An Army of Anglers, Helping the Environment:
Fishbrain partners with US Fish and Wildlife Service for app-powered conservation effort
We know that anglers love the great outdoors and want to preserve its wildlife and scenery for future generations. With this in mind, we have teamed up with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the federal government agency dedicated to the management of fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats, to participate in one of the largest ever crowdsourced data collections for endangered animals and fish, with the hope that you and our army of anglers can aid in the conservation of at-risk species across the US.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service invites you and our 1.4 million+ American anglers to log sightings of 50 different types of aquatic-dependent species, including freshwater and marine species. These 50 species include fish, birds, mammals, amphibians crustaceans, insects and reptiles; they represent Federally-recognized threatened, endangered and candidate species (species which meet the criteria for being threatened or endangered but have not been officially categorized as such) from all over the US.
When you are out and about during your regular fishing trips, and happen to see one of these species, we are inviting you to log this encounter in-app as a Fishbrain Moment. The data collected from these sightings will help conservationists and academics work out where these animals are living and in what numbers. With a team much larger than the average conservation group, we want to collect lots of information; so as to help people understand the habitats and behavior of these animals on the brink of extinction.
The creation of the list
The USFWS' Environmental Conservation Online Development team examined all the threatened and endangered species that were found near streams, rivers, lakes, creeks and other bodies of water in the US. Since water is critically important to numerous species, this provided millions of possible entries to include. To further refine this search, the team used a coarse filter approach to focus on larger bodies of water. They then consulted the trans-state body of USFWS field biologists to ensure that the selected species were likely to be encountered by anglers, and were those known to be directly in contact with the fishing community.
“The first step towards conservation is always education and engagement, and we are excited to work with Fishbrain to help us reach a new audience,” said Gary Frazer, Assistant Director of the Service’s Ecological Services Program. “Anglers are extremely important to protecting and maintaining healthy aquatic habitats. This is a unique opportunity to synthesize recreational anglers’ information and knowledge in local waterways and expand our understanding of various species.”
For more details on USFWS’ involvement click here www.fws.gov/news/blog/
The list of endangered species provided to Fishbrain includes animals across the U.S which are protected as threatened and endangered under the Endangered Species Act, as well as candidates for federal protection and those protected by individual states.
The list below is the complete guide to each of these species in need of help. Please help us to help conservationists understand these animals better, and to keep them around for generations to come.
For media enquiries please contact Nicholas Baines or Benjamin Webb at Deliberate PR (www.deliberate-pr.com)
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USFWS' List of Endangered Species: Short List
1. Tidewater goby (Eucyclogobius newberryi), California
2. Pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus), Missouri and Mississippi
3. Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus), Atlantic-facing States
4. Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus), Western States
5. Lahontan cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii henshawi), California
6. Razorback sucker (Xyrauchen texanus), Colorado
7. Yaqui chub (Gila purpurea), Arizona
8. Topeka shiner (Notropis topeka (=tristis)), South Dakota
9. June Sucker (Chasmistes liorus), Utah
10. Bonytail (Gila elegans), Colorado
11. Colorado Pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus lucius), Colorado
12. Okaloosa darter (Etheostoma okaloosae), Florida
13. Robust redhorse (Moxostoma robustum), Georgia
14. Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), Maine
15. Shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum), Connecticut
16. Green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris), California
17. Little Kern golden trout (Oncorhynchus aguabonita whitei), California
18. Cui-Ui (Chasmistes cujus), Nevada
19. Humpback chub (Gila cypha), Colorado
20. Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), Florida
21. Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos horribilis), Wyoming
22. Red knot (Calidris canutus rufa), Delaware
23. Horseshoe crab (Limulus Polyphemus), Delaware
24. Columbia white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus leucurus), Washington
25. Neuse River waterdog (Necturus lewisi), North Carolina
26. California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii), California
27. Yuma clapper rail (Rallus longirostris yumanensis), Utah
28. Southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus), New Mexico
29. Alabama red-bellied turtle (Pseudemys alabamensis), Alabama
30. Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis), Alaska
31. Manatee (Trichechus manatus), Florida
32. Valley elderberry longhorn beetle (Desmocerus californicus dimorphus), California
33. Yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus), Arizona
34. Narrow-headed garter snake (Thamnophis rufipunctatus), New Mexico
35. Interrupted (=Georgia) rocksnail (Leptoxis foremani), Georgia
36. Pink mucket pearlymussel (Lampsilis abrupta), Ohio
37. Piping plovers (Charadrius melodus), Michigan
38. Whooping crane (Grus americana), Texas
39. Arroyo toad (Anaxyrus californicus), California
40. Santa Cruz long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum croceum), California
41. Marbled murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus), Alaska
42. Fanshell (Cyprogenia stegaria), Tennessee
43. Hines emerald dragonfly (Somatochlora hineana), Wisconsin
44. Higgins eye pearlymussel (Lampsilis higginsii), Minnesota
45. Interior least tern (Sterna antillarum), Florida
46. Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), South Carolina
47. Kemp's ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), Texas
48. Alligator snapping turtle (Macroclemys temmincki), Florida
49. California Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma californiense), California
50. Giant garter snake (Thamnophis gigas), California
Fishbrain and US Fish and Wildlife Service crowdsourced audit of American Rivers: Endangered Species list
1. Tidewater goby (Eucyclogobius newberryi)
The tidewater goby (Eucyclogobius newberryi) is a small, elongate, grey-brown fish rarely exceeding 50 millimeters (2 inches) in length. Endemic to California, it is found primarily in coastal lagoons, estuaries, and marshes from Tillas Slough (mouth of the Smith River, Del Norte County) to Agua Hedionda Lagoon (northern San Diego County). They currently are found throughout their known, historic range, but reside at fewer locations than historically occurred, having been extirpated from some sites as a result of drainage, water quality changes, introduced predators, and drought.
2. Pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus)
Pallid sturgeon are bottom dwelling, slow growing fish that have been around since the days of the dinosaurs. They are seldom seen, mostly because of dramatic declines in their range throughout the Missouri and Mississippi River drainages. Their population declined because of dam construction, channelization and changes in water flow that blocked the pallid sturgeon's movements, destroyed or altered its spawning areas, reduced its food sources or its ability to obtain food, and altered water temperatures and other environmental conditions necessary for their survival.
3. Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus)
The Atlantic sturgeon is an anadromous fish, meaning it spends most of its life in brackish or salt water and migrates into freshwater to spawn. They may live to 60 years of age and are slow to mature. Sexually mature males are at least 11 to 12 years old and weigh up to 100 pounds, while mature females are 18 to 20 years old and weigh more than 100 pounds. Other than sharks and people, sturgeon have few predators. Currently, there is no legal fishery for Atlantic sturgeon along the Atlantic coast. However many Atlantic sturgeon are still taken as incidental by-catch in other fisheries.
4. Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus)
Bull trout are the apex predator in the cold, clear waters of the western United States. They are grouped with char, within the salmonid family of fish. There was a time with bull trout were wildly abundant in the western states of OR, WA, CA, NV, ID and MT, but now they occur in less than half of their historic range and are found only scattered in smaller populations. They are primarily threatened by habitat degradation and fragmentation, blockage of migratory corridors, poor water quality, the effects of climate change and past fisheries management practices, including the introduction of non-native species including brown lake and brook trout.
5. Lahontan cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii henshawi)
Lahontan cutthroat trout, like other trout species, are found in a wide variety of cold-water habitats including large lakes, alpine lakes, slow meandering rivers, mountain rivers, and small headwater tributary streams. The Lahontan cutthroat trout is native to the Lahontan basin of northern Nevada, eastern California, and southern Oregon and can grow up to 50 inches long and weigh up to 40 lbs. In 1844, there were 11 lake dwelling populations of Lahontan cutthroat trout and 400 to 600 steam dwelling populations in over 3,600 miles of streams within the major basins of Lake Lahontan. However, loss of habitat, commercial harvest, water diversions and the spread of non-native fish have resulted in extinctions and have caused them to be listed under federal protection. Today, they are only found in 123 - 129 streams within the Lahontan basin and 32 to 34 streams outside the basin, totaling approximately 482 miles of occupied habitat.
6. Razorback sucker (Xyrauchen texanus)
Razorback suckers are named for the bony keel on their backs. They are the largest species of suckers that live in the Colorado River, reaching a maximum length of 36 inches. They can live 40 years or more, feeding on a variety of insects and crustaceans. Unique to the Colorado River Basin, razorback suckers were once widespread and abundant throughout the Colorado River and its tributaries from the Green River in Wyoming to the Gulf of California. Because of basin-wide alterations in habitat and the introduction of nonnative species, however, spawning and survival to adulthood were known to occur only in Lake Mead National Recreation Area until recently, when a few juveniles were found in the Grand Canyon.
7. Yaqui chub (Gila purpurea)
The Yaqui chub is a small minnow desert fish. They live in the springs and seeps at the headwaters of the Rio Yaqui River. Agriculture and livestock production, mining, and domestic use of water have impacted that species’ habitat. They were extirpated from their historical habitat but there are some introduced populations that exist in Leslie Canyon in the Swisshelm Mountains in San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge, and in ponds and the mainstream of West Turkey Creek in the Chiricahua Mountains of Arizona.
8. Topeka shiner (Notropis topeka (=tristis))
The Topeka shiner is a small minnow, normally less than 3 inches long. The Topeka shiner was once a common fish throughout its range in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota, but its presence has declined by about 70 percent at known collection sites during the last 40 to 50 years. Habitat destruction, sedimentation, and changes in water quality are thought to have caused the population decline. It is still present in these states, but exists only in small, isolated populations in small to mid-size prairie streams; usually in pool and run areas.
