Many endemic invertebrate species have been identified throughout Florida. Florida’s unique biodiversity has led to invertebrate species with limited ranges, habitats, or associations.
The Chipola slabshell (Elliptio chiplolaensis, FT) is only found in the Chipola River.
The fat threeridge (Amblema neislerii, FE) inhabits slow to moderate flowing rivers with sand, gravel, or rocky bottoms. They can be found in the Apalachicola and Chipola rivers in northwest Florida.
The Gulf moccasinshell (Medionidus penicillatus, FE) inhabits creeks and large rivers with sandy or gravel bottoms. They are found in the Ecofina Creek and the Chipola River.
The Ochlockonee moccasinshell (Medionidus simpsonianus, FE) is only found in the Ochlockonee River system.
The oval pigtoe (Pleurobema pyriforme, FE) inhabits slow to moderate flowing rivers or creeks with sandy silt or gravel bottoms. This species can be found in the Chipola, Ochlockonee, and Suwannee river systems and Ecofina Creek.
The purple bankclimber (Elliptoideus sloatianus, FT) inhabits slow to moderate flowing rivers and can be found in the Ochlockonee and Apalachicola rivers.
The shinyrayed pocketbook (Lampsilis subangulata, FE) inhabits rivers or creeks with a sandy silt bottom. They can be found in the Apalachicola, Chipola, and Ochlockonee rivers.
Other listed mussels that occur in Florida also include the Choctaw bean (Villosa choctawensis, FE), fuzzy pigtoe (Pleurobema strodeanum, FT), narrow pigtoe (Fusconaia Escambia, FT), round ebonyshell (Fusconaia rotulata, FE), southern kidneyshell (Ptychobranchus jonesi, FE), southern sandshell (Hamiota australis, FT), Suwannee moccasinshell (Medionidus walkeri, FT) and tapered pigtoe (Fusconaia burkei, FT).
Freshwater mussels are threatened by river impoundment, development, and pollution. Conservation activities for these species can include riparian habitat restoration and protection of priority watersheds.
- Florida’s Freshwater Mussels and Clams (FWC and USFWS)
- 7-Species Recovery Plan (USFWS)
- Determining Potential Effects to Listed Mussels or their Habitat (USFWS)
- Freshwater Mussel Survey Protocol (USFWS)
The Black Creek crayfish (Procambarus pictus, ST) inhabits tannic streams under tree roots and vegetation in St. Johns, Duval, Clay, and Putnam counties. They are vulnerable to surface water pollution, siltation, damming, and water temperature changes.
The Panama City crayfish [Procambarus econfinae, State-designated Species of special Concern (SSC)] is a small, burrowing crayfish, approximately two inches long, that is found only in a small portion of Bay County in the vicinity of Panama City. They can be found in wet flatwoods and shallow herbaceous wetlands, although they will utilize altered habitat like vegetated ditches, swales, and utility rights-of-way. Suitable habitat is typically dominated by herbaceous vegetation with little to no shrub or tree cover. Habitat loss associated with urban development is their main threat.
The Santa Fe cave crayfish (Procambarus erythrops, ST) is endemic to a small number of sinkholes and caves in Suwannee and Columbia counties. Their limited locations and small population make them vulnerable to extinction. Santa Fe cave crayfish are most threatened due to habitat degradation from garbage dumping, groundwater pollution, and mining.
The American burying beetle's (Nicrophorus americanus, FE) full distribution is unknown, but there was one undated record from Marion County, Florida. They only breed once in their lifetime and potential breeding pairs meet at a carcass where they bury and preserve it for their young to feed on it. Carrion beetles play a vital role in ecosystem functioning by recycling nutrients back into the soil.
The Miami tiger beetle (Cicindela floridana, FE) is found exclusively in pine rocklands. There are two known populations found in Miami-Dade County, both surrounded by urban development.
The Bartram’s scrub-hairstreak (Strymon acisbartrami, FE) and Florida leafwing butterfly (Anaea troglodyte floridalis, FE) are endemic to south Florida and can only be found in pine rocklands habitat that supports their host plant, pineland croton. The primary threats these species face are habitat loss, fire suppression, and sea level rise.
The Schaus’ swallowtail butterfly (Heraclides aristodemus ponceanus, FE) can be found in south Florida. Their historic range extended from Miami to Matecumbe Key. They are primarily found now in tropical hardwood hammocks in Biscayne National Park, North Key Largo, and adjacent areas. Their primary threatis habitat loss.
The Miami blue butterfly (Cyclargus thomasi bethunebakeri, FE) can be found in south Florida along edges of tropical hardwood hammock, beachside scrub, and occasionally in pine rocklands. Their primary host plant is gray nickerbean. Surviving populations occur in Key West National Wildlife Refuge and Bahia Honda State Park. Threats include habitat loss, fragmentation, pesticides, collecting, and invasive species. This species is often confused with other similarly appearing butterflies: Cassius blue [Leptotes cassius theonus, Federally-designated Threatened due to similarity of appearance (FT(S/A)], Cerraunus blue (Hemiargus ceraunus antibubastus, FT(S/A)), and Nickerbean blue butterflies (Cyclargus ammon, FT(S/A)). These butterflies are federally threatened based on similarity of appearance to the Miami blue.
The elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata), pillar coral (Dendrogyra cylindrus), and staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) are all federally-threatened corals which occur in Florida. These corals occur off the south and southeast coast of Florida.
The elkhorn coral inhabits marine waters at depths of 20 feet or less, whereas as staghorn coral can grow anywhere from the water surface to 100 feet below the surface.
As global climate change continues, all coral face the threats of bleaching, sea level rise, ocean acidification, and increased frequency and intensity of hurricanes. Sedimentation from runoff and dredging projects also is a major threat to these species, as the increased sediment prevents light from reaching the coral, therefore preventing growth. Other threats include extreme variations of water temperature and salinity, and direct physical damage caused by anchors and boats.