Species At Risk

Muskoka

Blanding's Turtle
Cerulean Warbler
Common Five-lined Skink

Species at risk in Muskoka region

Birds

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.
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.
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.
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.

Fish

Grass Pickerel
Grass Pickerel (Esox americanus vermiculatus)
special concern
The Grass Pickerel is a top predator and hunts by sight, either stalking or ambushing its preferred prey. Young Grass Pickerel usually feed on insects, while adults target other fish, sometimes even eating the young of their own species.
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.

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.

Plants

Branched Bartonia
Branched Bartonia (Bartonia paniculata)
threatened
This plant’s tiny fruits are only about four millimetres long, but each fruit contains 1,000 to 1,500 seeds.
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.
Engelmann's Quillwort
Engelmann's Quillwort (Isoetes engelmannii)
endangered
Researchers need to examine this plant under a microscope to tell the difference between different types of quillworts.
Forked Three-awned Grass
Forked Three-awned Grass (Aristida basiramea)
endangered
Since Forked Three-awned Grass is an annual, its growth and reproduction are influenced by each year’s environmental conditions. This makes estimating population size difficult, as a number of plants present in an area may remain relatively undetectable in the soil seed bank during any given year.

Snakes

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.
Eastern Ribbonsnake
Eastern Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis sauritus)
special concern
Many species of snakes lay eggs, but Eastern Ribbonsnakes give birth to live young.
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.

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.
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.

Planning work in an area with species at risk or their habitat?

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.