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Invertebrate Species Subcommittee

The Invertebrate Species Subcommittee facilitates timely communication and action across federal agencies to address invasive invertebrate issues.

Invertebrate species are animals which lack hard internal bones, specifically a spine or backbone. Example species include: spiders and other insects; squids; sponges; flatworms; jellyfish; roundworms; segmented worms; and others. Invertebrate species make up to 97% of all animal species.

Strategic Plan


The Nation has a network that is prepared to prevent, respond and recover from the impact of high consequence invertebrate invasive species to ensure public health, economic viability, environmental and agricultural biosecurity and sustainability.


Facilitate timely communication and action across federal agencies to address invasive invertebrate issues.

Subcommittee Roles

  • Create awareness of the crisis and urgency of need.
  • Articulate current capacity, roles and future needs.
  • Promote partnerships.
  • Promote training and capacity building activities.

Success Indicators

  • Cross-Agency Collaboration/Coordination and Networking
    • Tight linkage between the agencies on invasive species
    • Agencies are working together on a response to invasive species where it is appropriate
    • Communication mechanisms are well in place and used by all agencies
    • A system for cross agency action on invaders (seamless and very timely)
    • Networking - we at least know who to call and tell us who's in charge
    • Where appropriate, integrated pest management principles will be applied
  • Recognition - as a "go-to" entity
    • The Departments comes to us if needed
    • The subcommittee is recognized as a resource for APHIS science panels
    • When we can address issues better than any single agency group can by themselves
    • The agencies know about and engage the ITAP
  • Tangible Results
    • We are reducing risks to agricultural and natural resources
    • A harmonized system for detection and rapid response across agencies for new invasives
    • Greater number of ecosystem areas restored after being damaged by invertebrate invasive species
    • Agency cross-cutting framework for addressing invasive species
    • Effective eradication and suppression, with low environmental impact
    • Tools and strategies for mitigation prior to entry into the U.S
    • Tools to predict when and where invaders could spread
    • Technology transfer to involve industry to provide lures & hardware
    • Increase in-house awareness; involve universities, work with pollinator partners; raise awareness of value of invertebrates; classroom education (ground up)
    • A "spider web" with "spiders" on the web waiting to detect the foreign bug
    • Harmonized system for early detection and response by coordinated scientific support for responding to high consequence invasive pests
    • Demonstrate success economically
    • Public awareness - Invasive Species Awareness Day (ISAD); is close to the recognition of Earth Day
    • Be fully funded like "ANSTF"
  • Subcommittee Functionality
    • We have metrics to measure what we have done
    • We have a physical product out of the subcommittee
    • We clearly demonstrate that this ITAP subcommittee fills a need that is not otherwise met
    • In 2 years the subcommittee has accomplished the tasks in its work plan and meets to revise its strategic plan and define next tasks
    • Fulfills the appropriate roles to support the preparedness, prevention, response and recovery of invertebrate invasive species as outlined in the National Response Plan
    • The subcommittee utilizes existing success models for timely, cross agency detection and response (case studies: soy bean, pink hibiscus mealybug, cactus moth, west Nile virus, etc.); and learns lessons for the future from errors in the past
    • Our vision is aligned with the ITAP mission and National Response Plan: "To provide adequate information, technical support, cooperation and education on invasive species ..." "Prevent, detect, access, monitor, contain or eradicate invasive invertebrate species"
    • The subcommittee follows the ISAC (Invasive Species Advisory Committee) definition of invasive species
    • The subcommittee has moved from coordinating to cooperating to truly collaborating

Goals and Strategies

  1. Establish a formalized system to prioritize potential and current invasive invertebrates and their pathways.
    1. Articulate each agency's role in the formalized system
    2. Maintain a cross-agency matrix of subject matter experts
    3. Identify gaps in expertise, structure, legal authority
  2. Establish a system for communications and responses to invasive invertebrates.
    1. Contribute critical information to ITAP Website (include pest alert function-subject matter experts)
    2. Identify early detection and rapid response (EDRR) systems and strategies for harmonization
  3. Inventory, disseminate and facilitate the development of standardized tools and methodologies to prevent, prepare for and respond to invertebrate invasives, and recover ecosystems.
    1. Foster use of pathway analysis for invertebrate invasives
    2. Extend the application of Pest Information Platform for Extension and Education (PIPE) to invasive invertebrates
    3. Facilitate communications to standardize sampling protocols
    4. Identify research needs and researchers to develop methods for detection and control of the top invasive invertebrates
    5. Identify and communicate with potential commercial partners, universities and/or federal agencies to produce products (traps, chemical lures, biological control agents, chemical and non-chemical tools)
    6. Foster planning and action against priority invertebrates
  4. Inventory and facilitate the development of models for economic and ecological analysis
    1. Identify economists and ecologists familiar with the impacts of invasive species
    2. Foster development of analytical models for top priority invasive invertebrates
    3. Document the processes for determining economic and ecological impacts of invasive invertebrates
  5. Promote an informed and motivated public, governmental and non-governmental organizations to serve as environmental stewards
    1. Develop a cadre of informed environmental stewards
    2. Develop a list of first detectors, determine awareness gaps
    3. Identify gaps between first detectors and links to diagnostic systems and networks
    4. Identify a process to publicize point of contact for the public
    5. Implement TV commercials
    6. Disseminate information on invasive species education
    7. Contribute critical information to the ITAP Website (include pest alert function-public websites)
  6. Maintain an infrastructure to support effective implementation of the Subcommittee vision, mission and plans
    1. Secure funding
    2. Secure facilities for meetings
    3. Invest in membership - recruitment and retention
    4. Ensure support for meetings and workshop operations
    5. Maintain effective plan management
    6. Maintain a glossary of terms