9. June Sucker (Chasmistes liorus)
The June sucker reaches between 17 – 24 inches in length, averages 5 pounds, and can live more than 40 years! It has a large, robust body, and a wide rounded head with a distinct hump on the snout. June suckers are endemic to Utah Lake, Utah, and the only known spawning habitat is the lower three miles of the Provo River. The species was considered abundant in the early 1800s. The first dramatic decline in the population happened in the late 1960s when 2 miles of the Provo River was de-watered, killing 1,500 metric tons of fish. Other factors that have contributed to the decline of the June sucker include loss of spawning habitat and reduced water flows in spawning habitat, altered water flows, increased sedimentation, increased level of dissolved solids, increased turbidity, urbanization, channelization and loss of recruitment.
10. Bonytail (Gila elegans)
This is the rarest of the three species of chub native to the upper Colorado River. Historical reports indicate bonytails were once common in warm-water reaches throughout the upper and lower basins of the Colorado River. For the most part, the species is considered extirpated in the wild. As the name implies, the caudal peduncle (narrow part of body to which the tail fin attaches) is very narrow and long, setting it apart from the other two species of chub. In the 1980s, bonytails from Lake Mohave were brought to Dexter National Fish Hatchery (New Mexico) to be used as broodstock. Progeny of these fish are being raised in captivity and were recently released into upper Colorado River reaches. Whether these stocked bonytails will survive in the wild is not yet known. Because bonytail populations were extirpated before biologists had a chance to study them in the wild, very little is known of their life history, their habitat requirements, or the reasons they declined and disappeared.
11. Colorado Pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus lucius)
North America’s largest minnow has inhabited the Colorado River basin for about six million years. It can grow to a length of two meters (six feet), and preys on other fish. Once ranging from the Wyoming border to the Gulf of California, the Colorado pikeminnow is now restricted to the upper Colorado River basin, upstream of Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell (about 25 percent of its former range). Between the 1930s and 1960s, a series of major dams were built on the Colorado River and its tributaries, blocking fish migrations and changing the seasonal pattern of flows and water temperature downstream. Though uncommon, its distribution is widespread within warm-water habitats of the upper basin, occurring in the Colorado mainstem, Gunnison, Green, Yampa and White rivers. The continued existence of this species is threatened by habitat changes caused by altered flow regimes as well as predation and competition from non-native fish species.
12. Okaloosa darter (Etheostoma okaloosae)
Habitat loss and degradation caused by road and dam construction, and siltation from land clearing were the main factors behind the darter's decline. The Service added the darter to the endangered species list in 1973 after finding that land use impacts had caused the species to dwindle to as little as 1,500 individuals. The Okaloosa darter is a small (1-2 inches long), perch-like fish known to occur only in six clear stream systems draining into two Choctawhatchee Bay bayous in northwest Florida. About 96 percent of this watershed drainage area is under the management of Eglin Air Force Base, as is most of the darter’s present range. The remainder of the watershed and the species’ range lies within the Niceville and Valparaiso urban areas.
13. Robust redhorse (Moxostoma robustum)
Status: Under review
The robust redhorse remained in obscurity and unknown to scientists for over 100 years, until Georgia Department of Natural Resources biologists captured an adult robust redhorse in Georgia's Oconee River in 1991. The rediscovery of the fish was the beginning of an ongoing conservation effort that has spanned nearly 20 years. Since the rediscovery of the species, remnant populations have been found from Georgia to North Carolina in the Ocmulgee, Savannah, and Pee Dee rivers. Robust redhorse are sizable fish that when fully-grown measure up to 30 inches in length and 17 pounds in weight. The fish has a thick, robust body with rose-colored fins and a fleshy lower lip. The species is a large, long-lived member of the redhorse sucker family. Adult robust redhorse feed on bivalves and use pharyngeal teeth to crush shells.
14. Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)
While at one time hundreds of thousands of Atlantic salmon made their epic migration from the oceans of Greenland to their natal rivers in New England, now these powerful creatures can be seen only occasionally in the wild. Depleted by a combination of historical overfishing, pollution, dams, and poor marine survival, this once-prominent salmon population is severely reduced, and the only remaining wild U.S. populations swim in Maine rivers. Sea-run Atlantic salmon are bright and silvery, with a bluish-green dorsal area shading to white below. In freshwater, they turn dark gray to reddish brown. Adult Atlantic salmon average 30 inches in length and typically weigh 7 to 12 pounds. Their latin name means "the leaper," as they are able to leap up to 12 feet over obstacles, if conditions are right.
15. Shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum)
The shortnose sturgeon is one of two sturgeon species in the Connecticut River; the other is the Atlantic sturgeon. The shortnose is the smaller of the two, growing to be 2 to 3 feet in length and about 14 pounds in weight. Sturgeon are an ancient species of fish with fossils dating back 65 million years. They are very distinctive, looking like a prehistoric cross between a shark and a catfish. Sturgeon lack teeth and scales but have a unique body armor of diamond-shaped bony plates called scutes. Some have been found to be over 60 years old. The severe decrease in populations is attributed primarily to over-harvesting in the 1800's and early 1900's. Sturgeon were harvested for their meat, skin, swim bladders, and eggs (or roe). Shortnose taken commercially were often the by-catch of Atlantic sturgeon fisheries. Dams and pollution also contributed to the decline. The populations in the Connecticut River are estimated at 1200-1500 individuals.
