Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


At CABI we’re focused on providing the best user experience we can, helping you find answers to your questions quickly, easily and accurately.

Our training team provide an on-site training service. These live product demonstrations help teach multiple staff members the various features of the database and other subscription products at your location. Please contact your CABI sales representative or email our training team for further information.


There are a number of ways to perform a search across the site. You can search using the main search box that appears on every page.

You simply describe the subject of your search as you would in any popular search engine. You can also perform more complex searches here using Boolean logic (AND, OR, NOT) N.B. always place the Boolean logic in uppercase / capital letters).

Use quotes to search for an exact set of words such as "fishery management".

You can also use bracketing so that certain parts of your search are performed together e.g. "water hyacinth" AND ("natural enemies" OR biocontrol).

Truncation of a search term using * is supported, e.g. micro*, *miner

Searches can also be filtered to certain content types by clicking on the "filter by type" box and choosing from the reference materials available. If you change the selected content type in this box and select “search” then any filters applied using the refine menu on the right hand side will be cleared.

The filters you have applied will appear above the refine menu on the right hand side of the screen. You can deselect these by clicking on them.

Definitions used in the Invasive Species Compendium

The following working definitions have been applied during the development of this compendium.

Species categorizations

Invasive (alien) species: an (alien) species whose establishment and spread threaten ecosystems, habitats or species with economic or environmental harm.
Source: McNeely, J.A., Mooney, H.A., Neville, L.E., Schei, P.J. and Waage, J.K. (eds) (2001) Global Strategy on Invasive Alien Species. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge UK. [Use of the term "species" in this context includes species, subspecies or lower taxa; also note parentheses have been added around 'alien' by CABI because the Compendium also considers species that are invasive in their native range].

Introduced species (alien, non-native): A species, subspecies or lower taxon, introduced outside its natural past or present distribution; includes any part, gametes, seeds, eggs, or propagules of such species that might survive and subsequently reproduce.
Source: CBD Guiding Principles

Native species: A species, subspecies, or lower taxon, occurring within its natural range (past or present) and dispersal potential (i.e. within the range it occupies naturally or could occupy without direct or indirect introduction or care by humans.)
Source: IUCN, 2000. IUCN Guidelines for the Prevention of Biodiversity Loss caused by Alien Invasive Species. IUCN, Species Survival Commission, Gland, Switzerland.

(Plant) pest: Any species, strain or biotype of plant, animal or pathogenic agent injurious to plants or plant products.
Source: FAO, 2007. Glossary of Phytosanitary Terms. ISPM Pub. No. 5. FAO, Rome, Italy.

OIE notifiable disease: Detailed criteria for inclusion of diseases in the list of those notifiable to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) are given in Chapter 2.1.1. of the Terrestrial Animal Health Code (OIE, 2007). Each criterion is based on a measurable parameter, and if a disease fulfills at least one of these, it becomes notifiable. Potential for international spread is the most important criterion. Others include zoonotic potential and the ability to spread significantly within native populations.

Distribution categories

The Compendia datasheets draw species distributions from a database for the Distribution Table and map in species datasheets and for the species lists in country datasheets. A separate Distribution References list is linked to the sources cited in the Distribution Table and is presented below the main References list covering the other sections of the datasheet. Special focus is given to updating distributions and it may be the case that the Distribution Table and map are more up to date than the text in the datasheet.

CABI is using Geonames as the geographic framework to support the recording and plotting of distribution records on the map. This has resulted in some changes to the order and display of regions in the datasheets but provides better opportunities for mapping and data handling.

The distribution status for a country or region is based on all the information available - when several references are cited in the Distribution Table or map, they may give conflicting information on the species status. In particular, citations of earlier presence may be included even though there is an authoritative reference to indicate that the pest is now absent. A summary of the current status for a location is shown in the Distribution Table and map but with all the contributing sources cited. It is this summary status that is used by the Horizon Scanning Tool and the PRA Tool. An alternative view of the distribution records is provided in the datasheet report where the section 'Distribution Table Details' can be selected to display each referenced source as a row in table format. In many cases extra information concerning individual sources can be found there. This section is not provided by default when the Report option 'All sections' is selected because the more compact 'Distribution Table' is used in preference. It can be manually selected for inclusion in the datasheet report.

Only records of presence are shown in the default display of the distribution map. Please refer to the Distribution Table in the datasheet for records of eradications, former presence, interceptions, and unreliable or invalid records reported in the literature. The absence of a record on the map does not necessarily mean the pest is absent from that country or region, it may be the case that information for those areas is not available. Most distribution records arise from a report of presence at some time in the past; it is not within the scope of Compendia to seek absence records routinely. The Distribution text in the datasheet may also provide additional information.

CABI requests users to send additional distribution information, with appropriate published references, to: Only records accompanied by a published reference can be considered for inclusion but personal communications may be recorded in the text until a published record becomes available. Data will be verified by CABI's editors, but this process will be greatly assisted if the relevant references are provided.

