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World Register of Introduced Marine Species (WRiMS)


# alien species: 2,316
# species with uncertain origin: 316
# species with unknown origin: 136

Botrylloides violaceus The World Register of Introduced Marine Species (WRiMS) records which marine species in the World Register of Marine species (WoRMS) have been introduced deliberately or accidentally by human activities to geographic areas outside their native range. It excludes species that colonised new locations naturally (so called ‘range extensions’), even if in response to climate change.

WRiMS notes the origin (source location) of the species at a particular location by country, sea area and/or latitude longitude as available. If the species is reported to have had ecological or economic impacts it is considered invasive in that location. Each record is linked to a source publication or specialist database. A glossary of terminology is available. Links have been provided to species profiles of well-known marine invasive species in the Global Invasive Species Database (GISD) of the IUCN Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG).

In using WRiMS, users need to consider possible species misidentifications in the sources, and that for some species it is uncertain which is their native and introduced ranges. Whether a species is ‘invasive’ can vary between locations and over time at a particular location.

A fuller description of WRiMS is available in this paper:

Costello, M.J.; Dekeyzer, S.; Galil, B.; Hutchings, P.; Katsanevakis, S.; Pagad, S.; Robinson, T.; Turon, X.; Vandepitte, L.; Vanhoorne, B.; Verfaille, K.; Willan, R.; Rius, M. (2021). Introducing the World Register of Introduced Marine Species (WRiMS). Management of Biological Invasions 12(4): 792-811. https://dx.doi.org/10.3391/mbi.2021.12.4.02

Didemnum vexillum



WoRMS starring in season 3 of the LifeWatch ERIC podcast

Added on: 2022-07-20 11:44:16 by Tavernier, Annelies
The first of a new LifeWatch ERIC podcast series launched today, 20 July 2022, focuses on the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) and the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) database. ...

Formally introducing: the World Register of Introduced Marine Species (WRiMS)

Added on: 2021-12-14 15:19:20 by Dekeyzer, Stefanie
In a publication hot off the press, the WRiMS editors and the WoRMS Data Management Team discuss the data sources and history, the data validation, the database structure and software, the data management and the future needs of WRiMS. ...


Background of the database

In 2008-2009 the IUCN Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) worked on a project, within the framework of the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS), that developed an annotated dataset of marine introduced and invasive species for the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) in order to flag species on the register as "alien and invasive species".

Both online databases and publications were consulted with an aim to achieve global coverage. They include:

  • Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe (DAISIE)
  • Galil, B. (2009). Taking stock: inventory of alien species in the Mediterranean Sea. Biological Invasions 11(2): 359-372.
  • Lasram, F.B.R.; Mouillot, D. (2009). Increasing southern invasion enhances congruence between endemic and exotic Mediterranean fish fauna. Biological Invasions 11: 697-711.
  • Hayes, K.R. (2005). Marine Species Introductions. Unpublished data from CSIRO.
  • Molnar, J.L.; Gamboa, R.L.; Revenga, C.; Spalding, M.D. (2008). Assessing the global threat of invasive species to marine biodiversity. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 6(9): 485-492.

In addition to biological status (represented as occurrence, provenance and invasiveness), annotations included higher taxonomy, origin of species, introduced location, as well as (where available) information on the date of first record/introduction and pathway of introduction.

In 2013-2014, ISSG worked with the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) on a data collection project developed within the framework of the Biology Project of the European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) to complete trait information related to "invasiveness". The dataset submitted in 2009 was updated using additional data and information from online databases such as:

  • The Global Invasive Species Database (GISD)
  • The European Alien Species Information Network (EASIN)
  • The Information system on Aquatic Non-indigenous Species (AquaNIS)
  • The National Exotic Marine and Estuarine Species Information System (NEMESIS)
  • and (recently) published literature

The terminology and definitions to describe occurrence, provenance and invasiveness have been revised and expanded. Additionally, any available information on abundance, pathways of introduction and spread, evidence of impacts on biodiversity were documented. The geographic coverage of this dataset is global. Focus was placed on documenting authoritative information on marine species introductions in the recognized marine bio-invasion hotspots.

Editorial team


Usage of data from the World Register of Introduced Marine Species in scientific publications should be acknowledged by citing as follows:

  • Costello, M. J.; Ahyong, S.; Bieler, R.; Boudouresque, C.; Desiderato, A.; Downey, R.; Galil, B. S.; Gollasch, S.; Hutchings, P.; Kamburska, L.; Katsanevakis, S.; Kupriyanova, E.; Lejeusne, C.; Ma, K. C. K.; Marchini, A.; Occhipinti, A.; Pagad, S.; Panov, V. E.; Poore, G. C. B.; Rewicz, T.; Robinson, T. B.; Rius, M.; Sobczyk, R.; Stern, N.; Turon, X.; Valls Domedel, G.; Verleye, T.; Vieira, L. M.; Willan, R. C.; Yeo Chong Jinn, D.; Zhan, A. (2024). World Register of Introduced Marine Species (WRiMS). Accessed at https://www.marinespecies.org/introduced on 2024-06-18. doi:10.14284/347
If the data from the World Register of Introduced Marine Species constitute a substantial proportion of the records used in analyses, the chief editor(s) of the database should be contacted. There may be additional data which may prove valuable to such analyses.

Individual pages are individually authored and dated. These can be cited separately: the proper citation is provided at the bottom of each page.


To request a copy of the WRiMS database, please go to our download request page. A download is by default limited to taxonomic data. If you are also interested in the distributions of WRiMS, please specify so in the field "Detailed information on the planned usage".


WRiMS came about through funding from the University of Auckland, Census of Marine Life’s OBIS funding, EMODnet Biology (to Mark Costello) and LifeWatch Belgium (from VLIZ). We acknowledge the Research Foundation Flanders who as part of the Belgian contribution to LifeWatch provided funding to organise the second WRiMS workshop held at VLIZ, in Oostende, Belgium, during the 23rd - 25th of April 2018. We thank Dr Keith Hayes for providing valuable datasets on introduced marine species, including annotations on pathways, vectors and impacts. Wim Decock and Stefanie Dekeyzer of VLIZ assisted database development. We thank the former editor Nestor Robinson for his contributions prior his recent retirement

Image credits

Banner: From left to right: Asterias amurensis - Northern Pacific seastar (Photo by: Lycoo - Wikimedia Commons); Ciona intestinalis - Sea squirt (Photo by: perezoso - Wikemedia Commons); Pterois volitans - Indo-Pacific Lionfish (Photo by: Jens Petersen - Wikimedia Commons); Tubastraea coccinea - Orange cup coral (Photo by: Nick Hobgood - Wikimedia Commons).

Introduction: Top: Botrylloides violaceus, Woods Hole (Photo by Rosana Moreira da Rocha, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Brazil). Bottom: Didemnum vexilum on experimental plates, Woods Hole (Photo by Rosana Moreira da Rocha, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Brazil)