Invasive Fish

Science Center Objects

Invasive fish cause significant economic losses and diminish opportunities for beneficial
uses of valued aquatic resources. Costly effects include harm to fisheries (e.g., Asian carp, snakeheads, whirling disease, and hemorrhagic septicemia). USGS research is focused on invasive fish spread and distribution, genetic and population impacts of invasives, hybridization between native and non-native species, and development of frameworks to assist managers in prioritizing populations for conservation and activities to enhance native populations in the context of invasive species. 

Silver Carp - UMESC

USGS scientist with a silver carp (public domain).

LOOKING FOR ASIAN CARP?

The USGS research strategy for Asian carp is comprehensive and focuses on improving methods of early detection, conducting risk assessments to identify high-risk areas for recruitment or survival, and developing methods for containment and control. 

Essential to these efforts is the application of our extensive knowledge of Asian carp life history and hydrologic expertise that guide our design, development, and application strategies. We have a web site focused on our Asian carp research.

► Find out more

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ASIAN SWAMP EEL

Asian swamp eel (Monopterus sp.)

Asian swamp eel (Monopterus sp.(Public domain.)

Introduced wild populations of non-native Asian swamp eels are established in Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, and Hawai’i. In parts of Asia, wild-caught and aquaculture-reared swamp eels are widely consumed as food by humans and are a common source of human gnathostomiasis, a food-borne zoonosis caused by parasitic nematodes of the genus Gnathostoma spp. In humans, the larvae of these nematodes can cause tissue damage and, in some instances, death.

 

Wetland and Aquatic Research Center (WARC)

More information about WARC projects is available from the links below.

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    LIONFISH

    Lionfish are spreading through the Western North Atlantic, Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico

    Lionfish are spreading through the Western North Atlantic, Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico. Photo by Ned DeLoach (Public domain.)

    Lionfishes (Pterois volitans and P. miles) have established self-sustaining populations and spread throughout the Western North Atlantic, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico. Although there are reports of lionfish sightings from decades past, the species have considerably  increased in numbers and spread since 2000. The remarkable speed with which lionfishes have invaded the region is unprecedented and alarming. 

     

    Wetland and Aquatic Research Center (WARC)

    More information about WARC projects is available from the links below.

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    NONNATIVE FLORIDA FRESHWATER FISH

    Midas cichlid (Amphilophus citrinellus)

    Midas cichlid (Amphilophus citrinellus)

    (Public domain.)

    Non-native species have a long history in Florida. More than 145 non-native freshwater fish species have been recorded from Florida since the 1880s. These range from species observed only once to species with established permanent populations in several locations across the state. South Florida has the greatest diversity of non-native fishes, with 46 species recorded from the Miami-Dade County area, 17 of which have found their way into Everglades National Park. The status of non-native freshwater fish populations in the state, like the environments they inhabit, is continually in flux.

     

    Wetland and Aquatic Research Center (WARC)

    More information about WARC projects is available from the links below.

     

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      Emperor Angelfish

      Emperor Angelfish. (Public domain.)

      NONNATIVE MARINE FISH

      Thirty-four species of non-native marine fishes have been documented in Florida, and their distributions are currently being tracked via the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS) database.

       

      Wetland and Aquatic Research Center (WARC)

      More information about WARC projects is available from the links below.

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      NONNATIVE TROUT

      Yellowstone Lake trout

      A Yellowstone lake trout. (Public domain.)

      Introduced fishes constitute a major threat to the persistence of native trout across the continent. For example, the introduction of lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) into Yellowstone Lake, which has not evolved with a native predator, impacts the entire Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Westslope cutthroat trout have been evolutionarily isolated from other cutthroat taxa for 1-2 million years and are all genetically related in the Glacier National Park region; however, the long term persistence of non-hybridized populations of westslope cutthroat trout is threatened by hybridization with nonnative rainbow trout (RBT).

       

      Close-up of non-hybridized westslope cutthroat trout in Montana

      Close-up of non-hybridized westslope cutthroat trout Oncorhynchus clarki lewisi) from the Flathead Basin in Montana.  (Credit: Jonny Armstrong. Public domain.)

      Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center (NOROCK)

      More information about NOROCK projects is available from the links below.

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        Image: Northern Pike

        An Alaska Fish and Game technician poses with an invasive northern pike (Esox lucius) taken from Alexander Creek in the Susitna Basin of south-central Alaska.(Credit: Adam Sepulveda. Public domain.)

        NORTHERN PIKE

        The proliferation of introduced northern pike in Southcentral Alaska is an urgent fishery management concern because pike are voracious predators that prey heavily on juvenile salmonids

         

        Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center (NOROCK)

        More information about NOROCK projects is available from the links below.

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        SEA LAMPREY

        The parasitic sea lamprey invaded the Great Lakes in the mid-20th Century, devastating valuable native fisheries and coastal economies. The USGS Hammond Bay Biological Station has been and continues to be the global hub for sea lamprey control research, providing the science to keep sea lamprey populations at bay. 

         

        Up close view of a sea lamprey

        Up close view of a sea lamprey. (Credit: Joanna Glikeson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Public domain.)

        Great Lakes Science Center (GLSC) 

        More information about GLSC projects is available from the links below.

         

        Upper Midwest Environmental Science Center (UMESC)

        More information about UMESC projects is available from the links below.

        Sea Lampreys in a tank

        Sea lamprey in a tank. (Public domain.)

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        Snakehead

        Snakehead. (Credit: Joseph Love, MD DNR. Public domain.)

        SNAKEHEAD

        USGS researchers are currently working on a project to detect bullseye snakehead Channa marulius with environmental DNA (eDNA). An assay was developed at the USGS genetics laboratory that allows researcher to detect the presence of snakehead DNA in water samples.

         

        Wetland and Aquatic Research Center (WARC)

        More information about WARC projects is available from the links below.

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