Threat of invasive pests from within national borders

Dean R. Paini, Susan P. Worner, David C. Cook, Paul J. De Barro, Matthew B. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Predicting and ranking potential invasive species present significant challenges to researchers and biosecurity agencies. Here we analyse a worldwide database of pest species assemblages to generate lists of the top 100 insect pests most likely to establish in the United States and each of its 48 contiguous states. For the United States as a whole, all of the top 100 pest species have already established. Individual states however tend to have many more 'gaps' with most states having at least 20 species absent from their top 100 list. For all but one state, every exotic pest species currently absent from a state's top 100 can be found elsewhere in the contiguous United States. We conclude that the immediate threat from known invasive insect pests is greater from within the United States than without. Our findings have potentially significant implications for biosecurity policy, emphasizing the need to consider biosecurity measures beyond established national border interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number115
JournalNature communications
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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