Species At Risk

Chatham-Kent

Blue Ash
Spiny Softshell
Woodland Vole

Species at risk in Chatham-Kent region

Amphibians

Fowler's Toad
Fowler's Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri)
endangered
Fowler’s Toads are nocturnal and are mostly active at night, but can occasionally be seen during rainy, overcast days.

Birds

Acadian Flycatcher
Acadian Flycatcher (Empidonax virescens)
endangered
The Acadian Flycatcher only spends about four months of the year in Canada. The rest of the time, it is migrating or wintering in the tropical forests of Central America and northern South America.
Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
special concern
The raspy scream of the bald eagle often heard on movies and TV is actually from a red-tailed hawk. This bird actually gives a sort of watery, gurgling trill that doesn’t sound like it suits the bird.
Barn Owl
Barn Owl (Tyto alba)
endangered
These birds hunt in the dark and have keen hearing – so keen they can capture prey even in total darkness.
Black Tern
Black Tern (Chlidonias niger)
special concern
The Black Tern is very social. It breeds in loose colonies and usually forages, roosts and migrates in flocks of a few to more than 100 birds, occasionally up to tens of thousands.
Bobolink
Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus)
threatened
These birds migrate from Ontario to Argentina - one of the longest migrations of any North American songbird.
Cerulean Warbler
Cerulean Warbler (Cardellina canadensis)
threatened
Since this warbler is a bird of the tree tops, it is often best identified from below. Birdwatchers will recognize adult males by the thin dark band that crosses the upper part of the predominantly white breast.
Tortue musquée
menacée
Au contraire des autres tortues, la tortue musquée quitte rarement l’eau, sauf lorsque les femelles pondent des œufs. Elle passe la plupart de ses journées se reposant sur le fond meuble du lac, à la recherche de nourriture ou se réchauffant au soleil sous de la végétation aquatique flottante dans l’eau peu profonde.
Eastern Whip-poor-will
Eastern Whip-poor-will (Caprimulgus vociferus)
threatened
Chicks seem to hatch near full moons, giving parents more light for foraging so they can supply the extra energy demands of their rapidly-growing brood.
Henslow’s Sparrow
Henslow’s Sparrow (Ammodramus henslowii)
endangered
The Henslow’s Sparrow is a short-distance migrant, travelling only as far as the southern United States, primarily from Texas to Georgia.
King Rail
King Rail (Rallus elegans)
endangered
During courtship, males present crayfish or small crabs to females in their bill.
Least Bittern
Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis)
threatened
The Least Bittern is more likely to be heard than seen in its dense marsh habitat. The typical call given by males is a hollow, quiet “coo-coo-coo”. When alarmed, they can give a harsh “kek-kek-kek” call. They are most vocal in early morning and evening, but could potentially call anytime during the day or night.
Louisiana Waterthrush
Louisiana Waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla)
special concern
The Louisiana Waterthrush is among the earliest long-distance migrating birds to arrive back to Canada in the spring, typically arriving by mid-April.
Northern Bobwhite
Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus)
endangered
The male and female select the location for the nest and build it together. Both parents share the tasks of incubating eggs and caring for the young, however, it is not uncommon for one of the parents to incubate the first clutch once complete (often the male) while the other leaves to take another mate and start another clutch.
Prothonotary Warbler
Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea)
endangered
The Prothonotary Warbler was named after legal clerks in the Roman Catholic Church, known as prothonotaries, who sometimes wear a golden hood and a blue cape.
Yellow-breasted Chat
Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens)
endangered
The Yellow-breasted Chat's song consists of a weird assortment of clicks, whistles ands even chuckles.

