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California’s Invaders

The Invasive Species Program has identified numerous actual and potential invasive species from which we strive to protect California’s wildlands and waterways. Many invaders have already established populations in various regions of California and occur in different stages of the invasion process. We aim to prevent the spread of these species by educating the public about the species, their impacts, how they spread, and how people can avoid spreading them. In addition, numerous other species that may already be invasive elsewhere in the U.S., but have not yet been introduced or established in California, have been identified as threats to the state’s environment, economy, agricultural interests, and/or human health. By educating the public about these species, their likely impacts, the pathways of introduction, and what to do if they are encountered, we aim to prevent introductions and intercept populations before they are able to establish, spread, and cause harm.

Click on the profiles below to learn about each species’ description, distribution, habitat preference, pathways of spread, impacts, and what to do if you find one. Please note: the list below is far from comprehensive, and we are constantly working to compile additional species fact sheets to add to the list below. If you are looking for information about an invasive species not listed below, email us at Invasives@wildlife.ca.gov.

Scientific name Common name Currently present in California Restricted species1 Printable version (PDF)
 Mammals
Myocastor coypus Nutria No Yes link opens in new windowPDF
 Birds
Cygnus olor Mute swan Yes Yes link opens in new tab or windowPDF
Molothrus ater Brown-headed cowbird Yes No link opens in new tab or windowPDF
 Reptiles
Nerodia fasciata Southern watersnake Yes Yes link opens in new tab or windowPDF
Nerodia sipedon Northern watersnake Yes Yes link opens in new tab or windowPDF
Trachemys scripta elegans Red-eared slider Yes Yes link opens in new tab or windowPDF
 Amphibians
Eleutherodactylus coqui Common coqui Yes Yes link opens in new tab or windowPDF
Lithobates catesbeianus American bullfrog Yes No link opens in new tab or windowPDF
Xenopus laevis African clawed frog Yes Yes link opens in new tab or windowPDF
 Fishes
Family Channidae Snakeheads No Yes link opens in new tab or windowPDF
Family Characidae Piranhas No Yes link opens in new tab or windowPDF
Ctenopharyngodon idella Grass carp Yes Yes link opens in new tab or windowPDF
Esox lucius Northern pike No Yes link opens in new tab or windowPDF
Hypophthalmichthys molitrix Silver carp No Yes link opens in new tab or windowPDF
Hypophthalmichthys nobilis Bighead carp No Yes link opens in new tab or windowPDF
Family Lepisosteidae Gars No Yes link opens in new tab or windowPDF
Mylopharyngodon piceus Black carp No Yes link opens in new tab or windowPDF
 Invertebrates
Eriocheir senensis Chinese mitten crab Yes Yes link opens in new tab or windowPDF
Euwallacea spp. Polyphagous and Kuroshio
shot hole borers
Yes No link opens in new tab or windowPDF (UC)
Pomacea canaliculata Channeled apple snail Yes Yes link opens in new tab or windowPDF
Potamopyrgus antipodarum New Zealand mudsnail Yes Yes link opens in new tab or windowPDF

1 Restricted species are on CDFW’s List of Restricted Live Animals (link opens in new tab or windowCalifornia Code of Regulations Title 14, Section 671), and therefore may not be imported, transported, or possessed without a permit issued by CDFW. For more information on why these species are restricted, visit our Laws and Regulations page.



Habitat Conservation Planning Branch
1416 Ninth Street, 12th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 653-4875