16. Green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris)
Green sturgeon are long-lived, slow-growing fish, and are the most marine-oriented of the sturgeon species. Mature males range from 4.5-6.5 feet (1.4-2 m) and mature females range from 5-7 feet (1.6-2.2 m). They can weigh up to 350 pounds (160 kg). This species is found along the west coast of Mexico, the United States, and Canada and are believed to spend the majority of their lives in the nearshore oceanic waters, bays, and estuaries ranging from San Francisco Bay to British Columbia. Green sturgeon are believed to spawn in the Rogue River, Klamath River Basin, and the Sacramento River. The main reason for the decline of the green sturgeon is loss of spawning habitat. Other threats include insufficient freshwater flow rates in spawning areas, contaminants, bycatch of green sturgeon in fisheries, potential poaching (e.g., for caviar), entrapment by water projects, influence of exotic species, and impassable barriers.
17. Little Kern golden trout (Oncorhynchus aguabonita whitei)
The Little Kern golden trout is a member of the Salmonidae (trout and salmon) family. It is a brightly colored fish with profuse spots on the back and tail, belly and cheeks are red to red-orange, lower sides are bright gold, lateral band is red-orange, and the back is olive green. They average 5 to 7 inches (about 13 to 18 cm) in length. The Little Kern golden trout is native to the Little Kern River and its tributaries in the Sierra Nevada range, Tulare County, California. The elevation of the Little Kern is 6,000 to 10,000 feet and most of the river is within the Sequoia National Forest and Sequoia National Park. Little Kerns need pools, instream cover, stream shade, isolation from exotic species, and clean, clear, cold water. They feed on both aquatic invertebrates and terrestrial drift. The primary cause of decline in Little Kern golden trout was hybridization with non-native rainbow trout.
18. Cui-Ui (Chasmistes cujus)
Cui-ui (Chasmistes cujus) is a lake sucker found in only one place in the world – Pyramid Lake and the lower Truckee River in Nevada. It can live for more than 40 years and can weigh over 7.5 pounds. It spends most of its life in Pyramid Lake, leaving only to spawn in the lower Truckee River between March and June when it reaches maturity between 6-12 years of age. Cui-ui occupy habitat near the lake bottom, found in near shore areas at depths less than 75 feet. Physical barriers pose a threat to cui-ui spawning migrations and low water conditions and/or sand bars can render the mouth of the Truckee River impassable.
19. Humpback chub (Gila cypha)
A member of the minnow family, the humpback chub is found in warm-water reaches of the Colorado River and its tributaries. One population occurs in the lower basin, within Grand Canyon National Park, and five others in the upper basin: three in the mainstem Colorado River, one in the Green River and one in the Yampa River. Only two of these populations are relatively large (thousands of individuals); the others are small and tenuous. This species is noted for the pronounced hump on its back, directly behind the head. The purpose for this hump is unclear but may be related to swimming performance in turbulent conditions. The species is omnivorous, primarily feeding on insects, crustaceans, plants and small fish. In addition to range reduction from dams, habitat change from altered flow regimes, and predation from non-native fish, humpback chub are also threatened with hybridization with other chubs, particularly the roundtail chub, another fish still common in the upper basin.
20. Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)
Status: Endangered in some populations and Threatened in others
The green sea turtle grows to a maximum size of about 4 feet and a weight of 440 pounds. It has a heart-shaped shell, small head, and single-clawed flippers. Green turtles are generally found in fairly shallow waters (except when migrating) inside reefs, bays, and inlets. The turtles are attracted to lagoons and shoals with an abundance of marine grass and algae. A major factor contributing to the green turtle's decline worldwide is commercial harvest for eggs and meat. Fibropapillomatosis, a disease characterized by the development of multiple tumors on the skin and internal organs, is also a mortality factor and has seriously affected green turtle populations in Florida, Hawaii, and other parts of the world. Other threats include loss or degradation of nesting habitat from coastal development and beach armoring; disorientation of hatchlings by beachfront lighting; nest predation by native and non-native predators; degradation of foraging habitat; marine pollution and debris; watercraft strikes; and incidental take from channel dredging and commercial fishing operations.
21. Grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis)
Grizzly bears have a huge head with a large hump over their shoulders. They got their name because they frequently get gray hairs in their fur and look "grizzled." They can weigh as much as 1500 lbs and run as fast as 35 mph. There are five ecosystems where grizzlies can be found today: the Northern Continental Divide; in and around Yellowstone National Park; the Selkirk Mountains in northern Idaho and northeast Washington; the Cabinet-Yaak area in northern Idaho; and western Montana and the North Cascade mountain range.