Fish

Blackstripe Topminnow
Blackstripe Topminnow (Fundulus notatus)
special concern
The Blackstripe Topminnow was first discovered in Ontario in 1972, however it is believed that it has always lived here and has always been very rare.
Eastern Sand Darter
Eastern Sand Darter (Ammocrypta pellucida)
endangered
During the breeding season, the normally drab-looking, male Eastern Sand Darters become flushed with yellowish colouration and can develop metallic blue and green colours on their cheeks.
Lake Chubsucker
Lake Chubsucker (Erimyzon sucetta)
threatened
Female Lake Chubsuckers can lay up to 20,000 eggs each!
Lake Sturgeon
Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens)
special concern (Southern Hudson Bay/James Bay population), threatened (Northwestern Ontario and Great Lakes-Upper St. Lawrence River populations)
The oldest known specimen of this fish, from Lake Huron, is 155 years old.
Pugnose Shiner
Pugnose Shiner (Notropis anogenus)
endangered
The Pugnose Shiner is one of the rarest minnows in eastern North America.
Silver Chub
Silver Chub (Macrhybopsis storeriana)
special concern
Pollution abatement in and around Lake Erie has improved water quality dramatically which has helped improve habitat conditions for the Silver Chub.
Spotted Gar
Spotted Gar (Lepisosteus oculatus)
threatened
The Spotted Gar can breathe air! It uses a special organ called a swim bladder like a lung when the fish comes to the surface for a breath of air. This allows the fish to live in areas with little oxygen in the water. Like most fishes, the Spotted Gar also uses gills to breath underwater.
Spotted Sucker
Spotted Sucker (Minytrema melanops)
special concern
Spotted Sucker was not observed in Canada until 1962, when it was captured by a commerical fisherman in Lake St. Clair.

Lizards

Common Five-lined Skink
Common Five-lined Skink (Plestiodon fasciatus)
endangered (Carolinian population), special concern (Great Lakes/St. Lawrence population)
When attacked by a potential predator, a skink's tail can "autotomize": spontaneously break off and thrash for several minutes, distracting the predator so the lizard can escape. The tail is able to grow back at a rate of about six millimetres a week.

Mammals

American Badger
American Badger (Taxidea taxus)
endangered
When threatened, badgers release a foul smelling musk to drive off enemies.
Eastern Mole
Eastern Mole (Scalopus aquaticus)
special concern
Eastern Moles can dig more than a metre in an hour, and their tunnels can be up to a kilometre long.
Woodland Vole
Woodland Vole (Microtus pinetorum)
special concern
Woodland Voles are monogamous, and both males and females participate in caring for the young.

Mussels

Eastern Pondmussel
Eastern Pondmussel (Ligumia nasuta)
endangered
To attract fish for its larvae to attach to, the female pondmussel produces a lure that looks like the wriggling legs of a swimming shrimp.
Kidneyshell
Kidneyshell (Ptychobranchus fasciolaris)
endangered
Kidneyshell larvae are clustered into packages called "conglutinates" when released, and somewhat resemble fish fry complete with eye spots, or insect larvae. When a fooled fish bites down on one of these packages, the larvae burst out and attach to the fish gills where they live as parasites and consume nutrients from the fish until they transform into juvenile mussels and drop off.
Northern Riffleshell
Northern Riffleshell (Epioblasma torulosa rangiana)
endangered
Northern Riffleshell may be the most imperiled mussel species we have in Ontario, as it is believed there are fewer than 15 locations where this species occurs globally.
Rayed Bean
Rayed Bean (Villosa fabalis)
endangered
The Rayed Bean is extremely rare throughout its range. It is known from fewer than 25 river systems in Canada and the United States.
Round Hickorynut
Round Hickorynut (Obovaria subrotunda)
endangered
It is estimated that Round Hickorynut populations in Canada have declined by more than 90 per cent since the invasion of the Great Lakes by Zebra Mussels.
Round Pigtoe
Round Pigtoe (Pleurobema sintoxia)
endangered
Round Pigtoe eggs hatch inside a special pouch in the mother’s gills called a marsupium, where the larvae are supported before being ejected into the water.
Salamander Mussel
Salamander Mussel (Simpsonaias ambigua)
endangered
The larvae of most freshwater mussels must attach to a fish host in order to survive. Once attached, the tiny parasitic larvae consume nutrients from the fish until they transform into mussels. The Salamander Mussel is unique in that their larvae use the aquatic Mudpuppy salamander as a host, instead of a fish.
Wavy-rayed Lampmussel
Wavy-rayed Lampmussel (Lampsilis fasciola)
threatened
The Wavy-rayed Lampmussel can fish. To attract a fish host that its parasitic larvae can attach to, the female produces a lure that looks like a wriggling minnow. When a fooled fish attacks the lure, the mussel ejects its larvae, which have a better chance of attaching to the host at such a close distance.
Snuffbox
Snuffbox (Epioblasma triquetra)
endangered
The Snuffbox's main host is the Logperch, which is known to frequently roll over small stones and gravel in search of food. The Snuffbox waits patiently for a Logperch to come along and touch its shell. The Snuffbox then captures the Logperch in its shell and holds the stunned fish long enough to puff out a cloud of mussel larvae that attach to the fish gills, where they live as parasites that consume nutrients from the fish body. The startled fish is then released.

