Invasive alien animal species

An invasive alien species is a plant, animal or micro-organism (e.g., virus, bacterium or fungus) introduced outside its natural range and whose establishment or spread poses a threat to the environment, economy or society.

In Québec, more than 70 species of invasive plants or animals and more than 30 other species are considered “at the doorstep” of the province.

On this page:

The impact of the zebra mussel on some structures © NOAA

The red-eared slider, a species imported for aquariophilia often released into the wild © Alan and Elaine Wilson Elaine Wilson www.naturespicsonline.com

Factors contributing to the introduction of invasive alien species and their impacts

Factors contributing to the introduction

The introduction of invasive alien species has been facilitated primarily by increased trade with other countries. Although natural phenomena, such as flooding, can also lead to introductions, most of them are related to human activities, whether voluntary or accidental. The introduction can therefore come from:

  • the use of one species to control the population of another species;
  • pets, or hunted or fished species that are released into the wild with or without authorization;
  • species that have escaped from captivity;
  • species carried on goods (e.g. firewood);
  • hitchhiker species carried on boats or nautical equipment that have not been cleaned.

Increasing temperatures due to climate change could make it easier for some of these species to survive and reproduce in our latitudes. Invasive alien species “at the doorstep” of Québec could be favoured, while others, which are already present but not very abundant, could see their numbers increase.

Impacts

The environment, economy and society may be affected by the introduction of invasive alien species. For example, they can degrade habitats, harm native species and destroy natural environments that benefit humans. Their presence also has significant economic consequences for agricultural and forestry production, the fishing industry, recreational boating and tourism. Some species can transmit diseases and parasites  to wildlife or pose a threat to human health. In order to limit their impact, everyone must take preventive measures.

Management of invasive alien species

Once a species is established in the natural environment, which means that it survives and reproduces effectively, it becomes virtually impossible to remove it, and it is very expensive to control it. That is why prevention, surveillance, and rapid control interventions are crucial to manage invasive alien species. Prevention measures are the most effective and the least costly in reducing risks.

The government is already making a lot of efforts, but several initiatives still need to be taken to deal with the growing threats. The plan to manage invasive alien animal species  (available in French only) outlines areas of interventions and priority objectives regarding the prevention, surveillance and control of invasive alien species.

Here are some simple ways you can help the management of invasive alien species:

  • Inspect and clean your boat and equipment according to the best practices in an aquatic environment during fishing and recreational activities.
  • Never release pets into the natural environment, whether they are turtles, fish, birds, rabbits, cats or dogs, as they are competitors or predators of the local wildlife.
  • Do not transport firewood across long distances, nor from one site to another during outdoor activities. Buy and use local firewood, and leave unused wood on site to prevent the spread of invasive alien insects or fungi.
  • Follow the regulations while keeping wildlife in captivity (available in French only) that limit the custody of certain species and prohibit the release of exotic animals into the natural environment.
  • Follow the regulations regarding the use and transport of bait fish (available in French only). Discard earthworms in gardens or trash rather than in forests because they affect forest soils that are not suitable for them.
  • Report any sightings of invasive alien animals during your outdoor activities (e.g., fishing, hunting, hiking, etc.).

Report an invasive alien species

You can report any sightings of invasive alien animals.

List of invasive alien animal species

The following list is not exhaustive but includes the main invasive alien animal species as well as invasive alien insects and fungi that attack trees.

The presence of the species is classified in the following categories: absent from Québec, limited observation, recurrent observations or captures are made without evidence of local reproduction, and established (when there is evidence of local reproduction in addition to captures and recurrent observations).

Some invasive alien species have been established for so long that they are now part of Québec’s landscape. This is the case for some fish, such as common carp and rainbow trout, many birds (e.g., house sparrow, starling, grey partridge, and rock pigeon), some mammals (e.g., black rat, Norway rat, and house mouse), and even earthworms. Although these species can still have detrimental impacts locally, they are not targeted by surveillance or control measures, and are sometimes even sought after by hunters and fishers.

