Aquatic pests

Exotic aquatic animals and plants (particularly noxious species) can damage the natural balance of our environment. Aquatic pests threaten South Australia’s fisheries, aquaculture, recreation, navigation, and tourism industries.

Aquatic pests:

  • are exotic (non-native) species that have, or pose the risk of having, impacts
  • can be fish, aquatic plants and animals (crabs, molluscs invertebrates)
  • compete with native species important to our economy and conservation
  • damage aquatic environments reducing attractiveness and social enjoyment of aquatic areas
  • foul aquaculture and industrial infrastructure
  • pose health risks
  • can be found in freshwater, estuaries and marine environments.

Marine pest locations and data can be found using the National Introduced Marine Pest Information System.

Search aquatic pest animals that are:

How to identify and report aquatic pests

Stop aquatic pests harming our environment brochure (PDF 3.8 MB)

Reporting suspected exotic species

Early detection is important to stop the establishment and spread of aquatic pests. If you see an unusual freshwater or marine creature report it straight away:

Aquatic pests of concern to South Australia

Alligator gar

Alligator Gar is a large freshwater species that can grow to more than 1.5m long. It has the potential to prey on most native fish species.

Read more on Alligator gar

Asian black-spined toad

The Asian black-spined toad is not known to be established in Australia but is frequently intercepted at the border. It has greater tolerance to cold than cane toads.

Read more on Asian black-spined toad

Asian green mussel

The Asian Green Mussel is a marine mollusc that forms dense colonies, competes for food and habitat with native species and clogs seawater intake pipes.

Read more on Asian green mussel

Asian paddle crab

The Asian Paddle Crab competes for food and shelter with native crustacean species, can carry disease which can impact native species such as lobster, prawn and crabs, spread via biofouling on shipping, not currently found in SA

Read more on Asian paddle crab

Black-striped false mussel

Black striped false mussel grows quickly and competes with native species for food and space. It can affect the productivity of commercial fisheries and aquaculture.

Read more on Black-striped false mussel

Brown mussel

Brown mussel is a fast growing pest that competes with native species. It fouls navigation buoys, petroleum platforms, wrecks, jetties and other hard surfaces.

Read more on Brown mussel

Cane toad

The cane toad predates on native species and competes for food and habitat. Poison glands on either side of the head can harm native predators.

Read more on Cane toad

Caulerpa cylindracea

Caulerpa cylindracea is a marine alga that can overgrow and outcompete native species. It has been detected in a number of areas within South Australia

Read more on Caulerpa cylindracea

Caulerpa taxifolia

Caulerpa taxifolia is a marine alga that: outcompetes native seaweeds and seagrasses by forming dense mats and spreads from fragments that are often detached by boating equipment.

Read more on Caulerpa taxifolia

Chinese Mitten Crab

The Chinese Mitten Crab poses risks to human health as a carrier of lung fluke and competes with native crustaceans.

Read more on Chinese Mitten Crab

Cichlid species

There are a number of highly aggressive cichlid species including Tilapia species and Pearl Cichlids. During breeding season these species become highly aggressive in competing for food and habitat with native species.

Read more on Cichlid species

European Carp (includes Koi Carp)

European Carp is an extremely common and invasive species which degrades waterways and competes with native species for food.

Read more on European Carp (includes Koi Carp)

European Fan Worm

The European Fan Worm competes for food and habitat with other marine species colonises infrastructure and reefs spreads by attaching to boats and equipment.

Read more on European Fan Worm

European Green Shore Crab

The European Green Shore Crab competes for food and shelter with native crustacean species, can carry parasites which can impact bird species and spreads naturally and via shipping.

Read more on European Green Shore Crab

Goldfish

Goldfish is a common aquarium species that competes with native fish. It must not to be returned to the water when caught.

Read more on Goldfish

Harris Mud Crab

Harris mud crab competes with native species and can spread crustacean diseases. It can damage the catch in fishing nets and clog water intake pipes.

Read more on Harris Mud Crab

Japanese seaweed

Japanese seaweed forms dense forests that exclude and shade out other native species.

Read more on Japanese seaweed

Marron

Marron is a crustacean native to Western Australia which competes with native species for food and shelter. It must not to be returned to the water when caught.

Read more on Marron

Mosquito fish

Mosquito fish are small bodied fish. Usually found in large numbers, they compete with native fish and attack the fins of native species.

Read more on Mosquito fish

New Zealand Green Mussel

New Zealand green-lipped mussel could outcompete Australian blue mussels and is thought to have similar invasive potential to other Perna mussel species. It could seriously affect mussel industries in Victoria and Tasmania.

Read more on New Zealand Green Mussel

New Zealand Screwshell

The New Zealand Screwshell is a marine mollusc which competes for food and habitat with native species.

Read more on New Zealand Screwshell

Northern Pacific Seastar

The Northern Pacific Seastar is widely established in Tasmania and also Port Phillip Bay (Melbourne) in Victoria. Population densities can reach tens of millions. The Northern Pacific Seastar predates on native species, particularly shellfish.

Read more on Northern Pacific Seastar

Oriental Weatherloach

The Oriental Weatherloach is a medium sized fish that competes with native fish for food and tolerates a wide range of conditions.

Read more on Oriental Weatherloach

Pearl Oyster

The Pearl Oyster is a tropical Australian native oyster.

Read more on Pearl Oyster

Red Claw Crayfish

Red Claw Crayfish is a native to Queensland that can compete with native species for food and habitat.

Read more on Red Claw Crayfish

Red eared slider turtle

The red eared slider turtle is a very aggressive hunter that competes with native turtles for food and habitat and preys on native species of fish.

Read more on Red eared slider turtle

Redfin Perch

Redfin Perch is an aggressive species of perch that preys on native, small bodied fish and invertebrates. It must not be returned to the water when caught.

Read more on Redfin Perch

Roach

Roach is a medium sized species that competes with native species for food.

Read more on Roach

Smooth newt

The smooth newt competes for food and habitat with native species.

Read more on Smooth newt

Snakehead

Some species of snakeheads grow very large. They have the potential to become top tier predators of native species.

Read more on Snakehead

Speckled Livebearer

Speckled Livebearer is a small exotic aquarium fish that can degrade water quality and displace native species.

Read more on Speckled Livebearer

Tench

Tench is a medium sized species that competes with native species for food. It must not to be returned to the water when caught.

Read more on Tench

Vase Tunicate

Vase Tunicate is an ascidian (sea squirt) that colonises infrastructure, fouls aquaculture equipment and increases equipment maintenance and cleaning requirements.

Read more on Vase Tunicate

Wild Pacific Oyster

Wild Pacific Oysters establish on intertidal rocky reefs, compete for food with farmed oysters and native molluscs and can cause injuries due to their sharp shells. Wild Pacific Oysters pose a risk to the oyster aquaculture industry through competition and their potential for hosting disease.

Read more on Wild Pacific Oyster
Page Last Reviewed: 04 Sep 2019
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