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Prohibited and Restricted Species

Michigan's Prohibited and Restricted Species

Some invasive species are legally designated by the State of Michigan as either "prohibited" or "restricted." If a species is prohibited or restricted, it is unlawful to possess, introduce, import, sell or offer that species for sale as a live organism, except under certain circumstances.

The term "prohibited" is used for species that are not widely distributed in the state. Often, management or control techniques for prohibited species are not available.

The term "restricted" is applied to species that are established in the state. Management and control practices are usually available for restricted species.

Michigan's Natural Resources Environmental Protection Act (Part 413 of Act 451) established the list of prohibited and restricted species, which is regularly amended by Invasive Species Orders.

Other Michigan laws may apply to harvesting, possessing or selling regulated and unregulated species.

In addition, many invasive species are prohibited or restricted by federal laws. See Don't buy, sell, keep or move invasive species for more information.

African Oxygen Weed

(Lagarosiphon major)

Prohibited in Michigan

African oxygen weed is a dark green submerged aquatic plan. It has alternating leaves that curl downwards and forms a dense mat up to three feet thick. The stems grow up to 20 feet long with 'J' shaped curve.

More information: African oxygen weed

Asian Longhorned Beetle

(Anoplophora glabripennis)

Watch List - Prohibited in Michigan

The Asian longhorned beetle can attack and kill many tree species including poplar, willow, sycamore, and horse chestnut, but its favorite host are maple trees. The larvae feed in tunnels in the wood of the tree branches and trunks, eventually killing the tree.

More information: Asian longhorned beetle

Autumn Olive

(Elaeagnus umbellata)

Restricted in Michigan

Autumn olive is a deciduous shrub that can grow to 20 feet high. Its leaves are bright green on top and distinctively silver underneath. Spring-blooming cream or yellow flowers have a strong fragrance and abundant red berries are lightly speckled and easily seen in the fall. The flowers bloom in August and September in Michigan.

More information: Autumn olive


(Rhodeus sericeus)

Prohibited in Michigan

Bitterling are small (6-7 cm) fish with grey-green backs and silvery white sides and belly. They have a metallic streak on the hind ends of their sides. They live in marshes, lakes, ponds, muddy/sandy pools, and backwaters of rivers.

More information: Bitterling

Brown Garden Snail

(Cantareus aspersa)

Prohibited in Michigan

Brown garden snails have a brown body with a shell that tends to be brown, tan and yellow with swirls, bands, and flecks. Their shells can grow up to 1.25 inches in diameter. They leave behind a silvery slime trail.

More information: Brown garden snail

Carp - Bighead

(Hypophthalmichthys nobilis)

Watch List - Prohibited in Michigan

Bighead carp have a large head with a toothless mouth and eyes that sit below the mouth. They can grow to 5 feet long and weigh up to 90 lbs. Bighead carp are able to establish populations in water bodies with a wide range of temperatures.  Spawning generally occurs following a flood event in large, turbulent rivers.

More information: Bighead carp

Carp - Black

(Mylopharyngodon piceus)

Watch List - Prohibited in Michigan

Black carp have a pointed head that is flattened at the front. Scales are blackish-brown darkening to bluish-gray at the edges, with an almost white belly.  They can grow to 6 feet long and weigh up to 150 lbs. Black carp inhabit large rivers and lakes but require large rivers for reproduction.

More information: Black carp

Carp - Grass

(Ctenopharyngodon idella)

Watch List - Prohibited in Michigan

Grass carp have large scales that appear crosshatched and eyes that sit even with the mouth. They can reach lengths of more than 5 feet and weigh more than 80 lbs. They prefer quiet, shallow waters.

More information: Grass carp

Carp - Silver

(Hypophthalmichthys molitrix)

Watch List - Prohibited in Michigan

Silver carp have a light silver body with a white belly and eyes that sit below the downturned, toothless mouth. They may exceed three feet in length and can weigh up to 60 lbs. These fish primarily inhabit large rivers.

More information: Silver carp

Carthusian Snail

(Monacha cartusiana)

Prohibited in Michigan

Carthusian snails have shells that are a pale white-yellow color and may have brown stripes. The opening of the shell is typically the darkest part of the shell in adults. The shell size is 6-10 mm high, 9-17 mm wide.

