Archived species alerts

Invasive garden ant - Lasius neglectus

Invasive garden ant - <em>Lasius neglectus</em>
This is a species alert:

Lasius neglectus is a small invasive ant, native to southeastern Europe, Turkey and Uzbekistan. In Europe it is a widespread pest which forms supercolonies that are a nuisance in buildings and can have severe negative impacts on native invertebrates.

In 2009 L. neglectus was discovered in Gloucestershire and it has since been found in several other locations in England.

Often found in and around buildings, in disturbed, urban and semi urban habitats, or places with a high level of plant exchange, such as botanical gardens. Most likely to be spread in soil with potted plants, but may also be transported with garden waste, agricultural materials, or on building materials.

Look out for unusual and persistent infestations in houses or large numbers of small, dark ants during winter. If you suspect you have found this species, collect voucher specimens for identification and contact:

Lasius neglectus resources:

Quagga Mussel - Dreissena rostriformis bugensis

Quagga Mussel - <em>Dreissena rostriformis bugensis</em>

This is a species alert issued as part of the GB rapid response protocol:

In October 2014 Quagga Mussel was found in Wraysbury Reservoir and the Wraysbury River, a tributary of the River Colne, near Egham, Surrey, and subsequently in a number of other waterbodies. This is the first UK record of this species.

The Quagga Mussel (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis) is a highly invasive non-native freshwater mussel from the Ponto-Caspian region, very similar to Zebra Mussel. It can significantly alter whole ecosystems by filtering out large quantities of nutrients and is also a serious biofouling risk blocking pipes smothering boat hulls and other structures.

There is no effective eradication method for quagga mussel once it has established in a reservoir and the downstream river system. As recommended in a recent review commissioned by Defra of options to deal with the arrival of quagga mussel, the best method of slowing the spread of the quagga mussel is by applying better biosecurity through the Check, Clean, Dry approach.

You can learn more about biosecurity here:

Further sightings should be reported online using this reporting form:

Or send an email with a photograph and location details to:

A briefing note for this species is provided below, along with information on identification, biosecurity and other resources.

Quagga Mussel resources:

[Image courtesy of David Aldridge of the University of Cambridge]

Killer shrimps - D. villosus and D. haemobaphes

Killer shrimps - <em>D. villosus and D. haemobaphes</em>

This is a species alert issued as part of the GB rapid response protocol:

Dikerogammarus villosus and Dikerogammarus haemobaphes, sometimes known as 'killer shrimps', are invasive non-native species that have spread from the Ponto-Caspian Region of Eastern Europe. They are both voracious predators that kill a range of native species, including young fish, and can significantly alter ecosystems.

D. villosos was originally found in Great Britain in 2010, while D. haemobaphes was found more recently in 2012.

Good biosecurity is essential to help slow the spread of these species.  You can learn more about biosecurity here:  Check, Clean, Dry

Sightings of either species should be reported to:

Briefing notes with the latest information about these species are provided below, along with additional resources such as ID guides and risk assessments.

Combined Ponto-Caspian shrimps briefing notes:

Dikerogammarus haemobaphes

Briefing notes:

Additional resources for D. haemobaphes:

Dikerogammarus villosus

Briefing notes:

The D. villosus Task Group oversees and coordinates the response to this species in Great Britain. It has produced a position statement which summarises the rationale behind the response and is intended to help all stakeholders understand what we are currently collectively aiming to achieve.

Additional resources for D. villosus:

[Image courtesy of the Environment Agency]

Carpet Sea-squirt - Didemnum vexillum

Carpet Sea-squirt - <em>Didemnum vexillum</em>

This is a species alert issued as part of the GB rapid response protocol:

Carpet Sea-squirt (Didemnum vexillum) is a highly invasive non-native marine animal that could threaten conservation, fishing and the shellfish industry.

Thought to be originally from Japan, it has become a pest in other countries by smothering native species and interfering with fishing, aquaculture and other activities.  It has recently been found in some marinas in England and Wales and there are strong concerns that it will spread more widely.

Use this webpage to report your sighting:

Or email:

Further information:

Thin strip of image show tree trunk and bark