Aquatic Invasive Animals
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
Species Present in Rhode Island
|Species Name||Distribution Map|
|Asian Clam||Corbicula fluminea||Click for pdf map|
|Chinese Mystery Snail||Cipangopadula chinensis||Click for pdf map|
|carp||various||No map available|
Species Not Yet Present in Rhode Island
|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.
- Aquatic Invasive Species
- How Aquatic Species Invade
- Aquatic Invasive Plants
- RIDEM Response
- Nutrients in Lakes
- Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory - Aquatic Invasive Species
- Minnesota DNR- Aquatic Invasive Animals
- 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