More information: Carthusian snail

Eurasian Collared Dove

(Streptopelia decaocto)

Prohibited in Michigan

Eurasian collared doves are a mostly gray bird with a white upper body. They have a black collar on the back of the neck, a slender black bill, deep red iris of the eye, broad squared tail with black base, and dark red legs and feet.

More information: Eurasian collared dove

Eurasian Ruffe

(Gymnocephalus cernuus)

Prohibited in Michigan

Eurasian ruffe are about 25 mm in length and have olive-brown color on the back side and a yellow-white belly. They have fused dorsal fins with no notch and dark spots on the membranes between the rays of the fins. They have a small, downturned mouth.

More information: Eurasian ruffe

Giant African Snail

(Lissachatina fulica)

Prohibited in Michigan

The giant African snail is very large - about the size of an adult's fist. Their shells can reach eight inches in length and four inches in diameter. The shell is brownish with dark brown vertical stripes on at least half of the length of the shell and coloration lightens to almost white at the tip of the shell.

More information: Giant African snail

Giant Hogweed

(Heracleum mantegazzianum)

Prohibited in Michigan

Giant hogweed is a plant that has the potential to harm humans. The plant grows 7-14 feet tall and has white flowers in an umbrella-shaped cluster up to 2.5 feet across. The stems are green with purple splotches and visible coarse, white hairs. The leaves are up to 5 feet wide, lobed and deeply incised.

More information: Giant hogweed

Girdled Snail

(Hygromia cinctella)

Prohibited in Michigan

The girdled snail has a triangular or pyramid shaped shell that is about 6-7 mm high and 10-14 mm wide. The shells tend to be brown to yellow with a white band on the widest part. The shell has 5-6 whorls and the opening of the shell is oval.

More information: Girdled snail

Golden Mussel

(Limnoperna fortunei)

Prohibited in Michigan

Golden mussels have shells that are golden or yellowish, a dorsal mantle fusion, and the average length is 20 mm (maximum length is 40-60 mm). They may form colonies as large as 80,000 individuals. They are primarily a freshwater species capable of tolerating polluted and contaminated waters.

More information: Golden mussel

Heath Snail

(Xerolenta obvia)

Prohibited in Michigan

Heath snails have chalky while colored shells with dark spiral bands. They have a flattened shell shape with a relatively large umbilicus (hole on the center of the shell's underside in some species). The opening of the shell is oval.

More information: Heath snail


(Leuciscus idus)

Prohibited in Michigan

Ide are chunky-bodied fish with a distinctly arched belly and back and a small, bluntly pointed head. There are two colors - silver morphs have greyish-olive backs and silver-white sides and bellies with reddish pelvic and anal fins. Golden morphs have bright orange backs and silvery-orange sides and bellies with bright orange dorsal fins.

More information: Ide

Japanese Knotweed

(Fallopia japonica)

Prohibited in Michigan

Japanese knotweed is a perennial shrub that can grow from 3 - 10 feet high. It has hollow stalks that are persistent through the winter and look similar to bamboo. The stems have a fine white coating that rubs off easily. The flowers are arranged in spikes near the end of the stems that are small, numerous and creamy white in color. Flowers bloom in August and September in Michigan.

More information: Japanese knotweed

Japanese/Oriental Weatherfish

(Misgurnus anguillicaudatus)

Restricted in Michigan

Oriental weatherfish have an eel-like body that is brown with greenish-grey marbled markings on the dorsal side and pale silver coloration on the ventral side. They have a small, narrow mouth with thick and fleshy lips and six barbels. They can reach 28 cm in length but averages are smaller. The female is often longer than the male.

More information: Japanese/Oriental weatherfish

Killer Shrimp

(Dikerogammarus villosus)

Prohibited in Michigan

Killer shrimp have body coloration ranges from transparent and striped to a uniform dark color. They have a curled body that that is laterally compressed. The first four pairs of legs extend down and backwards and they have two pairs of antennae. Their habitat consists of fresh/brackish water in lakes, rivers, and canals.

