Species At Risk

Middlesex

King Rail
American Badger
Goldenseal

Species at risk in Middlesex region

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.
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.
Chimney Swift
Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica)
threatened
These birds breed and roost in chimneys as well as other manmade structures, including air vents, old open wells, outhouses, abandoned cisterns and lighthouses.
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.
Hooded Warbler
Hooded Warbler (Wilsonia citrina)
special concern
Although these warblers appear to form monogamous pairs, recent DNA studies found that only about two thirds of females produce offspring that are fathered by their social mate.
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.
Loggerhead Shrike
Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus)
endangered
Shrikes are sometimes called "butcher bird" because they impale their prey on thorns, barbed wire or sharp twigs.
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.
Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)
special concern
The peregrine falcon is one of the world’s fastest animals, and has been clocked diving for prey at speeds of 160 km an hour.
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

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 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.
Northern Brook Lamprey
Northern Brook Lamprey (Ichthyomyzon fossor)
special concern
Unlike some other lamprey species, the Northern Brook Lamprey is non-parasitic and does not attach itself to larger host fish. The larvae are filter-feeders, consuming microscopic plant and animal life and decaying matter. Adults have a non-functional intestine and do not feed.
Northern Madtom
Northern Madtom (Noturus stigmosus)
endangered
The sharp spines and poison glands found on the pectoral fins of the Northern Madtom can cause a painful wound!
Silver Shiner
Silver Shiner (Notropis photogenis)
special concern
Silver Shiners are easily confused with Emerald Shiners and Rosyface Shiners, which may have contributed to the fact that they were only confirmed in Canada in 1973, but may have always been present.
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.

Insects

Rusty-patched Bumble Bee
Rusty-patched Bumble Bee (Bombus affinis)
endangered
The Rusty-patched Bumble Bee gets nectar from flowers by biting a hole in the outside of it and sucking up the nectar with its tongue. This behaviour, called “nectar-robbing”, leaves marks on the flower than can help researchers detect the bees’ presence in an area.

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.
Woodland Vole
Woodland Vole (Microtus pinetorum)
special concern
Woodland Voles are monogamous, and both males and females participate in caring for the young.

Mussels

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.
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.
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.
Crooked-stem Aster
Crooked-stem Aster (Symphyotrichum prenanthoides)
threatened
Bees and butterflies pollinate the flowers of the Crooked-stem Aster. The seeds are scattered by wind after ripening.
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.
Drooping Trillium
Drooping Trillium (Trillium flexipes)
endangered
Drooping Trillium may take up to 10 years to produce flowers.
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.
False Hop Sedge
False Hop Sedge (Carex lupuliformis)
endangered
The tiny flowers of False Hop Sedge are wind pollinated, so the plant does not attract many insects. However, the caterpillars of various butterflies, skippers, and moths feed on various sedge species, while a number of species of birds feed on the seeds.
False Rue-anemone
False Rue-anemone (Enemion biternatum)
threatened
Unlike other flowering plants, False Rue-anemone does not produce nectar to attract insects to pollinate its flowers. However, because it is one of the first plants to produce flowers in the spring, it is able to attract insects that don’t yet have tastier options.
Goldenseal
Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)
threatened
A tea made from the roots of Goldenseal was used in traditional aboriginal medicine to treat a variety of complaints including ulcerated or inflamed mucous membranes. This plant continues to be popular in herbal medicine today, but only farm-grown Goldenseal should be used owing to its extreme rarity in the wild.
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.
Heart-leaved Plantain
Heart-leaved Plantain (Plantago cordata)
endangered
Heart-leaved Plantain is capable of self-pollinating but generally the seeds are wind-pollinated.
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.
Large Whorled Pogonia
Large Whorled Pogonia (Isotria verticillata)
endangered
As do all orchids, Large Whorled Pogonia has a symbiotic relationship with fungus found in the soil, which means they are interdependent for nourishment and survival. The Large Whorled Pogonia will only produce seeds if the necessary fungus is present in the soil.
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.
Spoon-leaved Moss
Spoon-leaved Moss (Bryoandersonia illecebra)
endangered
A previously unknown population of Spoon-leaved Moss was discovered in Welland County in 2002.
Tuberous Indian-plantain
Tuberous Indian-plantain (Arnoglossum plantagineum)
special concern
"Tuberous" refers to the plant’s fleshy, thickened roots.
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.
Wood-poppy
Wood-poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum)
endangered
Wood-poppy seeds have an "elaiosome", which is a fleshy structure that is rich in lipids and proteins. Ants, which are attracted to these elaiosomes, carry them back to their nests, feed them to their larvae, and then discard the intact seed. In doing this, the ants serve as dispersers of the Wood-poppy seeds.

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 Foxsnake
Eastern Foxsnake (Pantherophis gloydi)
endangered (Carolinian population), threatened (Georgian Bay population)
If frightened, this harmless snake will mimic a rattlesnake by vibrating the tip of its tail in leaf litter to produce a buzzing noise.
Eastern Hog-nosed Snake
Eastern Hog-nosed Snake (Heterodon platirhinos)
threatened
Unlike other snakes that tend to hibernate in groups, the Eastern Hog-nosed Snake usually spends the winter months alone. It may hibernate in a pre-existing burrow or dig a burrow in the ground with its snout.
Gray Ratsnake
Gray Ratsnake (Pantherophis spiloides)
Endangered (Carolinian population), Threatened (Frontenac Axis population)
This snake is an excellent climber and may be seen up a tree or bush sunning, preparing to shed its skin or hunting for prey.
Massasauga Rattlesnake
Massasauga Rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus)
threatened
The Massasauga is very shy and prefers to hide or retreat from enemies rather than bite them. If threatened, it will shake its tail as a warning and strike only as a last resort to protect itself if it can not escape.
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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Protection of species and habitat may have an impact on local planners, developers and land owners.



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.