22. Red knot (Calidris canutus rufa)
The rufa red knot has an epic migration – flying more than 18,000 miles each year between breeding grounds in the Canadian Arctic and wintering grounds along the Gulf Coast, southeast United States and South America. Unfortunately, this hearty shorebird is no match for the widespread effects of emerging challenges like climate change and coastal development, coupled with the historic impacts of horseshoe crab overharvesting. Since the 1980s, the knot’s population has fallen by about 75 percent in some key areas, largely due to declines in one of its primary food resources – horseshoe crab eggs in Delaware Bay, an important migratory stopover site. Although this threat is now being addressed by extensive state and federal management actions, other threats, including sea-level rise, some shoreline projects and coastal development, continue to shrink the shorebird’s wintering and migratory habitat.
23. Horseshoe crab (Limulus Polyphemus)
Delaware Bay hosts the largest spawning population of horseshoe crabs in the world and the second largest population of migrating shorebirds in North America. Over eighty percent of the Western Hemisphere’s population of red knot (a federally protected bird) depends on horseshoe crab eggs for food, as they need to double their weight in less than two weeks before flying to the Arctic to nest. Delaware Bay is designated within the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network as having the highest reserve status. In addition to providing the principal food source for migratory birds in Delaware Bay, horseshoe crabs comprise the main diet of juvenile loggerhead sea turtles. If you see a horseshoe crab with a tag in its shell, please click here and report the information you see to help us monitor this species.
24. Columbia white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus leucurus)
Status: The Columbia River population is Endangered, the Douglas County population is recovered
The Columbian white-tailed deer was actually one of the very first endangered species ever listed, under the precursor to the Endangered Species Act. Only a small population was known to survive on islands and a small area of mainland in Washington along the lower Columbia River. This subspecies of white-tailed deer became endangered throughout its range due to habitat modification by human activities, such as farming and logging, as well as commercial and residential development. Overhunting and poaching also contributed to the decline. Thanks to intensive management actions including translocation, habitat protection and restoration, there are now 600-800 deer in the lower Columbia River region and they are making significant progress on their road to recovery.
25. Neuse River waterdog (Necturus lewisi)
Status: Species of Special Concern in North Carolina
The Neuse River waterdog is an aquatic salamander found only in the Neuse and Tar River drainages in eastern North Carolina. It lives in freshwater streams and feeds on mollusks, crayfish, shrimp, worms, insects and even some small fish. The major threats to this species are from water development projects, causing the decline in water quality and loss of in-stream habitat.
26. California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii)
This subspecies of red-legged frog is the largest native frog in the western U.S., ranging from 1.74-2.75 inches from the tip of the snout to the vent. They can range in color from brown, gray, olive, red, red/orange and often with a pattern of dark flecks or spots. They have been extirpated from 70% of their historic range, and are now found only in some coastal drainages of central California, from Marin County, California, south to northern Baja California, Mexico. They spend most of their lives in ponds, marshes, springs, streams and reservoirs. Deep pools with dense stands of overhanging willows and cattails are considered optimal habitat. Potential threats to the species include habitat loss and degradation from development and land use activities, poor water quality, pesticides and non-native aquatic species.
27. Yuma clapper rail (Rallus longirostris yumanensis)
This water bird was actually one of the very first species listed as endangered in 1967, under the Endangered Species Preservation Act, a precursor to the Endangered Species Act. The Yuma clapper rail is found in dense cattail or cattail-bulrush marshes along the lower Colorado River in Mexico north to the lower Muddy River and Virgin River in Utah above those rivers’ confluence with Lake Mead. Threats include habitat destruction, primarily due to stream channelization and drying and flooding of marshes, resulting from water flow management on the lower Colorado River. Surveys have found between 467 and 809 individuals over the last 10 years. Since this subspecies is so well camouflaged and usually found in dense vegetation, it is most easily recognized by its call, a series of dry kek kek kek notes, accelerating and then slowing.
28. Southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus)
This small, migratory bird is about 15 centimeters (6 inches) long, with a grayish-green back and wings, a white throat, a light gray-olive breast, and a pale yellowish belly. Two wingbars are visible and the eye ring is faint or absent. The breeding range of the southwestern willow flycatcher includes southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, extreme southern portions of Nevada and Utah, far western Texas, perhaps southwestern Colorado, and extreme northwestern Mexico. It nests and forages in dense riparian habitats along streams, rivers, lakesides, and wetlands. It is endangered primarily due to habitat loss and degradation from land and water management actions associated with agricultural and urban development. Other threats include the fragmented distribution and low numbers of the current population, predation and cowbird brood parasitism.
29. Alabama red-bellied turtle (Pseudemys alabamensis)
The Alabama red-bellied turtle is a freshwater turtle found only in southwestern Alabama and southeastern Mississippi. It feeds almost entirely on aquatic plants, but has declined significantly due to degradation of aquatic vegetation feeding areas, reduced water quality, and destruction of nesting areas along riverbanks. It has an orange to reddish plastron (bottom shell) and a prominent notch at the tip of the upper jaw, bordered on either side by a tooth-like cusp. The carapace (top shell) is brown to olive, with yellow, orange, or reddish streaks and mottling that form distinct, light vertical bars on the marginal scutes (horn-like scales). The skin is olive to black with yellow to light orange stripes.
30. Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis)
The Canada lynx is an elusive cat with long legs, large, well-furred paws, long tufts on the ears, and a short, black-tipped tail. At 30-35 inches long, weighing 14-31 pounds, and with grizzled gray fur, lynx are similar to bobcats (Lynx rufus) in size and appearance. With its large paws and long hind legs, the lynx is highly adapted to hunting its primary prey, the snowshoe hare, in the deep snow typical throughout its range. Lynx also need persistent deep, powdery snow, which limits competition from other hare predators, and denning habitat generally consisting of log piles, windfalls, or dense vegetation that provide security for kittens.
31. Manatee (Trichechus manatus)
Manatees, also called sea cows, are gentle and slow moving mammals that live primarily in Florida and southeastern Georgia usually in freshwater, brackish, and saltwater habitats. The average adult manatee is about 10 feet long and weighs between 800 and 1,200 pounds. Manatees can be found in shallow, slow-moving rivers, estuaries, saltwater bays, canals, and coastal areas — particularly where seagrass beds or freshwater vegetation flourish. They eat a large variety of submerged, emergent, and floating plants and can consume 10-15% of their body weight daily. Because they are mammals, they must surface to breathe air. They may rest submerged at the bottom or just below the surface of the water, coming up to breathe on an average of every three to five minutes. A huge factor contributing to manatee decline is fatalities and injuries from collisions with watercraft. Other causes of mortality include being crushed and/or drowned in canal locks and flood control structures; ingestion of fish hooks, litter, and monofilament line; and entanglement in crab trap lines. Ultimately, loss of habitat is the most serious threat facing manatees in the United States today. The most recent surveys estimate about 5,000 individuals in Florida.
32. Valley elderberry longhorn beetle (Desmocerus californicus dimorphus)
This beetle has a tube-like body that is about 2 centimeters long (1/2 to 1 inch measured from the front of their head to the end of their abdomen) and their antennae can be as long as their whole body. Valley elderberry longhorn beetles are always found around red or blue elderberry bushes on the edges of rivers and streams in California’s central valley. The biggest threat to this tiny insect is habitat loss and degradation.
33. Yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus)
A neotropical migrant bird, the western yellow-billed cuckoo winters in South America and breeds in North America. Once soaring in numbers, the species is at an all-time low. The biggest threat facing the western yellow-billed cuckoo is habitat loss. Over 90% of its habitat along streams and rivers has been lost or degraded due to human caused alteration of the hydrology. In addition, overgrazing, invasive exotic plants and the general use of insecticides in or adjacent to riparian areas may negatively affect yellow-billed cuckoos.
34. Narrow-headed garter snake (Thamnophis rufipunctatus)
The narrow-headed garter snake is a small to medium-sized garter snake that is usually found near clear, rocky streams using predominantly pool and riffle habitat that includes cobbles and boulders but has also been observed using lake shoreline habitat in New Mexico. Unlike most species of garter snakes that actively crawl about in search of prey, narrow-headed garter snakes are ambush predators that often anchor to stream cobbles and wait for passing fish. Harmful non-native species including bullfrog and crayfish are the most significant threat to narrow-headed garter snakes by both competing with, and preying upon, both the garter snake and its native prey species. Destruction and modification of habitat and effects from wildfire on their prey base are also serious threats.
35. Interrupted (=Georgia) rocksnail (Leptoxis foremani)
The interrupted rocksnail, a small freshwater snail, is endemic to the Coosa River drainage of the Mobile River Basin in Alabama and Georgia. This species attaches to bedrock, boulders, cobbles, and gravel and tends to move slowly, except in response to changes in water level. They also lay their adhesive eggs within the same habitat. Unfortunately, the interrupted rocksnail has disappeared from 90 percent of its historical range, primarily due to impoundment, or damming of riverine habitats.
36. Pink mucket pearly mussel (Lampsilis abrupta)
This small mussel is found in mud and sand and in shallow riffles and shoals in major rivers and tributaries. It buries itself in sand or gravel, with only the edge of its shell and its feeding siphons exposed. When the male discharges sperm into the current, females siphon in the sperm in order to fertilize their eggs, which they store in their gill pouches. The females then expel the larvae when they hatch. Those that manage to find a fish host to clamp onto by means of clasping valves, grow into juveniles with shells of their own. At that point they detach from the host fish and settle into the streambed, ready for a long (possibly up to 50 years) life as an adult mussel. Dams and reservoirs have flooded most of this mussel's habitat, reducing its gravel and sand habitat and probably affecting the distribution of its fish hosts. Other threats include erosion and siltation, which can clog the mussel’s feeding siphons, and pollution from agricultural and industrial runoff.
