Invertebrate Animals

​​​This page provides information about importing live invertebrate animals into Australia.

Imports of live invertebrate animals from overseas can pose a major risk to Australia’s natural environment, our food security and economy. Many invertebrate a​nimals are known pests or have the potential to harbour and spread diseases of significant animal, plant or human health concern.

Imports of live invertebrate animals are currently permitted for research or laboratory purposes. Biological control agents are also permitted under strict conditions. It is important to note that not all invertebrate species will be permitted import.

What is an invertebrate?

Invertebrates include all multi-cellular animal species without backbones. This includes species of Hexapoda (insects, springtails, etc), Chelicerata (spiders, scorpions, etc), Myriapoda (centipedes, millipedes, etc), Annelids (worms and leeches), Platyhelminthes (flatworms), Molluscs (snails, squids, etc), Crustacea (crabs, water fleas, etc) and Nematoda (roundworms).

All live invertebrate animals will require an import permit and applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis. In some cases, import permit applications may need to be referred to external agencies or other government departments for specific expert advice.

Importers must consider whether an import permit will also be needed from the Australian Government Department of the Environment. Importers should refer to for further details.

The import and post-arrival conditions for invertebrate animals will vary depending on the species and the proposed end use. There are two areas within the department primarily responsible for these assessments, and their current responsibilities are outlined below:

Animal and Biological Import Assessments Branch

  • Mosquitoes
  • Bees
  • Tarantulas and other spiders
  • Scorpions
  • Aquatic invertebrates such as molluscs, echinoderms, cnidarians and various crustaceans
  • Various worms (nematodes, roundworms, flatworms, etc)

For further information on importing the above invertebrate species importers can contact Animal Import Operations.

Plant Import Operations Branch

  • Drosophila
  • Biological control agents
  • Invertebrate species that could potentially be used to control weeds and/or plant pathogens/pests
  • Invertebrate species known to be plant pests or with the potential to be plant pests

For further information on importing the above invertebrate species importers can contact Plant Import Operations.

Import Requirements

For detailed import requirements for some invertebrate species, please search the name of the animal you wish to bring to Australia (using general descriptions, such as “insect” or “invertebrate” or “arthropod”) on the Biosecurity Import Conditions (BICON) system.

Contact us

If you require further information about the import of invertebrate animals or if you are unsure which section is responsible for the invertebrate you want to import, please contact Animal Import Operations.​​
Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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