The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Ripistes parasita
Ripistes parasita
(an oligochaete)
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Ripistes parasita

Common name: an oligochaete

Synonyms and Other Names: Ripistes parasitica, Ripistes macrochaeta

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Dorsal setal bundles on segments VI–VIII are characterized by 2–16 giant hair setae; following segments have 1–3 moderately long hairs. Ventral setae are absent on segments IV and V. Stomachal dilation is sudden, beginning in segments VI or VII. Clitellum is located in ½ V–½ VIII; spermathecal ampulla are large and baglike with a fairly long, well-defined duct. Penial setae 2 per bundle with a simple hook. Swims with sagittal movements; constructs fixed, hyaline tubes (Brinkhurst 1971, Brinkhurst and Jamieson 1971).

Note: segments are counted from anterior to posterior using roman numerals.

Size: 8 mm

Native Range: Ripistes parasita is native to Europe and Lake Baikal in Asia (Brinkhurst and Jamieson 1971).

Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Ripistes parasita are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
MI198520034Dead-Kelsey; Great Lakes Region; Lake Superior; St. Marys
MN200120011St. Louis
NY197819963Chemung; Chenango; Lower Hudson

Table last updated 1/24/2021

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: This aquatic oligochaete has been found in waters between 6 m and 10 m deep in the Great Lakes, both on bare, rocky substrates and amongst macrophyte vegetation (Barton and Griffiths 1984; Winnell and Jude 1987; Grigorovich et al. 2003). Specimens taken from riverine habitats occupied waters between 0.9 m and 3.5 m deep and in flow rates ranging from 0 to 50 cm/s (Simpson and Abele 1984; Montz 1988).

Means of Introduction: The prevalence of R. parasita at sites near major shipping ports suggests invasion via international shipping (Winnel and Jude 1987).

Status: Established where collected. Additionally, Montz (1988) stated that the sporadic distribution of R. parasita could be the result of typical benthic sampling methods leading to either the loss or distruction of this organism, and that this naidid may be much more widespread than records show.

Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. It does, however, mean that research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made.

References: (click for full references)

Barton, D.R., and M. Griffiths. 1984. Benthic invertebrates of the nearshore zone of eastern Lake Huron, Georgian Bar, and North Channel. Journal of Great Lakes Research 10(4): 407-416.

Brinkhurst, R.O. 1971. A Guide to the Identification of British Aquatic Oligochaeta. Freshwater Biological Association. Scientific Publication No. 22, 2nd edition.

Brinkhurst, R.O., and B.G.M. Jamieson. 1971. Aquatic Oligochaeta of the World. University of Toronto Press. Toronto and Buffalo.

Grigorovich, IA. A.V. Korniushinm D.K. Gray, I.C. Duggan, R.I. Coulatti & H.J. MacIsaac.  2003. Lake Superior: an invasion coldspot?  Hydrobiologia 499: 191-210

Mills, E.L., J.H. Leach, J.T. Carlton, and C.L. Secor. 1993. Exotic species in the Great Lakes: a history of biotic crisis and anthropogenic introductions. Journal of Great Lakes Research 19(1): 1-54.

Montz, G.R. 1988. The occurrence of Ripistes parasita (Oligochaeta:Naididae) in Minnesota and its implications for benthic sampling. Journal of the American Benthological Society 7(2): 160-162.

Nalepa, T.F., D.J. Hartson, D.L. Fanslow, G.A. Lang, S.J. Lozano. 1998. Declines in Benthic Macroinvertebrate Populations in Southern Lake Michigan, 1980-1993. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 55(11): 2402-13.

Simpson, K.W., and L.E. Abele. 1984. Ripistes parasita (Schmidt) (Oligochaeta: Naididae), a distinctive oligochaete new to North America. Freshwater Invertebrate Biology 3(1): 36-41.

Spencer, D.R., and P.L. Hudson. 2003. The Oligochaeta (Annelida, Clitellata) of the St. Lawrence Great Lakes Region: An Update. Journal of Great Lakes Research 29(1): 89-104

Stewart, T.W., and J.M. Haynes. 1994. Benthic Macroinvertebrate Communities of Southwestern Lake Ontario Following Invasion of Dreissena. Journal of Great Lakes Research 20(2): 479-493.

Wahab, M. A., Stirling, H. P. and Robertson, D. A. 1989. Influence of brown trout, Salmo trutta L., predation on the benthic fauna of earthen ponds. Aquaculture Research 20:147–158.

Winnell, M.H., and D.J. Jude. 1987. Benthic community structure and composition among rocky habitats in the Great Lakes and Keuka Lake, New York. Journal of Great Lakes Research 13(1):3-17.

Other Resources:
Great Lakes Waterlife

Author: Jacobs, G., J. Larson, A. Fusaro, and T. Makled

Revision Date: 9/12/2019

Citation Information:
Jacobs, G., J. Larson, A. Fusaro, and T. Makled, 2021, Ripistes parasita: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=2244, Revision Date: 9/12/2019, Access Date: 1/25/2021

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2021]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [1/25/2021].

Contact us if you are using data from this site for a publication to make sure the data are being used appropriately and for potential co-authorship if warranted. For queries involving fish, please contact Matthew Neilson. For queries involving invertebrates, contact Amy Benson.