37. Piping plovers (Charadrius melodus)
Status: Endangered in the Great Lakes, Threatened everywhere else
This small, stocky, sandy-colored shorebird, has yellow-orange legs, a black band across the forehead from eye to eye, and a black ring around the base of the neck. Plover chicks have been likened to tiny wind-up toys or cotton balls with legs. They use sand beaches to nest on and lay their eggs. Commercial, residential and recreational development has decreased suitable coastal habitat for piping plovers to nest and feed. In addition, human disturbance often curtails plover breeding success. Foot and vehicle traffic may crush nests or chicks. Pets, especially dogs and cats, may harass or kill the birds, along with natural predators including raccoons, skunks and foxes.
38. Whooping crane (Grus americana)
The whooping crane is North America’s tallest bird, with males approaching 5 feet tall when standing erect. The common name "whooping crane" originated from the loud, single-note vocalization given repeatedly by the birds when they are alarmed. The whooping crane population, estimated at 500 to 700 individuals in 1870 declined to only 16 individuals in the migratory population by 1941 as a consequence of hunting and specimen collection, human disturbance, and conversion of the primary nesting habitat to hay, pastureland, and grain production. Whooping cranes currently exist in the wild at 3 locations and in captivity at 12 sites. The July 2010 total wild population was estimated at 383. There is only one self-sustaining wild population, the Aransas-Wood Buffalo National Park population, which nests in Wood Buffalo National Park and adjacent areas in Canada, and winters in coastal marshes in Texas at Aransas. In addition, there is a small captive-raised, non-migratory population in central Florida, and a small migratory population of individuals introduced beginning in 2001 that migrate between Wisconsin and Florida in an eastern migratory population. The total population of wild and captive whooping cranes in July, 2010, was 535.
39. Arroyo toad (Anaxyrus californicus)
Arroyo toads are relatively small (2-3 inches snout-vent length) toads. They are buff-colored, and their soft, high whistled trill is often mistaken for an insect’s call. They live in coastal and desert streams and rivers in central and southern California, from Monterey County southward into northern Baja California, Mexico. They use streams that have slow-moving currents with shallow pools, nearby sandbars and adjacent stream terraces for breeding. The species was negatively affected by extensive habitat loss from about 1920 to 1980 resulting from construction and operation of dams and reservoirs, roads, agricultural and urban development, and recreational development such as campgrounds. Other threats to the species included mining and prospecting, livestock grazing, and alteration of natural fire regimes. Although current threats to the arroyo toad remain similar to when the species was listed, ongoing conservation efforts are reducing some of the effects from these threats. Efforts are being made to remove nonnative plant species (tamarisk and giant reed) and introduced predators (bullfrogs, green sunfish, crayfish) from arroyo toad habitats.
40. Santa Cruz long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum croceum)
Located along the central coast of California in southern Santa Cruz and northern Monterey counties, the Santa Cruz long-toed salamander is glossy black with metallic orange or yellow markings on its backside. While distinctive in appearance, it is very secretive, and spends most of its adult life underground in small mammal burrows, under leaf litter and among the root systems of trees. During breeding season, the salamander returns to the shallow, primarily seasonal, freshwater ponds adjacent to its upland habitat area. When the salamander was initially discovered, only two breeding populations were known to exist: Valencia Lagoon and Ellicott Pond. The salamander was one of the first species to gain federal protection under the Endangered Species Preservation Act on 1967, a precursor to the Endangered Species Act. Today, 25 known breeding sites exist, one of which was discovered as recently as 2013—the first discovery in 10 years.
41. Marbled murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus)
The marbled murrelet is a small, robin-sized, diving seabird that feeds primarily on fish and invertebrates in near-shore marine waters. It spends the majority of its time on the ocean, roosting and feeding, but comes inland up to 80 kilometers (50 miles) to nest in forest stands with old growth forest characteristics. The primary cause of marbled murrelet population decline is the loss and modification of nesting habitat through commercial timber harvests, human induced fires, and land conversions, and to a lesser degree, through natural causes such as wild fires and wind storms. Additional causes of decline include oil spills, gill-net fishing, marine pollution, and predation. Currently, the population within the listed range is estimated to be approximately 23,000 marbled murrelets.
42. Fanshell (Cyprogenia stegaria)
This mussel is found in medium to large rivers. It buries itself in sand or gravel in deep water of moderate current, with only the edge of its shell and its feeding siphons exposed. Dams and reservoirs have flooded most of this mussel's habitat, reducing its gravel and sand habitat and probably affecting the distribution of its fish hosts. Commercial harvesting may also be affecting this species, because only 3 of the 12 known populations are reproducing.
43. Hines emerald dragonfly (Somatochlora hineana)
The endangered Hine's emerald dragonfly is found in Illinois, Missouri, Michigan and Wisconsin. Adults lay their eggs in small streams in fens and sedge meadows. Dragonflies play an incredibly important role in nature: they catch and eat small insects, including mosquitoes, biting flies and gnats. Unfortunately, they are losing their wetland homes to development and are also threatened by pesticides and pollution. The Hines emerald dragonfly depends on pristine wetlands and stream areas with good water quality for growth and development.
