The red-rimmed melania (Melanoides tuberculatus), a small snail imported by the aquarium trade starting in the 1930s, was discovered in the warm swimming area at the confluence of the Boiling River with the Gardner River in 2009. The following year, a survey of 18 of the park’s most popular hot springs found melania only in the Boiling River soaking area and downstream approximately 1 km. The species has a narrow temperature tolerance (18–32°C) and is unlikely to survive downstream of the Boiling River during the winter, but it could become established in other thermal water in the park.
New Zealand Mud Snails
New Zealand mudsnails are invasive and have a significant detrimental effect on Yellowstone.
Whirling disease can infect some trout and salmon.
Lake trout prey on Yellowstone cutthroat trout.
Rainbow trout are native to North America in waters which drain to the Pacific Ocean from northern Mexico to Alaska.
Eastern Brook Trout
Eastern brook trout was the first nonnative species introduced in Yellowstone—stocked in the (then fishless) Firehole River in 1889.
Native Fish Species
Native fish underpin natural food webs and have great local economic significance.
Native Fish Conservation Program
Learn how the Native Fish Conservation Program works to preserve Yellowstone Lake cutthroat trout and to restore fluvial trout populations.
The brown trout is the only nonnative fish species in Yellowstone that is not native to North America.
Native to the Missouri and Yellowstone river drainages in Montana and Wyoming, the lake chub is not native to Yellowstone National Park.
Catch a Fish
Be a responsible angler and understand the regulations before you come.
Clean, Drain, and Dry
Protect park waters by preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species.
Aquatic Invasive Species
Aquatic invasive species can disrupt ecological processes.
Bartholomew, J.L. and P.W. Reno. 2002. The history and dissemination of whirling disease. In J.L. Bartholomew and J. C. Wilson, ed., Whirling disease: Reviews and current topics. Vol. Symposium 29. Bethesda, MD: American Fisheries Society.
Kerans, B.L. and A.V. Zale. 2002. The ecology of Myxobolus cerebralis. In J.L. Bartholomew and J.C. Wilson, ed., Whirling disease: Reviews and current topics, 145–166. Vol. Symposium 29. Bethesda, MD: American Fisheries Society.
Koel, T.M., D.L. Mahony, K.L. Kinnan, C. Rasmussen, C.J. Hudson, S. Murcia, and B.L. Kerans. 2007. Whirling disease and native cutthroat trout of the Yellowstone Lake ecosystem. Yellowstone Science 15(2).
MacConnell, E. et al. 1997. Susceptibility of grayling, rainbow, and cutthroat trout to whirling disease by natural exposure to Myxobolus cerebralis. Whirling Disease Symposium, Logan, UT.
Murcia, S., B.L. Kerans, E. MacConnell, and T.M. Koel. 2006. Myxobolus cerebralis infection patterns in Yellowstone cutthroat trout after natural exposure. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 71(3):191–199.
Last updated: July 13, 2020