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Invasive Species of Concern for Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Governor’s Invasive Species Council has identified about 300 invasive plants, insects, pathogens, and animals as having the greatest current or potential negative impacts for Pennsylvania. 

This list is provided to inform development of regulation, policy, and education to protect our agricultural and natural resources.  If you have any questions about the species listed, please contact Kris Abell, Council Coordinator, at


More than 140 invasive plant species pose significant risk of negative impacts for Pennsylvania. Each species has an overall priority score from 1 to 10, based on a 2021 survey of council members. Risk of invasiveness, threat to state lands and natural areas, and importance to the landscape and nursery industry are also scored. Whether the species is on the Pennsylvania Controlled Plan and Noxious Weed List is indicated. You’ll find other useful information as well in this searchable and sortable comprehensive list.

Related Plant Lists

Plant Pathogens - PDF

There are 25 plant pathogens of most concern for Pennsylvania. Beech bark disease is already established and causing damage, and beech leaf disease, strawberry fruit rot, and corn tar spot are emerging. Twenty-one other pathogens are potential threats.

Insects - PDF

There are 18 insects of greatest concern for Pennsylvania. Spongy moth, Japanese beetle, and brown marmorated stinkbug are established and having substantial negative impacts. Hemlock woolly adelgid, spotted lanternfly, and other species aren’t yet completely established but are in the state and spreading quickly to new areas. Asian longhorned beetle, northern giant hornet, and other insects haven’t yet arrived in Pennsylvania but pose considerable threat.  

Aquatic Animals - PDF

Almost 60 invasive aquatic animals are identified as of greatest concern for Pennsylvania, from highly impactful emerging species, like zebra mussels, quagga mussels, and northern snakehead, to not-yet-present but potential major concerns, including silver carp and bighead carp. These must be prevented from being introduced.

Aquatic Animal Pathogens - PDF

Ten viruses and diseases are of greatest concern to Pennsylvania’s aquatic animals and related industries. Viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus, koi herpesvirus, and gill lice have been detected in limited locations and have the potential to seriously impact Pennsylvania native fish populations.

Mollusks and Other Land Invertebrates - PDF

Asian jumping worm and broadhead planarians are emerging threats to forests and natural areas and were recently found in some parts of Pennsylvania. Some snail and slug species aren’t yet found in Pennsylvania but have the potential to greatly impact field and greenhouse agriculture. 

Birds and Mammals - PDF

Five bird and mammal species are of concern, including feral swine, which have limited distribution to date in Pennsylvania but considerable potential for negative impacts, and the rodent nutria, which hasn’t been detected yet but is potentially a significant problem.