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) has a reddish-brown shell and reddish-yellow inner shell. It is only found in the Chipola River.
The fat threeridge (Amblema neislerii, FE) has a dark brown or black shell with seven to nine ridges. The inner shell can be bluish-white to light purple. They inhabit 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) is greenish-brown with green rays on its outer shell. The inner shell is green or dark purple. It inhabits creeks and large rivers with sandy or gravel bottoms. It is found in the Ecofina Creek and the Chipola River.
The Ochlockonee moccasinshell (Medionidus simpsonianus, FE) has a dark brown shell patterned with dark green rays and a bluish-white inner shell. It is only found in the Ochlockonee River system.
The oval pigtoe (Pleurobema pyriforme, FE) has a yellowish-brown outer shell and a white or pink inner shell. It 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) is gray to black with a white inner shell that fades to purple on the edge. It inhabits slow to moderate flowing rivers and can be found in the Ochlockonee and Apalachicola rivers.
The shinyrayed pocketbook (Lampsilis subangulata, FE) has a yellowish-brown outer shell decorated with green rays and an inner white shell. They inhabit rivers or creeks with a sandy silt bottom. They can be found in the Apalachicola, Chipola, and Ochlockonee rivers.
Recently 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). Currently, there is only limited information available for these federally protected species.
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 Panama City crayfish (Procambarus econfinae, 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 some 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. Panama City crayfish are distinguishable by color patterns, which consists of a brown body with a light brown mid-dorsal stripe and darker brown dorsolateral stripes, and reddish-brown spots on the lateral sides of the body. Habitat loss associated with increased urban development is their main threat.
The Black Creek crayfish (Procambarus pictus, ST) has a black carapace with white and yellow markings, and a dark red abdomen with black bands. They are distinguished by the presence of ten bumps on their claws. They inhabit tannic streams under tree roots and vegetation in St. Johns, Duval, Clay, and Putnam counties. They are vulnerable to pollution, siltation, damming, and water temperature changes.
The Santa Fe cave crayfish (Procambarus erythrops, ST) is endemic to a small number of sinkholes and caves in Suwannee and Columbia counties. It is an unpigmented crustacean with reduced eyes, each of which have a red or brown spot. Their limited locations and small population make them vulnerable to extinction. Major threats include pollution, limestone mining, and disturbances that may impact karst features.
The American burying beetle (Nicrophorus americanus, FE) has a black body with dark-orange markings on portion of their bodies (elytra and the pronotum). They appear above ground when temperatures are above 60°F to mate. Potential breeding pairs meet at a carcass where they bury and preserve it for their young to feed on it. They only breed once in their lifetime. Availability of carcasses is needed for their survival. Their full distribution is unknown, but there was one undated record from Marion County, Florida. Carrion beetles play a vital role in ecosystem functioning by recycling nutrients back into the soil.
Bartram’s scrub-hairstreak (Strymon acisbartrami, FE) and Florida leafwing butterflies (Anaea troglodyte floridalis, FE) are endemic to South Florida and can only be found in pine rocklands habitat with presence of their host plant, pineland croton. The Bartram’s scrub-hairstreak has dark gray upper wings with a light gray underside and distinctive white barring or dots. The Florida leafwing has a reddish-brown upper wing with a tan underside, resembling a dead leaf or bark when resting. The primary threats these species face are habitat loss, fire supression, and sea level rise.
Schaus’ swallowtail butterfly (Heraclides aristodemus ponceanus, FE) can be found in South Florida. Its historic range extended from Miami to Matacumbe Key. It is primarily found now in tropical hardwood hammocks in Biscayne National Park, North Key Largo, and adjacent areas. Its primary threats are habitat loss and pesticide spraying for mosquito control.
The Miami blue butterfly (Cyclargus thomasi bethunebakeri, FE) can be found in South Florida. Miami blues have blue upper wings with a gray underside marked with four black spots and a bright orange spot on the hindwing. The larvae of this species share a symbiotic relationship with several ant species. The Miami blue can be found along edges of tropical hardwood hammock, beachside scrub, and occasionally in pine rocklands. Its 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, 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 Miami tiger beetle (Cicindela floridana, FE) is a shiny, dark green ground beetle found exclusively in pine rocklands. There are two known populations found in Miami-Dade County, both locations are surrounded by urban development.