More information: Killer shrimp

Marbled Crayfish

(Procambarus virginalis)

Watch List - Prohibited in Michigan

A medium-sized (4 to 5 inch) crayfish with slender or narrow claws.  Streaked or marbled coloration pattern is most visible on the back, or carapace.  In the wild, most range in color from olive to brown, but in captivity, colors can include tan, red or blue.  

More information: Marbled crayfish

New Zealand Mudsnail

(Potamopyrgus antipodarum)

Watch List - Prohibited in Michigan

New Zealand mudsnails are an average of 1/8 inch long with 5-6 whorls on their shell. The shells vary from light brown to black. They can tolerate a wide variety of habitats including reservoirs, estuaries, rivers, and lakes.

More information: New Zealand mudsnail

Northern Snakehead

(Channa argus)

Watch List - Prohibited in Michigan

Northern snakeheads can reach up to 33 inches in length. They have a tan color with dark brown mottling, an extended anal fin, a pelvic fin up near the gills and pectoral fins. They have sharp teeth like a pike or pickerel.

More information: Northern snakehead


(Myocastor coypus)

Watch List - Prohibited in Michigan

Nutria are approximately two feet long with yellow or orange colored front teeth. They have thick, rat-like tails covered with bristly hairs.

More information: Nutria

Quagga Mussel

(Dreissena rostriformis bugensis)

Restricted in Michigan

Quagga mussels have fan-shaped shells that are more rounded than zebra mussels, and they won't sit flat on the ventral side. The shells color ranges from almost white to tan or brown and usually have darker concentric rings. Quagga mussels can reach about two inches in length.

More information: Quagga mussel

Red Swamp Crayfish

(Procambarus clarkii)

Watch List - Prohibited in Michigan

Red Swamp Crayfish have dark red color with bright red raised spots - they look like small lobsters. They can live in a variety of permanent freshwater habitats. They feed heavily on snails, fish, amphibians, and plants.

More information: Red swamp crayfish

Round Goby

(Apollonia melanostomus)

Prohibited in Michigan

Round gobies can reach up to 30.5 cm. The young fish are solid slate-gray color. Older fish are blotched with black and brown. They have a black spot on the rear of the first dorsal fin and a fused pelvic fin. They are a freshwater fish and behavior includes perching on rocks in shallow areas of water. They may also flourish in open sandy areas.

More information: Round goby


(Scardinius erythrophthalmus)

Prohibited in Michigan

Rudd can reach 48 cm in length and have a deep stock body with a green-brown back, brassy yellow sides and near white belly. They have bright red-orange pectoral, pelvic, and anal fins. The tail fins are red-brown. They have a red spot on the iris of the eye. Rudd prefer stagnant and slow-flowing freshwater with a lot of vegetation.

More information: Rudd

Russian Boar

(Sus scrofa Linnaeus)

Prohibited in Michigan

Russian boar most often are brown or black and appear hairy. The piglets are lighter in color and often have stripes. They have a long, straight, narrow snout in comparison to domestic pigs. They have a straight tail with a tuft at the end. They are commonly found in rural areas but are adapting to suburban areas.

More information: Russian boar

Rusty Crayfish

(Faxonius rusticus)

Restricted in Michigan

Rusty Crayfish are lobster-like with a brown body up to 6 inches in length and oversized claws that have an oval opening when closed and black bands at the tips. Mature crayfish have a dark, rusty spot on each side of the carapace.

More information: Rusty crayfish

Stone Moroko

(Pseudorasbora parva)

Prohibited in Michigan

Stone moroko are approximately eight cm long and have yellowish-green to silver body color. They have pale yellow fins and the dorsal fin have a darker stripe. Young ones have a dark stripe along the side. They prefer well vegetated ponds, small lakes, and small channels.

More information: Stone moroko


(Tinca tinca)

Prohibited in Michigan

Tench have thick-set bodies ranging from deep olive to pale golden tan and bright orange-red eyes. They have a small barbell at both corners of the mouth. Tench are freshwater members of the carp family that inhabit lakes with weedy or muddy bottoms. They are able to survive in low oxygen, degraded waters.

More information: Tench

Tubenose Goby

(Proterorhinus semilunaris)

Prohibited in Michigan

Tubenose gobies are small, reaching lengths of up to 11 cm. They are mottled brown in color with small scales and have conjoined pectoral fins and two dorsal fins. They have a tube-shaped protuberance extending from each anterior nostril. Unlike the round goby, they have lines and no spot on the first dorsal fins.

