Scientific Name: Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii

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Identification: Cylindro is a species of blue-green algae. It is a type of phytoplankton, which are small, photosynthetic organisms that drift in water currents. Its tube-shaped cells grow end-to-end to form straight-chained filaments. Large population increases, or blooms, of this species of algae result in cloudy, green water.

Size: Individual cylindro cells are microscopic.

Native Range: Cylindro’s origin is regarded as tropical or subtropical. The strain introduced to the Great Lakes may have come from South America.

Map Key
This map only depicts Great Lakes introductions.


Table 1. Great Lakes region nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state/province, 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 Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii are found here.

State/ProvinceYear of earliest observationYear of last observationTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
Michigan200220052Muskegon; Pere Marquette-White
Ohio197119711Lake Erie

Table last updated 9/30/2019

† Populations may not be currently present.

Means of Introduction: Cylindro may have been introduced to the Lake Michigan basin by shipping, recreational boating, attachment to waterfowl, and/or wind dispersal.

Status: This species is established in the Great Lakes. It may have been present in Lake Erie as early as 1971 and was documented there in 2006. Starting in 2002, it was recorded in various inland lakes in the Lake Michigan basin.

Remarks: Climate change may be contributing to the expansion of this species in temperate latitudes.

Author: Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant

Contributing Agencies:
NOAA Sea Grant GLRI Logo

Revision Date: 9/25/2012

Citation for this information:
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, 2019, Cylindro: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, and NOAA Great Lakes Aquatic Nonindigenous Species Information System, Ann Arbor, MI,, Revision Date: 9/25/2012, Access Date: 12/6/2019

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.