Link to DEM Home Page Link to State of RI web site RIDEM graphical banner, showing land and water scene
Navigation button, HomeNavigation button, ProgramsNavigation button, TopicsNavigation button, MapsNavigation button, PublicationsNavigation button, NewsNavigation button, EventsNavigation button, SearchNavigation button, HelpNavigation button, Contact
Home > Programs > Bureau of Environmental Protection > OWR > Water Quality > Surface Water Quality > AIS > Aquatic Invasive Animals

Aquatic Invasive Animals
picture of Asian Clams

Although aquatic invasive animals are often harder to find than large invasive plant populations, invasive animals can have devastating effects on freshwater ecosystems. Most invasive animals are small and larvae or adults can be transported in bilge water, bait buckets or attached to boats. Others are used as live bait, and extras are discarded into the water. Some were even intentionally stocked. Regardless of the means of introduction, the spread of invasive animals constitutes a serious threat facing our rivers and lakes.


  • cause local extinctions of native species through competition or predation
  • degrade or destroy habitat that supports native fish and wildlife
  • significantly alter aquatic food webs
  • degrade water quality
  • reduce numbers of sport fish, either by destroying suitable habitat, competing for food or by eating them
  • shellfish foul boats and motors
  • damage to infrastructure
  • substantial costs to manage once introduced
Which Aquatic Invasive Animals are in RI?

  Species Present in Rhode Island
Common Name/
Fact Sheet
Species Name Distribution Map
Asian Clam Corbicula fluminea Click for pdf map
carp various No map available

  Species Not Yet Present in Rhode Island
Common Name/
Fact Sheet
Species Name Nearby Infestations
zebra mussel Dreissena polymorpha MA, CT, VT, NY
Click for Map
quagga mussel Dreissena bugensis NY
rusty crayfish Oronectes rusticus MA, CT, VT, NH, ME, NY
Chinese mitten crab (freshwater!) Eriocheir sinensis NY (Long Island Sound/lower Hudson River)
Spiny water flea Bythotrephes cederstroemi NY

To report new identifications of invasive animals call RIDEM at (401) 222-4700 ext. 7211.

Stop the Spread!

  • Inspect and clean. Examine your boat and trailer before and after any use. Carefully remove any mud, plant or animal material before transporting your boat, recreational equipment, fishing gear or equipment.
  • Allow time to dry. Clean and dry anything that came in contact with the water (boat, trailers, recreational equipment, clothing, dogs, etc.)
  • Isolate and drain. Empty water from boat wells and motors far away from lakes and rivers.
  • Discard into trash. Dispose any unused bait into proper garbage receptacles; do not empty bait buckets into the water.
  • Prevent releases. Avoid disposing plants, fish or animals from aquariums or water gardens into local water bodies.
  browse graphic
Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory - Aquatic Invasive Species

Minnesota DNR- Aquatic Invasive Animals

documents graphic
Identification and Management of Aquatic Invasive Species

Identifying Freshwater Aquatic Invasive Species in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan

2012 RI Lakes Report

For General Information 222-6800 • After Hours Emergencies 222-3070 • Disclaimer
rev. 9/13/13