More information: Tubenose goby

Wels Catfish

(Silurus glanis)

Prohibited in Michigan

Wels catfish can grow up to 10 feet long and live up to 80 years. They have a very large mouth with three pairs of barbels, one pair on the upper jaw and two on the lower jaw. They have brown back and sides with a nearly white belly. They generally inhabit lowland rivers, backwaters, and well-vegetated lakes.

More information: Wels catfish

Wrinkled Dune Snail

(Candidula intersecta)

Prohibited in Michigan

Wrinkled dune snails have a shell that is pale white or yellow with brown spots or bands. Their body is often pale-yellow or blue-gray and the shell varies in size from 7-13 mm long and 5-6 mm high.

More information: Wrinkled dune snail


(Cherax destructor)

Prohibited in Michigan

Yabby Crayfish have two enlarged front claws, four pairs of walking legs followed by four pairs of swimmerets (swimming legs). They have a smooth carapace and their color ranges from olive-green to brown, but are sometimes red, yellow, or black.

More information: Yabby


(Sander lucioperca)

Prohibited in Michigan

Zanders have a slender body with a grey-green back, white belly, and dark transverse rings. The average length is 50 cm. They have two dorsal fins, pointed head and many small teeth with a few large teeth. They are not a hybrid of a pike and perch, although they are also known as "European pike perch."

More information: Zander

Zebra Mussel

(Dreissena polymorpha)

Restricted in Michigan

Zebra mussels have shells that are triangular in shape and can sit flat on the ventral side (unlike quagga mussels which have more rounded shells and cannot sit flat). Their shells rang in color from almost white to tan or brown with darker concentric rings. The average length of a zebra mussel is one inch.

More information: Zebra mussel

Brazilian Elodea

(Egeria densa - synonyms: Elodea densa, Anacharis densa and Philotria densa)

Watch List - Prohibited in Michigan

Brazilian elodea is a bushy aquatic plant with dense whorls of bright green leaves. It can be found in ponds, lakes, and sluggish rivers and streams.


More information: Brazilian elodea

Carolina Fanwort

(Cabomba caroliniana)

Prohibited in Michigan

Carolina fanwort is a submerged aquatic plant, rooted in the mud of stagnant or slow-flowing water. The underwater leaves are approximately two inches across and divided into fine branches. The flowering branches grow above the water surface with diamond shaped leaves. The flowers are small and range from white to pale yellow.

More information: Carolina fanwort

Curly-Leaf Pondweed

(Potamogeton crispus)

Restricted in Michigan

Curly-leaf pondweed is submersed, perennial herb with thick roots and a flowering spike that grows above the water's surface. The leaves are dark green with wavy, serrated margins. It starts growing in fall and winter, flowers in late spring and dies in late July.

More information: Curly-leaf pondweed


(Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii)

Prohibited in Michigan

Cylindro is one of many species of blue-green algae and is considered invasive and harmful. The blooms are just below the water surface of fresh water habitats and may appear as foggy green/yellow water. Cylindro has been documented in many inland lakes and reservoirs around the Great Lakes region.

More information: Cylindro

Eurasian Watermilfoil

(Myriophyllum spicatum)

Restricted in Michigan

Eurasian watermilfoil is an aquatic plant with stems that are whitish-pick to reddish-brown, leaves that are greyish-green with finely divided pairs of leaflets that are 1/2 - 2 inches long that give the plant a feathery appearance. The leaves are arranged in whorls of 3-6. Yellow or reddish flowers with 4 parts on a projected spike sitting 2-4 inches above the water.

More information: Eurasian watermilfoil

Emerald Ash Borer

(Agrilus planipennis)

Prohibited in Michigan

The Emerald Ash Borer is a bright, metallic green insect with purple abdominal segments under its wing covers. They are approximately 1/2 inch in length and can fit on the head of a penny. The larva are worm-like. The adults feed on the foliage of ash tress and the larvae tunnel and feed on the underside of the bark.