Crustaceans

Common name
Scientific name
Presence in Québec
Bloody Red Shrimp (in French)
Hemimysis anomala
Recurrent observation
Chinese Mitten Crab (in French)
Eriocheir sinensis
Limited observation
European Green Crab
Carcinus maenas
Established
Fishhook Waterflea (in French)
Cercopagis pengoi
Limited observation
Invasive Amphipod (in French)
Echinogammarus ischnus
Recurrent observation
Marbled Crayfish
Procambarus virginalis
Absent
Red Swamp Crayfish (in French)
Procambarus clarkii
Absent
Rusty Crayfish (in French)
Faxonius rusticus
Established
Spiny Waterflea (in French)
Bythotrephes longimanus
Limited observation

Hydrozoans

Nom commun
Nom latin
Présence au Québec
Freshwater Jellyfish
Craspedacusta sowerbyi
Established

Mollusks

Common name
Scientific name
Presence in Québec
Asian Clam (in French)
Corbicula fluminae
Absent
Banded Mystery Snail
Viviparius georgianus
Established
Chinese Mystery Snail (in French)
Cipangopaludina chinensis
Established
New Zealand Mud Snail
Potamopyrgus antipodarum
Absent
Quagga Mussel (in French)
Dreissena bugensis
Established
Zebra Mussel (in French)
Dreissena polymorpha
Established

Fish

Common name
Scientific name
Presence in Québec
Asian carps: Bighead Carp
Hypophtalmichthys nobilis
Absent
Asian carps: Black Carp
Mylopharyngodon piceus
Absent
Asian carps: Grass Carp
Ctenopharyngodon idella
Limited observation
Asian carps: Silver Carp
Hypophtalmichthys molitrix
Absent
Common Carp
Cyprinus carpio
Established
Freshwater Tubenose Goby
Proterorhinus semilunaris
Absent
Goldfish
Carassius auratus
Established
Green Sunfish (in French)
Lepomis cyanellus
Recurrent observation
Northern Snakehead
Channa argus
Absent
Pink Salmon
Oncorhynchus gorbuscha
Limited observation
Rainbow Trout
Oncorhynchus mykiss
Established
Round Goby (in French)
Neogobius melanostomus
Established
Rudd (in French)
Scardinius erythrophthalmus
Recurrent observation
Ruffe
Gymnocephalus cernua
Absent
Tench (in French)
Tinca tinca
Established

Reptiles

Common name
Scientific name
Presence in Québec
Red-Eared Slider (in French) 
Trachemys scripta elegans
Limited observation

Mammals

Common name
Scientific name
Presence in Québec
Black Rat
Rattus rattus
Established
Brown Rat
Rattus norvegicus
Established
Domestic Cat (in French) 
Felis silvestris catus
Recurrent observation
Domestic Rabbit or European Rabbit
Oryctolagus cuniculus
Limited observation
Exotic cervids :
Elk or Red Deer
Cervus elaphus
Fallow Deer
Dama dama
Sika Deer
Cervus nippon
Limited observation
Field Mouse or Wood Mouse Established
Wild Boar or Feral Pig or Feral Swine (in French) 
Sus scrofa
Pig (rustic races)
Sus scrofa domesticus
Limited observation

Birds

Common name
Scientific name
Presence in Québec
Common Pheasant (in French) 
Phasianus colchicus
Limited observation
Common Starling or European Starling
Stumus vulgaris
Established
Common Pigeon
Columbia livia
Established
Grey Partridge
Perdix perdix
Established
House Sparrow
Passer domesticus
Established
Monk Parakeet (in French) 
Myiopsitta monachus
Absent
Mute Swan (in French) 
Cygnus olor
Limited observation

Insects and worms

Common name
Scientific name
Presence in Québec
Asian Gypsy Moth
Lymantria dispar asiatica
L. dispar japonica
Absent
Asian Long-Horned Beetle
Anoplophora glabripennis
Absent
Black And White Citrus Longhorn Beetle
Anoplophora chinensis
Absent
Brown Spruce Longhorn Beetle
Tetropium fuscum
Absent
Emerald Ash Borer
Agrilus planipennis
Established
Earthworms
Include many species
Established
Hemlock Woolly Adelgid
Adelges tsugae
Absent
Spotted Lanternfly
Lycorma delicatula
Absent

Fungi

Common name
Scientific name
Presence in Québec
Annosus Root and Butt Rot
Heterobasidion irregulare
Established
Beech Bark Disease
Neonectria faginata
Established
Butternut Canker
Ophiognomonia clavigignenti-juglandacearum
Established
Dutch Elm Disease
Ophiostoma novo-ulmi
Established
Oak Wilt
Bretziella fagacearum
Absent
Scleroderris Canker, European Race
Gremmeniella abietina
Established
White Pine Blister Rust
Cronartium ribicola
Established

Other fact sheets for invasive alien species

See also