Mussel Culture. National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, India. NABARD Online at . Accessed on 19 October 2005.

NACA, 1988. Status of mollusk culture in selected Asian countries. Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific, Bangkok, Thailand. NACA-SF/WP/88/4.

Nair RM; Appukuttan KK, 2003. Effect of temperature on the development, growth, survival and settlement of green mussel Perna viridis (Linnaeus, 1758). Aquaculture Research, 34(12), 1037-1045.

Neitzl DA; Johnson KI; Page TL; Young JS; Daling PM, 1984. Correlation Of Bivalve Biological Characteristics And Service Water System Design. In Bivalve Fouling Of Nuclear Power Plant Service Water Systems. US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Report No. NUREG/CR 4070, Washington, 15 pp.

NIMPIS, 2002. Asian Green Mussel. National Introduced Marine Pest Information System. CSIRO Online at . Accessed on 11 August 2005.

Parulekar AH; Dalal SG; Ansari ZA; Harkantra SN, 1982. Environmental physiology of raft-grown mussels in Goa, India. Aquaculture, 29(1/2):83-93.

Phillips DJH, 1980. Proposal For Monitoring Studies On The Contamination Of The East Asian Seas By Trace Metals And Organochlorines. Report UNEP/WG.41.INF. 13 FAO, Rome And UNEP, Geneva, Switzerland.

Prins TC; Small AC; Dame RF, 1998. A feedback between the bivalve grazing and ecosystem processes. Aquatic Ecology, 31:349-359.

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Rajagopal S; Venugopalan VP; Nair KVK; Velde Gvan der; Jenner HA; Hartog Cden, 1998. Reproduction, growth rate and culture potential of the green mussel, Perna viridis (L.) in Edaiyur backwaters, east coast of India. Aquaculture, 162(3/4):187-202.

Rylander K; Perez J; Gomez JA, 1996. Status of the green mussel, Perna viridis (Linnaeus, 1758) (Mollusca: Mytilidae), in north-eastern Venezuela. Caribbean Marine Studies 5:86-87.

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Links to Websites

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Global Invasive Species Database GISD aims to increase awareness about invasive alien species and to facilitate effective prevention and management. It is managed by the Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) of the Species Survival Commission.


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Main Author
Sunil Siriwardena
Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA, UK

Distribution Maps

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