The Most Threatened Wildlife in Every State

The Most Threatened Wildlife in Every State

Federal wildlife officials have recently announced the presumed extinction of some 22 animals that formerly existed in the U.S., including 11 birds, eight freshwater mussels, two fish, and a bat. The source of their elimination is primarily human activity — the upsetting of natural evolutionary changes through habitat destruction, pollution, over-hunting and -fishing, and, potentially most devastatingly, climate change.

We can expect extinction numbers to grow at an unprecedented rate as human populations spread and the earth gets hotter. Two years ago, the United Nations sounded the alarm, warning that a million species of plants and animals around the world, out of eight million existing today, were threatened with extinction, and that climate change has accelerated the rate at which they will leave the face of the earth entirely.

The U.N. estimates that 75% of land environments and 66% of marine environments have already been altered by human activity, causing a 20% reduction in the abundance of land animals, as well as a potential reduction in fish biomass of up to 25% by the end of the century.

For the United States, the picture is less gloomy, at least for the immediate future, thanks to the Endangered Species Act (ESA), passed in 1973, which lists endangered and threatened species and provides for their protection and restoration. The law has, thus far, been a brilliant success, with 99% of listed species brought back from the edge of extinction. Most of the American animals now considered extinct, including many on the most recent list, died off before the enactment of the ESA.

What the ESA has taught us is that we can take effective action to slow extinction rates through sound management of human activities as they affect animal populations and habitat. Without such vigilance, animal species whose existence we have come to take for granted could disappear forever.

To determine the most threatened animals in every state, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Environmental Conservation Online System to find two animals listed as “endangered” that are native to each state. Information on the animals’ habitat also came from USFWS.

Source: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

1. Alabama
> Selected endangered species: Cavefish (speoplatyrhinus poulsoni), Sturgeon (scaphirhynchus suttkusi)

Source: Wikimedia Commons


2. Alaska
> Selected endangered species: Eskimo Curlew (Numenius borealis), Short-tailed albatross (Phoebastria albatrus)

Source: Tara Sprankle / U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

3. Arizona
> Selected endangered species: Yaqui Chub (gila purpurea), Three Forks Springsnail (pyrgulopsis trivialis)

Source: Arthur A. Allen, coloured version by Jerry A. Payne / Wikimedia Commons & USFWSmidwest / Flickr

4. Arkansas
> Selected endangered species: Ivory-Billed Woodpecker (campephilus principalis), Ozark Hellbender (cryptobranchus alleganiensis bishopi)

Source: Pacific Southwest Region USFWS / Wikimedia Commons & Lee Eastman / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

5. California
> Selected endangered species: Riparian Brush Rabbit (sylvilagus bachmani riparius), Buena Vista Lake Ornate Shrew (sorex ornatus relictus)

Source: Creed Clayton & Jennifer Frey / US Fish and Wildlife Service

6. Colorado
> Selected endangered species: Uncompahgre Fritillary Butterfly (boloria acrocnema), Meadow Jumping Mouse (zapus hudsonius luteus)

Source: Wikimedia Commons


7. Connecticut
> Selected endangered species: Roseate tern (Sterna dougallii dougallii), Indiana Bat (myotis sodalis)

Source: N.Pilcher / NOAA

8. Delaware
> Selected endangered species: Hawksbill Sea Turtle (eretmochelys imbricata), Leatherback Sea Turtle (dermochelys coriacea)

Source: Enwebb / Wikimedia Commons & fotoguy22 / iStock

9. Florida
> Selected endangered species: Florida Bonneted Bat (eumops floridanus), Florida Panther (puma concolor coryi)

Source: Pierson Hill / Fish & Wildlife Service & Brett Albanese / Georgia DNR


10. Georgia
> Selected endangered species: Etowah Darter (etheostoma etowahae), Reticulated flatwoods salamander (Ambystoma bishopi)

Source: Walter Rothschild / Wikimedia Commons & Carter Atkinson, USGS / Wikimedia Commons

11. Hawaii
> Selected endangered species: Kauai `O`O (moho braccatus), Akikiki (oreomystis bairdi)

Source: Courtesy of Idaho Governor's Office of Species Conservation & Bill Mullins / U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

12. Idaho
> Selected endangered species: Banbury Springs Limpet (idaholanx fresti), Bruneau Hot Springsnail (pyrgulopsis bruneauensis)

Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service & Illinois Natural History Survey

13. Illinois
> Selected endangered species: Illinois Cave Amphipod (gammarus acherondytes), Fanshell (cyprogenia stegaria)

Source: G. Thomas Watters / Ohio State University

14. Indiana
> Selected endangered species: Fat Pocketbook (potamilus capax), Rayed Bean (villosa fabalis)

Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

15. Iowa
> Selected endangered species: Spectaclecase (cumberlandia monodonta), Higgins Eye (lampsilis higginsii)

Source: Adam Mann, Environmental Solutions and Innovations / U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

