Species At Risk

Niagara

Fowler's Toad
Hooded Warbler
Woodland Vole

Species at risk in Niagara region

Amphibians

Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander
Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus ochrophaeus)
endangered
When seized by a predator, the Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander has the ability to self-amputate its tail which continues to twitch, acting as an excellent diversion while the salamander escapes. A new tail soon replaces the old one.
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.
Jefferson Salamander
Jefferson Salamander (Ambystoma jeffersonianum)
threatened
Unlike most small animals, Jefferson salamanders can live a very long time – up to 30 years.
Northern Dusky Salamander
Northern Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus fuscus)
endangered
Northern Dusky Salamanders were once thought to be absent from Ontario, despite many historical reports, but were recently rediscovered in 1989.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Piping Plover
Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus)
endangered
Within an hour of hatching and drying off, chicks are able to find their own food.
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

Lake Chubsucker
Lake Chubsucker (Erimyzon sucetta)
threatened
Female Lake Chubsuckers can lay up to 20,000 eggs each!
Redside Dace
Redside Dace (Clinostomus elongatus)
endangered
Redside dace are the only fish in Canada with the ability to jump out of the water to eat.

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

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.
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.
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 Columbo
American Columbo (Frasera caroliniensis)
endangered
American Columbo may live for many years but it flowers only once and then dies.
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.
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.
Cherry Birch
Cherry Birch (Betula lenta)
endangered
A Cherry Birch tree can live for 265 years or longer.
Common Hoptree
Common Hoptree (Ptelea trifoliata)
threatened
Common Hoptree is one of two native larval host plants for the rare Giant Swallowtail butterfly.
Cucumber Tree
Cucumber Tree (Magnolia acuminata)
endangered
The Cucumber Tree gets its name from its fruit that is pickle-like in shape and changes from green to red as it ripens. Once ripe, the oily, scented seeds are exposed and hang by fine threads. It is assumed that birds are the main consumers and dispersers of these seeds.
Deerberry
Deerberry (Vaccinium stamineum)
threatened
Efforts are being made at St. Lawrence Islands National Park to re-introduce Deerberry to other areas of the park where the habitat is suitable, in order to increase the overall numbers of the species. Related research is being carried out in partnership with universities.
Dwarf Hackberry
Dwarf Hackberry (Celtis tenuifolia)
threatened
Many insects rely on the Dwarf Hackberry for survival. Several rare insects, including beetles that were only recently discovered in Canada, also depend on the Dwarf Hackberry for part of their life cycles.
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.
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.
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.
Round-leaved Greenbrier
Round-leaved Greenbrier (Smilax rotundifolia)
threatened
The seeds of Round-leaved Greenbrier can remain buried in the soil for at least three years while waiting for the right conditions to start growing a new plant.
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.
Spoon-leaved Moss
Spoon-leaved Moss (Bryoandersonia illecebra)
endangered
A previously unknown population of Spoon-leaved Moss was discovered in Welland County in 2002.
Spotted Wintergreen
Spotted Wintergreen (Chimaphila maculata)
endangered
Aboriginal peoples used Spotted Wintergreen for a variety of medicinal purposes including as a poultice, for rheumatism, and for the treatment of colds and fevers.
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.
Virginia Mallow
Virginia Mallow (Sida hermaphrodita)
endangered
In Poland and Russia, this plant is cultivated and used as biomass for creating energy and heat.
White Wood Aster
White Wood Aster (Eurybia divaricata)
threatened
The flowers of White Wood Aster are attractive to butterflies and it is the host plant for Pearly Crescents, a common North American butterfly.

Snakes

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.
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.

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.
Wood Turtle
Wood Turtle (Glyptemys insculpta)
endangered
Wood turtles do not begin reproducing until they are at least 17 years old.

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.