Categories of presence

Present: Occurring in a particular country or area (without details on range)
Present, Widespread: Occurring practically throughout the country or area where conditions are suitable. An alternative term is ‘Present: in all parts of the area’
Present, Localized: Present, but not widespread; used to indicate that the species does not occur in some suitable parts of the country or area. Other terms used for the same situation are: "Restricted distribution", "Limited distribution" and ‘Present: only in some areas’
Present, Few occurrences: Reported occasionally or reports suggest its presence is rare or sporadic. An alternative term is ‘Present: at low prevalence’

The following FAO categories for plant pest reporting have been added to the Compendium:

Present, Transient under eradication: The pest has been detected as an isolated population which may survive into the immediate future and, without phytosanitary measures for eradication, may establish. Appropriate phytosanitary measures have been applied for its eradication
Present, Transient under surveillance: The pest has been detected as an individual occurrence or an isolated population that may survive into the immediate future, but is not expected to establish. Appropriate phytosanitary measures, including surveillance are being applied
Present, Transient non actionable: The pest has only been detected as an individual occurrence or isolated population not expected to survive and no phytosanitary measures have been applied

Categories of absence

Absent, Eradicated: Recorded at some time in the past but eradication was successful, so the pest is not present now
Absent, Intercepted only: Only found in imported consignments, on entry or at the place of destination. It is not present now
Absent, Formerly present: Recorded at some time in the past, but either it did not establish or it disappeared without any special measures being taken. An alternative term is ‘Absent: pest no longer present’
Absent, Never occurred: The country concerned officially states that the species has never occurred there. This category is not used comprehensively, usually only if there has been an incorrect report in the literature

Additional attributes are included when available as follows (those with * below were added in 2020). These statuses may not have been added comprehensively to all distribution records for a species and are supplementary to the primary status of present or absent.


Native: Occurring within its natural range (past or present) and dispersal potential without direct or indirect introduction or care by humans
Introduced: Introduced outside its natural past or present distribution by direct or indirect human agency. Alternative terms are ‘Alien’, ‘Non-native’, ‘Exotic’
Native and introduced*: In different parts of the area. Previously this would have been entered as ‘Native’ to the area
Reintroduced*: Reintroduced through human activity, either on purpose or accidentally. It is implied that the species was originally native to the area. Previously entered as 'Introduced'
Cryptogenic*: A species that is not demonstrably native or introduced


Naturalized*: An introduced species that has established outside captivity/cultivation
Invasive: A naturalized species whose establishment and spread threaten ecosystems, habitats or species with economic or environmental harm. In a few cases native species have been reported as invasive, further details of these situations are provided in the datasheet text

First Reported and Last Reported: year or date


Only in captivity/cultivation: It is not intended that pet, zoo, aquarium, botanical garden and ornamental occurrences are generally included in the Distribution Table, however this category may be the most appropriate for some records selected for inclusion. Occurrence in captivity and cultivation is more concisely described in the Distribution text
Only undercover/indoors: e.g. species only occurs in protected cultivation
Cultured: Used for aquaculture species in the Aquaculture Compendium
Planted: Used for trees in the Forestry Compendium

Record quality (for absence records)

Confirmed absent by survey
No presence record(s)
Unconfirmed presence record(s): Species records indicate presence but they are considered unreliable because of ambiguous nomenclature, outdated identification methods etc. Previously recorded as ‘Absent, unconfirmed’ or ‘Absent, unreliable record’
Invalid presence record(s): Species records indicate presence but the records are no longer valid due to changes in taxonomy, misidentification, erroneous record, changes to national borders etc. Previously recorded as ‘Absent, invalid record’

Reference types used for species distributions

Compendia distributions are based on published records from the research literature, and authoritative species lists, databases and websites. A few are supported by collection records and correspondence. These have been reviewed by the datasheet author, reviewer or CABI editor and full details are provided in the Distribution References list, linked to a CAB Abstracts bibliographic record where possible. A CABI (Undated) citation has been used in three situations:

CABI Compendium: Summary status as determined by CABI editor. The status for the location has been summarized from all the available information, often with advice from the datasheet author or reviewer. No single reference has been selected to represent the current status that is displayed in the Distribution Table and used for generating the map

CABI Compendium: Status inferred from regional distribution. A record of presence in a state or province has been used to support presence at the national level but a specific reference has not been selected for that country

Pre-2020 CABI Compendium record not linked to a full reference citation. Efforts have been made to link each record with a reference but it has not always been possible. An indication of the source may be included in the Notes and it may be possible to find the citation in the general References list for the datasheet

Data mining has been used to populate the distributions for basic datasheets where indicated. The primary source for this is CAB Abstracts, but in 2011 the following databases were included for the ISC:

CONABIO Information system on invasive species in Mexico in the Enciclovida portal
DAISIE Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe (no longer available online)
Invasive Plant Atlas USA Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States
GISD Global Invasive Species Database 
Massey University - New Zealand weeds database
NIMPIS National Introduced Marine Pest Information System  
NOBANIS North European and Baltic Network on Invasive Alien Species 
USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database

Pathways for introduction and dispersal

Pathway cause: Why a species is transported, that is, whether accidentally or deliberately
Pathway vector: How, physically, a species in transported, that is, the physical means or agent
Carlton JY, Ruiz GM, 2005. Vector science and integrated vector management in bioinvasion ecology: conceptual frameworks. In: Invasive Alien Species: A New Synthesis (ed. by Mooney HA et al.). Island Press, Washington, USA.

It is acknowledged that the scheme now widely accepted by invasive species data publishers is that described in the CBD technical note Convention on Biological Diversity, 2014. Pathways of introduction of invasive species, their prioritization and management (26 June 2014). It is CABI’s intention to apply this more recent schema to the data in the ISC datasheets and the Horizon Scanning Tool.


Work is ongoing to harmonize the Compendium taxonomy with the CAB Thesaurus. At this time, the Compendium taxonomic hierarchy is under revision.