16. Kansas
> Selected endangered species: Gray Bat (myotis grisescens), Neosho Mucket (lampsilis rafinesqueana)

Source: DickBiggins / U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

17. Kentucky
> Selected endangered species: Relict Darter (etheostoma chienense), Kentucky Cave Shrimp (palaemonias ganteri)

Source: Andrew Cannizzaro / Flickr & U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region

18. Louisiana
> Selected endangered species: Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle (lepidochelys kempii), Red-Cockaded Woodpecker (picoides borealis)

Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region / Flickr & MPF / Wikimedia Commons

19. Maine
> Selected endangered species: Atlantic Salmon (salmo salar), Roseate Tern (sterna dougallii dougallii)

Source: Irina Sereg / National Park Service & Courtesy of Maryland Department of Natural Resources

20. Maryland
> Selected endangered species: Hay’s Spring Amphipod (stygobromus hayi), Maryland Darter (etheostoma sellare)

Source: Bernard DUPONT / Flickr & U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region / Flickr

21. Massachusetts
> Selected endangered species: Plymouth Redbelly Turtle (pseudemys rubriventris bangsi), Hawksbill Sea Turtle (eretmochelys imbricata)

Source: Mac Strand / Wikimedia Commons & P. Burton / US Fish and Wildlife Service

22. Michigan
> Selected endangered species: Hungerford’s Crawling Water Beetle (brychius hungerfordi), Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly (somatochlora hineana)

Source: Vince Cavelieri / Hollingsworth, J & K / U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service / Wikimedia Commons

23. Minnesota
> Selected endangered species: Karner Blue Butterfly (lycaeides melissa samuelis), Piping Plover (charadrius melodus)

Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region / Wikimedia Commons & Environmental Management Division / U.S. Army

24. Mississippi
> Selected endangered species: Mississippi Sandhill Crane (grus canadensis pulla), Dusky Gopher Frog (rana sevosa)

Source: David Ashley (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) / Wikimedia Commons & Brad Probst / Missouri Department of Conservation

25. Missouri
> Selected endangered species: Tumbling Creek Cavesnail (antrobia culveri), Grotto Sculpin (cottus specus)


Source: Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife & Arizona Game and Fish Department

26. Montana
> Selected endangered species: White sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus), Black-Footed Ferret (mustela nigripes)

Source: NEBRASKAland Magazine / Nebraska Game and Parks Commission & Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

27. Nebraska
> Selected endangered species: Salt Creek Tiger Beetle (cicindela nevadica lincolniana), Whooping Crane (grus americana)

Source: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

28. Nevada
> Selected endangered species: White River Spinedace (lepidomeda albivallis), Pahrump Poolfish (empetrichthys latos)


Source: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service & MPF / Wikimedia Commons

29. New Hampshire
> Selected endangered species: Roseate Tern (Sterna dougallii dougallii), Karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis)

Source: NOAA & vonOettingen Susi / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / WIkimedia Commons

30. New Jersey
> Selected endangered species: Leatherback Sea Turtle (ermochelys coriacea), Dwarf Wedgemussel (alasmidonta heterodon)

Source: Joel Deluxe / Flickr & Los Alamos National Laboratory

31. New Mexico
> Selected endangered species: Rio Grande Silvery Minnow (hybognathus amarus), Jemez Mountains Salamander (plethodon neomexicanus)

Source: Stihler Craig, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / Wikimedia Commons & Andrew King / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / Wikimedia Commons

32. New York
> Selected endangered species: Clubshell (pleurobema clava), Indiana Bat (myotis sodalis)

Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service & B. Jones / NC Wildlife Resources Commission

33. North Carolina
> Selected endangered species: Saint Francis’ Satyr Butterfly (neonympha mitchellii francisci), Cape Fear Shiner (notropis mekistocholas)

Source: Sasata / Wikimedia Commons & Ryan Hagerty / USFWS / Wikimedia Commons

34. North Dakota
> Selected endangered species: Whooping Crane (grus americana), Pallid Sturgeon (scaphirhynchus albus)

Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters & Nate and Erin Fuller / Wikimedia Commons

35. Ohio
> Selected endangered species: White Cat’s Paw (epioblasma obliquata perobliqua), Mitchell’s Satyr Butterfly (neonympha mitchellii mitchellii)

Source: Brenda Clark / Wikimedia Commons & USFWS Endangered Species / Flickr

36. Oklahoma
> Selected endangered species: Ozark Big-Eared Bat (corynorhinus townsendii ingens), Winged Mapleleaf (quadrula fragosa)

