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States with the most endangered species

  • #19. Arkansas (tie)

    - Total endangered species: 34
    - Notable species:
    --- Benton County cave crayfish (scientific name: Cambarus aculabrum, IUCN category: critically endangered)
    --- Hell Creek Cave crayfish (scientific name: Cambarus zophonastes, IUCN category: critically endangered)
    --- Ivory-billed woodpecker (scientific name: Campephilus principalis, IUCN category: critically endangered)

    The Ivory-billed woodpecker was once the third largest woodpecker in the world. After a steep decline in numbers due to destruction of its old-growth forest habitat, the last universally-accepted sighting of this bird was in 1944. After a report of a sighting in Arkansas in 2005, a search of 523,000 acres over eight states failed to produce definitive evidence of its survival. Additional sightings were reported in a journal publication in 2017, but many experts were unconvinced.


  • #19. Illinois (tie)

    - Total endangered species: 34
    - Notable species:
    --- Illinois cave amphipod (scientific name: Gammarus acherondytes, IUCN category: endangered)

    The Illinois cave amphipod is a tiny crustacean less than one inch long. Unique to Illinois, it is currently found in only three caves, half the number where it was originally known to exist. It requires cold, clean water, and is affected by human activities—such as the use of pesticides—that pollute the groundwater, so the increasing human population puts additional pressure on its survival. Since the species was listed as endangered, land has been acquired to protect its habitat.


  • #18. Missouri

    - Total endangered species: 36
    - Notable species:
    --- Tumbling Creek cavesnail (scientific name: Antrobia culveri, IUCN category: endangered)
    --- Niangua darter (scientific name: Etheostoma nianguae, IUCN category: vulnerable)

    The tiny Tumbling Creek cavesnail is found in only one cave in Missouri and its numbers have declined by 99% since 1974. This aquatic snail is only 1/10 of an inch long, and while little is known about it, it is thought to be affected by declines in water quality due to factors such as erosion from overgrazing, agricultural runoff, and increasing development. An invasive crayfish reported in their habitat may prey on them.


  • #17. South Carolina

    - Total endangered species: 37
    - Notable species:
    --- Carolina heelsplitter (scientific name: Lasmigona decorata, IUCN category: critically endangered)
    --- Miccosukee gooseberry (scientific name: Ribes echinellum)

    The Miccosukee gooseberry, a perennial shrub, occurs in only two widely-distant locations—Jefferson County in Florida and McCormick County in South Carolina. The South Carolina population has been shown to have low genetic diversity, which affects its reproductive success. Browsing by deer is also a threat, as is competition from invasive species.

  • #15. Oregon (tie)

    - Total endangered species: 41
    - Notable species:
    --- Rough popcornflower (scientific name: Plagiobothrys hirtus)
    --- Columbian white-tailed deer (scientific name: Odocoileus virginianus leucurus)
    --- Fender's blue butterfly (scientific name: Icaricia icarioides fenderi)

    Fender's blue butterfly is found nowhere else than the upland prairies of the Willamette Valley in western Oregon. Thought to have gone extinct in 1937, it was rediscovered in 1989 and listed endangered in 2000. Its native prairie habitat has either been developed, or else the natural succession of disturbance and regrowth that it requires has been interrupted by fire suppression and other land management techniques. The encroachment of shrubs and trees shade out the native lupine plains that the butterfly depends on.

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  • #15. Utah (tie)

    - Total endangered species: 41
    - Notable species:
    --- Pariette cactus (scientific name: Sclerocactus brevispinus, IUCN category: critically endangered)
    --- Utah prairie dog (scientific name: Cynomys parvidens, IUCN category: endangered)

    Prairie dogs used to inhabit the West in the hundreds of millions, and even the less-numerous Utah species was estimated to number 95,000 in the 1920s. Thought to be pests, they were reduced in number by poisoning and disease, and by 1972 only a little over 3,000 remained. Since their listing in 1973, reintroduction and transportation have increased their numbers, but some amount of regulated killing has been allowed, and continuing human population growth poses an ongoing threat.

  • #14. Nevada

    - Total endangered species: 42
    - Notable species:
    --- Devils Hole pupfish (scientific name: Cyprinodon diabolis, IUCN category: critically endangered)
    --- Pahrump poolfish (scientific name: Empetrichthys latos, IUCN category: critically endangered)
    --- White River spinedace (scientific name: Lepidomeda albivallis, IUCN category: critically endangered)

    The Devils Hole pupfish is so named because its behavior resembles frolicking puppies. It’s one of the rarest fish in the world, with one of the smallest ranges of any vertebrate: just the top 80 feet of a cavern in the Mojave desert, in waters that are 93 degrees and with oxygen levels almost too low for fish to survive. The population has been steeply declining since the 1990s, with a low of 35 fish reported at one point. While their habitat is now protected, the reason for their decline is still not clear.

  • #13. Kentucky

    - Total endangered species: 46
    - Notable species:
    --- Cumberlandian combshell (scientific name: Epioblasma brevidens, IUCN category: critically endangered)
    --- Duskytail darter (scientific name: Etheostoma percnurum, IUCN category: critically endangered)
    --- Cumberland elktoe (scientific name: Alasmidonta atropurpurea, IUCN category: endangered)

    The Duskytail darter is a small bottom-dwelling fish that feeds on aquatic insects and is named for its habit of darting for cover when threatened. It was only discovered to occur in Kentucky in 1995, and some of the few populations found have already disappeared since then. They require clear river water, so have been threatened by pollution and siltation, and by dams' changing water levels. Some have been successfully introduced into additional locations in Tennessee as a result of conservation efforts.


  • #12. Mississippi

    - Total endangered species: 49
    - Notable species:
    --- Bayou darter (scientific name: Etheostoma rubrum, IUCN category: endangered)
    --- Pearl darter (scientific name: Percina aurora, IUCN category: endangered)
    --- Yellow-blotched map turtle (scientific name: Graptemys flavimaculata, IUCN category: vulnerable)

    The yellow-blotched map turtle is found only in the Pascagoula River system in southern Mississippi. Its population has declined due to habitat loss, including silting, pollution, and the channeling of rivers for flood control. They are also impacted by collection for the pet trade and competition from invasive species.


  • #11. New Mexico

    - Total endangered species: 54
    - Notable species:
    --- Noel's amphipod (scientific name: Gammarus desperatus, IUCN category: critically endangered)
    --- Texas hornshell (scientific name: Popenaias popeii, IUCN category: critically endangered)
    --- Socorro springsnail (scientific name: Pyrgulopsis neomexicana, IUCN category: critically endangered)

    Springsnails are a diverse group of aquatic invertebrates found in the western U.S. that are increasingly at risk due to threats to their habitat, including groundwater pumping and livestock grazing. New Mexico has nine species that are found nowhere else, and of these, the Socorro springsnail is the most endangered.

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