Identify invasive and non-native species
Early detection of potentially invasive species is a critical first step in effective management and risk evaluation of non-native and invasive species. Citizens often are the first detectors when out enjoying Minnesota's great outdoors.
Here are some terms we use to describe different plant and animal species:
Non-native: An organism that is not indigenous to a region (also referred to as exotic).
Invasive: A non-native organism that causes harm to the environment, the economy or human health.
Weed: A plant that is considered undesirable in a particular location or situation. Weeds may be native or non-native.
Finding invasive species
The guidebook, By Land and By Sea: Identification guide to non-native species for Minnesota, includes a list of invasive and non-native species with their key identification traits. Some of these species have become common in parts of Minnesota with expanding ranges, while some are not yet present in the state. For others, better distribution knowledge is needed.
This is not a complete list of all invasive or non-native species in Minnesota, nor does it include all those that may be a future threat to the state.
The book is for sale through University of Minnesota bookstores.
Minnesota’s non-native species laws
Prohibited Eradicate List: (MDA) Plant must be destroyed, and transportation, propagation, or sale of these plants is prohibited.
Prohibited Invasive Species: (MN DNR) It is illegal to possess, import, purchase, transport, or introduce these species (including hybrids or cultivars) except under a permit or statutory exemption. Transport directly to MN DNR in a sealed container for identification or reporting purposes is permitted.
Quarantined: (MDA) Items that could transport this insect may not be moved without permission from the MDA.
Prohibited Control List: (MDA) Prevent the spread, maturation, and dispersal of plants; transportation, propagation, or sale of these plants is prohibited.
Regulated Invasive Species: (MN DNR) Species are legal to buy, sell, transport, and possess, but may not be introduced into a free-living state, such as release into public waters.
Restricted Noxious Weed: (MDA) Importation, sale, and transportation of plants is prohibited.
Specially Regulated: (MDA) These plants have species-specific regulations governing their location and use. Landowners should consult the MDA for specific regulations.
Unlisted Non-Native Species: (MN DNR) These species have no restrictions on sale, purchase, or possession, but they may not be introduced into a free-living state without MN DNR approval and thorough evaluation.
Do you think you’ve found a non-native species?
Note the location, take clear pictures that include a common object for scale (such as a car key, coin or ruler), and then report it!
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources provides detailed recommendations for reporting invasive species. We encourage you to become familiar with the reporting recommendations for a species of concern, but in general, you may submit a report through the Early Detection and Distributed Mapping System (EDDMapS) website or the Great Lakes Early Detection Network (GLEDN) app.
The EDDMapS website and GLEDN app make it easy to report locations of invasive species. A network of professionals verify reports.
Once verified, your report will appear on the public distribution maps and may be used by natural resource managers or regulatory agencies to make appropriate management decisions.
Invasive and non-native species for Minnesota
Pages are grouped by species type and listed alphabetically. All species are being monitored and should be reported.
Included species are regulated in Minnesota or in neighboring states, or have been reported in native landscapes at increasing rates. If a species is regulated in Minnesota, you’ll find that classification on its species page.
See the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recommendations for reporting invasive species.
These lists do not include every species being monitored by MN DNR and MDA.
Find a comprehensive list of invasive aquatic animals on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources site.
Visit the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) site for information about University of Minnesota research.
Extension and MAISRC collaborated on the AIS Identification guide, available to download or buy.
Invasive insects are regulated by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Check their complete list for updates on the status of these and others. If you find any of these, report them to Arrest the Pest.
- Asian longhorned beetle
- Brown marmorated stink bug
- Emerald ash borer
- Gypsy moth
- Japanese beetle
- Spotted wing drosophila
- Velvet longhorned beetle
Earthworms — There are thousands of species of earthworms. 16 of them are found around the Great Lakes region. They are regulated by the MN DNR. These are the most common in Minnesota:
- Angle worms
- Jumping worms
- Night crawlers
- Red wigglers
- Amur silver grass
- Birdsfoot trefoil
- Black swallow-wort
- Brown knapweed
- Bull thistle
- Burnet saxifrage
- Butter and eggs
- Canada thistle
- Common teasel
- Common tansy
- Cow vetch and hairy vetch
- Creeping Charlie
- Crown vetch
- Cutleaf teasel
- Dalmatian toadflax
- Diffuse knapweed
- Garlic mustard
- Giant hogweed
- Giant knotweed
- Grecian foxglove
- Hoary alyssum
- Japanese hops
- Japanese knotweed
- Leafy spurge
- Meadow knapweed
- Mock strawberry
- Musk thistle
- Narrowleaf bittercress
- Orange hawkweed
- Oxeye daisy
- Palmer amaranth
- Perennial sowthistle
- Plumeless thistle
- Poison hemlock
- Porcelain berry
- Queen Anne’s lace
- Siberian squill
- Smooth brome grass
- Spotted knapweed
- White and yellow sweetclover
- Wild parsnip
- Yellow bedstraw
- Yellow starthistle