Plants

American Chestnut
American Chestnut (Castanea dentata)
endangered
People used the American Chestnut for treating numerous ailments (from coughs and dermatitis to heart trouble), as a staple food and beverage, to build shelters, for firewood and as a source of dye. Early settlers soon realized the many important uses of this tree.
American Ginseng
American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)
endangered
Aboriginal people have used American Ginseng for a wide range of medicinal purposes including treatment of headaches, earaches, rheumatism, convulsions, bleeding, fevers, vomiting, tuberculosis, gonorrhea and as a cure-all when other treatments failed.
American Water-willow
American Water-willow (Justicia americana)
threatened
American Water-willow (Latin name: Justicia americana) is named after James Justice who was an 18th century Scottish horticulturalist and botanist. “Americana” refers to the plant being native to the Americas.
Bent spike-rush
Bent spike-rush (Eleocharis geniculata)
endangered
This plant can store seeds in the soil for years waiting for the right conditions to grow.
Blue Ash
Blue Ash (Fraxinus quadrangulata)
special concern
Blue Ash is named for the dye which can be extracted by mashing and cooking the inner trunk bark. It was used by First Nations and early European settlers.
Broad Beech Fern
Broad Beech Fern (Phegopteris hexagonoptera)
special concern
Broad Beech Fern reproduces through spores. The spores are contained in a case-like structure called a sporangium. The sporangia burst upon maturity at the end of summer and the spores are scattered through the air.
Climbing Prairie Rose
Climbing Prairie Rose (Rosa setigera)
special concern
Climbing Prairie Rose is dioecious (having male and female reproductive structures on separate plants), which is unusual for rose species.
Colicroot
Colicroot (Aletris farinosa)
threatened
Colicroot is also known as “Ague root” because it was used to treat some fevers, which were often referred to as “ague” in Middle English.
Common Hoptree
Common Hoptree (Ptelea trifoliata)
threatened
Common Hoptree is one of two native larval host plants for the rare Giant Swallowtail butterfly.
Dense Blazing Star
Dense Blazing Star (Liatris spicata)
threatened
Dense Blazing Star is able to grow in soil that is contaminated with cadmium by turning this toxic heavy metal into a non-toxic form in its tissues.
Eastern Flowering Dogwood
Eastern Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)
endangered
The bright red fruit of this tree is poisonous to humans but can be eaten by over 50 species of birds and small mammals. These animals help distribute Eastern Flowering Dogwood seeds throughout forests.
Eastern Prairie Fringed-orchid
Eastern Prairie Fringed-orchid (Platanthera leucophaea)
endangered
This orchid’s seeds are produced in huge numbers, but germination and seedling growth depend on the presence of special fungi in the soil.
Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus
Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia humifusa)
endangered
Birds sometimes nest among the stems of the Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus, where spines of the cactus aid in protecting eggs and nestlings from predators.
Green Dragon
Green Dragon (Arisaema dracontium)
special concern
The Green Dragon’s root is bitter tasting and poisonous unless specially prepared, but it was used medicinally by Aboriginal people and European settlers.
Kentucky Coffee-tree
Kentucky Coffee-tree (Gymnocladus dioicus)
threatened
The leaves and seeds of Kentucky Coffee-tree contain a toxic substance, the alkaloid, cytosine, which may be fatal if consumed. However, aboriginal people used the roasted seeds of the Kentucky Coffee-tree to treat headaches and relieve digestion problems. Roasting is supposed to neutralize the toxins.
Nodding Pogonia
Nodding Pogonia (Triphora trianthophora)
endangered
Orchids can remain dormant in the soil before emerging when the conditions are suitable.
Purple Twayblade
Purple Twayblade (Liparis liliifolia)
threatened
Purple Twayblade often grows in grassland savanna – one of the most endangered habitats in Canada. This extremely rare community supports an amazing diversity of wildlife, plants, butterflies and other insects.
Pygmy Pocket Moss
Pygmy Pocket Moss (Fissidens exilis)
special concern
Pygmy Pocket Moss can self-fertilize and produce fertile spores without being in close proximity to other Pygmy Pocket Mosses.
Red Mulberry
Red Mulberry (Morus rubra)
endangered
Unlike most fruit trees that are pollinated by insects, the flowers of this plant are pollinated by the wind.
Riddell's Goldenrod
Riddell's Goldenrod (Solidago riddellii)
special concern
Riddell’s Goldenrod has the potential to self-pollinate but it is primarily an out-breeder, pollinated by a variety of flies, bees, wasps, and moths.
Showy Goldenrod
Showy Goldenrod (Solidago speciosa)
threatened (Boreal population), endangered (Great Lakes Plains population)
The root of this species was used by Aboriginal people for burns, strained muscles, trouble breathing and difficult labour.
Shumard Oak
Shumard Oak (Quercus shumardii)
special concern
The Shumard Oak’s shiny, deep-lobed leaves help distinguish the species from the similar-looking Red Oak.
Small White Lady's-slipper
Small White Lady's-slipper (Cypripedium candidum)
endangered
Individual Small White Lady’s-slipper plants may not flower until as many as 16 years after germination.
Swamp Rose-mallow
Swamp Rose-mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos)
special concern
The total Canadian population of Swamp Rose-mallow is estimated to consist of fewer than 10,000 plants.
Willowleaf Aster
Willowleaf Aster (Symphyotrichum praealtum)
threatened
Aboriginal people used Willowleaf Aster to treat stomach aches and injuries. They also smoked the dried leaves for good luck while hunting.