44. Higgins eye pearly mussel (Lampsilis higginsii)
The Higgins eye is a freshwater mussel found in larger rivers with deep water and moderate currents. Its range includes the upper Mississippi River, the St. Croix River between Minnesota and Wisconsin, the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin, and the lower Rock River between Illinois and Iowa. The animals bury themselves in sand and gravel river bottoms with just the edge of their partially opened shells exposed. River currents flow over the mussels as they siphon water for microorganisms such as algae and bacteria, which they use as food. Higgins eye are also a food source for wildlife muskrats, otters, and raccoons. They filter water which improves water quality; and mussel beds create microhabitats on river bottoms that provide food and cover for other aquatic life.
45. Interior least tern (Sterna antillarum)
Least terns are the smallest member of the gull and tern family. They are approximately 9" in length and have a distinct forked tail and narrow pointed wings. The interior population of least terns nest on sandbars along rivers, sand and gravel pits, lake and reservoir shorelines. They hover over and dive into standing or flowing water to catch small fish. Recreational activities on rivers and sandbars disturb nesting least terns, causing them to abandon their nests. Dams, reservoirs, water diversion and other changes to river systems have eliminated most historic least tern nesting habitat.
46. Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta)
Status: Endangered in some populations and Threatened in other populations
Loggerhead sea turtles were named for their large heads, which support powerful jaws and enable them to feed on hard-shelled prey, such as whelks and conch. They may be found hundreds of miles out to sea, as well as in inshore areas such as bays, lagoons, salt marshes, creeks, shipping channels, and the mouths of large rivers. Coral reefs, rocky places, and ship wrecks are often used as feeding areas. Loggerheads nest on open beaches or along narrow bays. They are threatened by loss or degradation of beach nesting habitat from coastal development; disorientation of hatchlings by beachfront lighting; nest predation by native and non-native predators; degradation of foraging habitat; marine pollution and debris; watercraft strikes; disease; and incidental take from channel dredging and commercial trawling, longline, and gill net fisheries.
47. Kemp's ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii)
The Kemp's ridley sea turtle is the smallest of the sea turtles, with adults reaching about 2 feet in length and weighing up to 100 pounds. The Kemp's ridley has a triangular-shaped head with a somewhat hooked beak with large crushing surfaces. This turtle is a shallow water feeder with a diet consisting primarily of crabs. The Kemp’s ridley is the most endangered of the sea turtles. The nesting population produced a low of 702 nests in 1985; however, since the mid-1980s, the number of nests laid in a season has been increasing primarily due to nest protection efforts and implementation of regulations requiring the use of turtle excluder devices in commercial fishing trawls. In 2011, a total of 20,570 nests were documented in Mexico, and 199 nests were recorded in the U.S., primarily in Texas. The decline of this species is primarily due to human activities, including the direct harvest of adults and eggs and incidental capture in commercial fishing operations. Today, under strict protection, we are cautiously optimistic that the population is on its way to recovery.
48. Alligator snapping turtle (Macroclemys temmincki)
Status: Currently under federal review, species-of-concern in Florida
These ancient reptiles are the largest freshwater turtles in North America, averaging between 50-200 lbs, and found almost exclusively in the deep rivers, swamps, canals and lakes of the southeastern United States. It has a really unique feature too: the turtle’s tongue is bright red and shaped like a worm! It can lay motionless on the bottom of the river with its tongue displayed, and then curious fish, frogs, crawfish and other prey are lured into its mouth, which quickly snaps closed on the unsuspecting prey. Unfortunately, more than a third of alligator snapping turtles have been found with steel fishing hooks lodged in their intestines.
49. California Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma californiense)
Status: Endangered and Threatened
The California tiger salamander is a large, stocky salamander. It has a broad, rounded snout and small eyes with black irises that stick out. "Tiger" comes from the white or yellow bars on their black back. A California tiger salamander spends most of its life on land, but actually lives underground in burrows made by squirrels and other animals. They require ponds for breeding, but are losing wetlands and ponds to development. Squirrel control programs also reduce the number burrows where salamanders can live, and the poison used on squirrels affects salamanders too. In addition, non-native salamanders have been imported for use as fish bait, but out-compete native California tiger salamanders for food and resources.
50. Giant garter snake (Thamnophis gigas)
The giant garter snake is one of the largest garter snakes, reaching a total length of at least 63 inches, and is not a venomous snake. Giant garter snakes feed primarily on small fishes, tadpoles, and frogs. They live in agricultural wetlands and other waterways such as irrigation and drainage canals, sloughs, ponds, small lakes, and streams. Habitat loss and fragmentation, flood control activities, changes in agricultural and land management practices, predation from introduced species, parasites, water pollution and continuing threats are the main causes for the decline of this species.