More information: Emerald ash borer

European Frog-bit

(Hydrocharis morsus-ranae)

Watch List - Prohibited in Michigan

European frog-bit has kidney-shaped to heart-shaped leaves and a single white flower with three round petals and a yellow center. This plant can be found free-floating or rooted in shallow water. Its habitat includes slow moving rivers, sheltered inlets, ponds, and ditches.

More information: European frog-bit

Flowering Rush

(Butomus umbellatus)

Restricted in Michigan

Flowering rush is a perennial, aquatic herbaceous plant that typically grows in shallow sections of slow moving streams or rivers, lake shores, irrigation ditches and wetlands. The leaves have triangular cross section, are narrow, and twist toward the tip. When flowering the flowers grow in round umbrella-like clusters of 20-50 flowers, 6 light pink to rose colored petals per flower, 9 stamens per flower. 

More information: Flowering rush

Giant Salvinia

(Salvinia molesta, auriculata, biloba, or herzogii)

Prohibited in Michigan

Giant salvinia is a free-floating aquatic fern with oblong leaves that are 1/2 - 1 1/2 inches long and vary in color from green to gold to brown. The leaves have arched, white hairs resembling egg beaters. The submerged fern fronds are stringy and root-like, but the plant has no real roots. Leaves grow vertically and curl creating a chain-like structure.

More information: Giant salvinia


(Hydrilla verticillata)

Watch List - Prohibited in Michigan

Hydrilla is a submerged aquatic plant with generally green leaves whorled in a group of 4-8. They have very slender stems that grow up to 30 feet long and branch out considerably near water surface.

More information: Hydrilla

Parrot Feather

(Myriophyllum aquaticum - synonyms: Myriophyllum brasiliensis, Myriophyllum brasiliense, Myriophyllum proserpinacoides and Enydria aquatica).

Note: "Dwarf parrot feather" and "dwarf red parrot feather" are common names for a dwarf selection sold in trade. 

Watch List - Prohibited in Michigan

Parrot feather has spikes of stiff, feathery leaves that grow in whorls of 4-6. It has bright green upper stems that emerge up to one foot above water and small inconspicuous white flowers where leaves attach to the section of stem above water.

More information: Parrot feather

Phragmites (Common Reed)

(Phragmites australis)

Restricted in Michigan

Invasive phragmites (also known as common reed) is a warm-season perennial grass with a rigid hollow stem and leaves that are flat, smooth, and green to grayish-green. The flowers grow as dense branched clusters on the end of each stem that are open and feathery at maturity. The plant ranges in height from 6-13 feet.

More information: Phragmites

Purple Loosestrife

(Lythrum salicaria)

Restricted in Michigan

Purple loosestrife is a perennial herb with a woody square stem covered in downy hair. It varies in height from 4 - 10 feet. It has leaves that are arranged in pairs or whorls and magenta flower spikes with 5 - 7 petals per flower that are present for most of the summer.

More information: Purple loosestrife

Starry Stonewort

(Nitellopsis obtusa)

Prohibited in Michigan

Starry stonewort is a submerged aquatic plant that invades lakes, ponds, reservoirs, and slow moving rivers. It has whorls of 4-6 branchlets/leaves with blunt tips. They have star-shaped bulbils produced at the nodes, generally 3-6 mm wide. They can reach up to 33 inches in length.

More information: Starry stonewort

Water Chestnut

(Trapa natans)

Watch List - Prohibited in Michigan

Water chestnut has green floating leaves with sharply serrated edges that form a densely crowded rosette. They produce small, white 4-petaled flowers and a woody nut surrounded by sharp barbed spines.

More information: Water chestnut

Water Soldier

(Stratiotes aloides)

Watch List - Prohibited in Michigan

Water soldier is a submerged aquatic plant that becomes buoyant during the summer. Its leaves are 40cm long, bright green, sword-shaped, have sharply serrated edges, and form a large rosette. The roots may or may not be attached to mud. This plant looks similar to an aloe plant, spider plant, or top of a pineapple.

More information: Water soldier

Yellow Floating Heart

(Nymphoides peltata)

Watch List - Prohibited in Michigan

Yellow floating heart has bright yellow flowers with 5 petals located above the surface of the water. Leaves are circular or heart shaped and are alternately arranged on the stem but oppositely on the flower stalk.

More information: Yellow floating heart