© 2020 The Authors Maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem function is critical on national and global scales. However, while only a fraction of the global biodiversity is known, its current decline is unprecedented, making biodiversity hotspots a conservation priority. The Sierra Gorda Biodiversity Reserve (SGBR) in Central Mexico is known for its rich biodiversity. It is an example of the juxtaposition between species discovery and extinction: aquatic species richness is mostly unknown as no efforts have investigated aquatic communities so far, but are already anthropogenically stressed. We hypothesized that invasive species are already well established in various protected areas and investigated this by assessing the threat of invasive species that are already established within the SGBR on the native biodiversity. By combining field sampling with peer-reviewed literature and local reports, we identify the presence of various non-native species in SGBR. Among these non-native species identified were opportunistic predatory fish and potentially-pathogen transmitting molluscs, but also, a habitat engineer capable of modifying ecosystem functions. Moreover, we highlight that these species were introduced despite legislation and without any knowledge among authorities. As a result, we underline the necessity to describe native species, control invasive and prevent the introduction of further non-native species. If accelerated action is not taken, we risk losing a considerable amount of described and unknown freshwater biota.