Source: ukanda / Wikimedia Commons & Bill Stagnaro / Wikimedia Commons


37. Oregon
> Selected endangered species: Vernal pool tadpole shrimp (Lepidurus packardi), Loggerhead Sea Turtle (caretta caretta)

Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / Wikimedia Commons & vonOettingen Susi, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / Wikimedia Commons

38. Pennsylvania
> Selected endangered species: Indiana Bat (myotis sodalis), Northern Riffleshell (epioblasma torulosa rangiana)


Source: USFWS & Wikimedia Commons

39. Rhode Island
> Selected endangered species: Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), Hawksbill Sea Turtle (eretmochelys imbricata)

Source: NPS / U.S. FWS


40. South Carolina
> Selected endangered species: Carolina Heelsplitter (lasmigona decorata), Kemp’s ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii)

Source: David. L. Cuthrell & Dr. M.C. Barnhart / USFWS

41. South Dakota
> Selected endangered species: Poweshiek Skipperling (oarisma poweshiek), Scaleshell Mussel (leptodea leptodon)

Source: Tim Merritt / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service & J.R. Shute - Conservation Fisheries, INC. Knoxville, TN / Wikimedia Commons

42. Tennessee
> Selected endangered species: Nashville Crayfish (orconectes shoupi), Laurel Dace (chrosomus saylori)

Source: Lavendowski, George / U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

43. Texas
> Selected endangered species: Attwater’s Prairie-Chicken (tympanuchus cupido attwateri), Houston Toad (bufo houstonensis)


Source: NPS & Pacific Southwest Region USFWS / WIkimedia Commons

44. Utah
> Selected endangered species: Humpback chub (Gila cypha), Southwestern Willow Flycatcher (empidonax traillii extimus)

Source: vonOettingen Susi / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / Wikimedia Commons

45. Vermont
> Selected endangered species: Dwarf Wedgemussel (alasmidonta heterodon), Indiana Bat (myotis sodalis)

Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service & Brian Gratwicke / Wikimedia Commons

46. Virginia
> Selected endangered species: Shenandoah Salamander (plethodon shenandoah), Virginia Fringed Mountain Snail (polygyriscus virginianus)

Source: Courtesy of WAFWO & U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


47. Washington
> Selected endangered species: Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbit (brachylagus idahoensis), Island marble Butterfly (Euchloe ausonides insulanus)

Source: Zachary Loughman / West Liberty University & USFS / Wikimedia Commons

48. West Virginia
> Selected endangered species: Guyandotte River Crayfish (cambarus veteranus), Diamond Darter (crystallaria cincotta)


Source: USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab / Flickr & U.S. FWS

49. Wisconsin
> Selected endangered species: Rusty Patched Bumble Bee (bombus affinis), Hine’s emerald dragonfly (Somatochlora hineana)


Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / Wikimedia Commons

50. Wyoming
> Selected endangered species: Kendall Warm Springs Dace (rhinichthys osculus thermalis), Wyoming Toad (Bufo hemiophrys baxteri)

Detailed Findings & Methodology

Since the passage of the endangered species legislation, some animals have made a comeback. These include the American alligators, brown pelicans, eastern Steller sea lions, and the nation’s symbol, the bald eagle.

The road to preserving the nation’s endangered species is long. Even with more than four decades of legislated protection for endangered animals, the U.S. is ranked second worldwide in the number of endangered species by country, with about 1,500 domestic species threatened, according to the Mother Nature Network website.

The number of endangered species varies by state. Hawaii accounts for about 0.2% of the U.S. land area, but it is home to 25% of the federally endangered species, according to the Mother Nature Network. Among animals at risk in Hawaii is the Hawaiian monk seal, one of Earth’s most endangered animals. There are only about 1,000 in existence.

As one might expect, there are various species of sea turtles, rabbits, and cranes on this list. More generally, it includes mammals, marine animals, fish, insects, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and more. Some are more well known, like species of bats, butterfly, and salmon, while others are less known, like species of amphipod and limpet.

Included among the animals most at risk are different species of mollusks such as the spectaclecase, a freshwater mussel. Mollusks are often threatened because of dams, which disrupt water flow patterns and change water temperature. Losses of mollusks imperil the ecosystem because they are a food source for fish, and they recycle plant and animal waste that helps keep water clean.

To identify the most threatened animals in every state, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s listing of endangered animals in the United States. Many of the endangered animals are not unique to one state but are threatened in a great number of states. Only 31 states have animals endangered only there. To find which of the threatened animals in these 31 states are most endangered, we turned to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s inventory of threatened species. Many of the most threatened animals listed here were found to be “critically endangered” on the IUCN’s Red List. We used this same approach to evaluate the threat level of endangered animals in the remaining 19 states, but in these cases animals may be listed as endangered in other states as well.

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