Not of This State

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Published on: Jan. 2, 2008

Last revision: Dec. 6, 2010

Northern Snakehead

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Rusty Crayfish

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you might offer it to another angler at the lake or stream to use. It is illegal to dump bait into Missouri waters.

  • Laws also prohibit releasing aquatic creatures that have been held captive in private aquaria or ponds. Give your aquarium pets to a friend or to your school, or contact your local pet store or local hobby aquarium society ( for help in dealing with unwanted captive aquatic animals.
  • Do not move fish or fish parts from one body of water to another.
  • Report unusual numbers of dead or dying fish to your local Missouri Department of Conservation office.
  • Encourage other anglers and boaters to take measures to prevent the spread of fish diseases and other aquatic nuisance species.
  • Several Missouri Stream Teams are helping by monitoring lakes and streams for aquatice nuisance species. If you would like to join the effort, call 800-781-1989 or visit the Stream Team Web site at
  • We can maintain the high quality of our water resources and their fisheries if Missourians work together to prevent the introduction and spread of nuisance aquatic species. The Conservation Department’s ANS Management Plan details a solid defense against invading species, but the success of the plan requires people to appreciate the value of our water resources and to do what they can to keep them invasive-free.

    Be a Responsible Aquatic Pet Owner

    Department biologists often see the direct result of someone acquiring an animal for their home aquarium or pond without committing to its lifelong care. Large goldfish, koi or even tropical fish occasionally show up in fish population samples or are reported by the public.

    The Department sometimes receives calls from pet owners with aquatic animals that have grown too big, or have become too aggressive or just inconvenient, to own. Releasing unwanted animals into local waters often causes harm to many other animals. That’s why the Wildlife Code prohibits it.

    It’s likely that these released animals, which usually come from countries with warm climates, will shortly succumb to the cold or be eaten by native animals. However, even if they don’t survive Missouri winters, they still might expose native aquatic life to pathogens after their release.

    Before acquiring an aquatic pet, research the animal and its needs completely and commit to providing proper space and care throughout its life. Releasing it into the wild is not the answer.

    — Andrew Branson

    Current and Potential Threats

    For more information about aquatic nuisance species go to For information about all invasive species, go to The following aquatic nuisance species have already been found in Missouri.


    • Eurasian watermilfoil
    • Purple loosestrife
    • Dotted duckweed
    • Brittle naiad
    • Daphnia lumholtzi
    • Quagga mussel
    • Asian clam
    • Common carp
    • Bighead carp
    • Silver carp
    • White perch
    • Zebra mussel

    Biologists are concerned that the following nonnative species could become established in Missouri.

    • Water hyacinth
    • Hydrilla
    • New Zealand mudsnail
    • Rusty crayfish
    • Northern snakehead
    • Black carp
    • Eurasian ruffe
    • Round goby

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