The Center for Invasive Species Research based on the University of California Riverside Campus provides a forward-looking approach to managing invasions in California by exotic pests and diseases. The long-term goal of CISR is to develop a systematic methodology for dealing with such exotic pests in areas of: (a) risk assessment; (b) early detection and invasion pathway analysis; (c) rapid development of control or eradication measures; (d) improved Integrated Pest Management practices through biological, microbial, genetic, and chemical practices; (e) better understanding of patterns and processes facilitating invasion success and failure, and (f), in the longer term, exploring the possibilities of transgenic biological manipulations to control or eradicate invasive species. Read More about the CISR Mission

Red Alert!
Has the South American Palm Weevil, Rhynchophorus palmarum, Established in Southern California?
Red Alert for Palmarum

Detection of R. palmarum in California was officially confirmed in May 2011 by USDA. The initial detection was in San Ysidro in San Diego County, about 2.5 miles from the USA – Mexico border. It is likely that San Diego County was invaded by weevils that originated from Tijuana Mexico, where infestations and dead palms had been detected earlier (December 2010). Feeding by weevil larvae in the crown of palm trees, causes significant damage and results in the “crown” of the palm dying. This inability to produce new fronds gradually leads to palm death. Read more...

Red Palm WeevilInsect Eradicated: Red Palm Weevil

Effective January 18, 2015, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has declared eradication of Red Palm Weevil from Laguna Beach California. The Red Palm Weevil is widely considered the most devastating insect to attack palms has been found in Laguna Beach, Orange County California. The weevil was originally found by a landscape specialist in late August 2010 infesting a Canary Islands palm in a residential area. Read more about the Red Palm Weevil 

California's Most Unwanted

Tea Shot Hole BorerPolyphagous Shot Hole Borer

The Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer carries a symbiotic fungus. The fungus destroys the food and water conducting systems of the tree, eventually causing stress and dieback. The larvae of the beetles within the beetle gallery... Read More

Brown Marmorated Stink BugBrown Marmorated Stink Bug

Brown marmorated sting bug is notable for having a wide host range, purportedly upwards of 60 plant species, including numerous vegetable crops, fruit trees, and ornamental plant species. Among the most significant crop plants... Read More

Bed BugsBed Bugs

An infestation of bed bugs is usually identified by finding the bugs or their dark colored fecal stains in the seams of mattresses and box springs, behind headboards and peeling wallpaper, or in other cracks and crevasses...  Read More

Brown Widow SpiderBrown Widow Spider

The bite of a brown widow spider is minor in comparison to that of a black widow.  Although one frequently cited study demonstrates that, drop per drop, brown widow spider venom is as toxic as other widow species, venom toxicity... Read More

Asian Citrus PsyllidAsian Citrus Psyllid

Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) is an efficient vector of the bacterial citrus disease huanglongbing (HLB), previously called citrus greening disease, which is one of the most destructive diseases of citrus worldwide... Read More


FAQ's about Invasive Species

What are invasive species?

Invasive species, alien species, exotic pests, bio-pollution, non-indigenous species, or invasive alien species, are common names that categorize non-native animals, microbes, diseases, or plants that are pests. These pests are not native in areas in which they cause problems and they are considered "invasive" because they invade new areas and the resulting invasion causes economic or environmental problems. Read more invasive species FAQ's

Where do invasive species come from?

Invasive species are often native to a country or area different to that in which they have invaded and are now causing problems. On average, California acquires around six invasive species per year, this is a rate of one new species every 60 days. Hawaii and Florida acquire new species at a round of around 15 per year. Read more invasive species FAQ's

Why are invasive species a problem?

Invasive species cause a wide diversity of economic and environmental problems which almost always arise from uncontrolled population growth and spread in the area which has been invaded. Economic problems arise from the costs required to control invasive species, to reduce their rate of spread, or the need to inspect agricultural products that are being exported that may accidentally move the invasive pest to a new area Read more invasive species FAQ's

Quick Facts on Invasives

  • Over the period 1700 to 2010, 1,686 non-native invertebrate species established in California
  • The majority, ~84% (1,416 species) are insects, followed by mites (~8%), and spiders (~3%)
  • Small sucking insects (e.g., aphids, whiteflies, scales, mealybugs) associated with live plants, account for ~28% of established insect species
  • Approximately 44% of non-native invertebrates likely arrived from populations established elsewhere in North America (i.e., other parts of the USA and Canada)
  • From 1970 to 1989, the annual rate of detection of established populations of new invertebrate species in California was ~6 per year
  • From 1990 to 2010, the annual rate increased to ~ 9 per year, a 50% increase
  • Of the new invertebrate species that have established in California ~19% (314 species) are considered pests
  • Changes in border security (i.e., the transition from USDA-APHIS to Customs Border Protection) after 11 September 2001 did not cause any statistically significant changes in the numbers of non-native invertebrate species detected annually in California

    Read more about Invasive Species in California


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More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Career OpportunitiesUCR Libraries
Campus StatusDirections to UCR

CISR Information

Center for Invasive Species Research
Chapman Hall, Room 108A

Mark Hoddle
Director of the Center for Invasive Species Research
Tel: (951) 827-4714
E-mail: cisr@ucr.edu

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