The introduction of the golden mussel, Limnoperna fortunei (Dunker, 1857) in South America was related to the discharge of ballast water, with its first record in 1991 in the La Plata River estuary. Since then, the species is spreading throughout the continent, with several economic and ecological negative consequences. Aim: To model, in the headwaters of Parana River, the spatial distribution of L. fortunei and to understand the determinants of the current pattern of species distribution and the risk of invasion of areas not yet colonized. Methods: The ecological niche of L. fortunei was modeled using the algorithm MAXENT (Maximum Entropy Method) combined with records of occurrence of the bivalve, limnological data and the shear force measured by the index Hack (SL). The evaluation of the performance of different models was based on AUC (Area Under the Curve).The analysis of each variable's contribution to the responses of the models was made based on the Jackknife test, available in the Maxent program. The models were validated with real absence data collected between 2006 and 2007. Based on the limnological characterization of the area and on outputs of the models, this analysis sought to understand the contributing aspects to the current and potential spatial distribution and to verify the risk of invasion of environments not yet colonized by the species. Results/Conclusion: The limnological characterization showed that the ecological requirements for the species as, pH, calcium, oxygen and chlorophyll a, were appropriate in both the connected stretches, invaded and noninvaded. Turbidity showed significant spatial differences which proved to be higher in environments with higher levels of Hack (SL), i.e. higher energy fluvial. In addition, the algorithm showed the importance of hydrodynamical aspects expressed by Hack index (SL) to the spatial distribution of species, since the models with the best performances were those that considered the Hack index (SL) as one of the environmental layers of the mussel's niche. All models indicated a high risk of invasion into the reservoir of São Simão. Keywords: invasive species, biological invasions, niche modeling, Maxent, ecological requirements.