Snakes

Butler's Gartersnake
Butler's Gartersnake (Thamnophis butleri)
endangered
The Butler's Gartersnake exhibits a peculiar behaviour called side-winding. When excited, it will vigorously wriggle from side to side, making little forward progress.
Eastern Ribbonsnake
Eastern Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis sauritus)
special concern
Many species of snakes lay eggs, but Eastern Ribbonsnakes give birth to live young.
Milksnake
Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum)
special concern
The Milksnake got its name from the false belief that it takes milk from cows in barns, which it often inhabits. Milksnakes cannot drink milk, and are attracted to barns by the abundance of mice.
Queensnake
Queensnake (Regina septemvittata)
endangered
Queensnakes are excellent swimmers and can often be seen swimming and hunting underwater for their main food source – freshly-moulted crayfish. When freshly moulted, crayfish are soft, defenceless and easier to swallow. Ironically, during winter hibernation, crayfish turn the table and will eat juvenile and hibernating Queensnakes.

Turtles

Blanding's Turtle
Blanding's Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii)
threatened
These turtles can survive in the wild for more than 75 years.
Eastern Musk Turtle
Eastern Musk Turtle (Stinkpot) (Sternotherus odoratus)
threatened
Unlike other turtles, the Eastern Musk Turtle rarely leaves the water except when females lay eggs. It spends most of the day resting on the soft lake bottom, foraging for food or basking in the sun under floating aquatic vegetation in shallow water.
Northern Map Turtle
Northern Map Turtle (Graptemys geographica)
special concern
The Northern Map Turtle is extremely wary and will dive into the water at the slightest provocation.
Snapping Turtle
Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)
special concern
These turtles spend so much time underwater that algae grow on their shells. This helps them blend in with their surroundings.
Spiny Softshell
Spiny Softshell (Apalone spinifera)
threatened
The Spiny Softshell turtle captures crayfish and molluscs by partially burying itself underwater in the sand or mud and snatching unsuspecting prey. Its snorkel-like snout allows it to take a breath of air while submerged.
Spotted Turtle
Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata)
endangered
Most female and male turtles look a little bit different. In the case of Spotted Turtles, females have bright orange eyes and chins whereas males’ are dark brown or black.

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The Endangered Species Act


Contact your local ministry office


Often the best source of local information on species at risk is your nearest ministry office. Call with your questions or concerns.