CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — West Virginia is known for being one of the most ‘Wild and Wonderful’ states in the nation.
As mountains and rivers create an abundance for nature and wildlife to prosper, some species seem to be having a harder time. This is where animals are considered either ‘threatened’ or ‘endangered’.
The definition of an endangered species, according to the West Virginia Conservation Agency (WVCA) is “one that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a portion of its range. Its population level is so critically low and/or its habitat is so degraded that immediate action must be taken to avoid the loss of the species.”
The WVCA defined ‘threatened species’ as those that will likely shift into the ‘endangered’ realm if preventative measures are not taken.
According to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR), the Mountain State is home to 22 species considered federally endangered. This grouping consists of 17 different animals and four plants. West Virginia is also the place where seven federally threatened species call home. Five of which are animals, with two plant species.
The WVDNR has a list on their website which provides the name and scientific name of ‘endangered’ and ‘threatened’ species that call West Virginia home.
Take a look at the list below! The list will consist of the species name, scientific name, and the year it was added to that particular WVDNR list.
Federally Endangered Species in West Virginia
- Indiana Bat | Myotis sodalis | 1967
- Gray Bat | Myotis grisescens | 1976
- Virginia Big-Eared Bat | Corynorhinus townsendii virginianus | 1979
- Pink mucket Pearlymussel | Lampsilis abrupta | 1976
- Fanshell | Cyprogenia stegaria | 1990
- Purple Cat’s Paw Pearlymussel | Epioblasma obliquata obliquata | 1990
- Northern Riffleshell | Epioblasma torulosa rangiana | 1993
- Clubshell | Pleurobema clava | 1993
- James Spinymussel | Pleurobema collina | 1998
- Snuffbox | Epioblasma triquetra | 2012
- Rayed Bean | Villosa fabalis | 2012
- Spectacle Case Pearlymussel | Cumberlandia monodonta | 2012
- Sheepnose | Plethobasus cyphyus | 2012
- Diamond Darter | Crystallaria cincotta | 2013
- Guyandotte River Crayfish | Cambarus veteranus | 2016
- Rusty Patched Bumble Bee | Bombus affinis | 2017
- Candy Darter | Etheostoma osburni | 2018
- Northern Long-Eared Bat | Myotis septentrionalis | 2022
- Monarch Butterfly | Danaus plexippus | 2022
- Harperella | Ptilimnium nodosum | 1988
- Shale Barren Rockcress | Arabos serotina | 1989
- Northeastern Bulrush | Scirpus ancistrochaetus | 1991
Federally Threatened Species
- Flat-Spired Three-Toothed Land Snail | Triodopsis platysayoides | 1978
- Madison Cave Isopod | Antrolana lira | 1982
- Small Whorled Pogonia | Isotria medeoloides | 1982
- Cheat Mountain Salamander | Plethodon nettingi | 1989
- Big Sandy Crayfish | Cambarus callainus | 2016
- Eastern Black-Rail | Laterallus jamaicensis jamaicensis | 2020
- Virginia Spiraea | Spiraea virginiana | 1990
According to the WVDNR’s list, there are also three animal species that are ‘proposed for listing’. The Round Hickorynut (Obovaria subrotunda) and Longsolid (Fusconaia subrotunda) are proposed for listing under the threatened category, while the Tricolored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus).
What is being done?
With wildlife, and other aspects of Mother Nature makin West Virginia the state it is, the WVDNR must take steps to maintain the safety and possible repopulation of these species. The WVDNR Rare, Threatened and Endangered (RTE) Species Program was created to do just that.
According to the WVDNR, the WVDNR RTE program has made major efforts to help in the federal delisting of the West Virginia northern flying squirrel, peregrine falcon, running buffalo clover, and the bald eagle.
In partnership with the WVDNR’s Wildlife Diversity Fish Program, the RTE Species Program has begun efforts to track, manage, and restore the populations of one of West Virginia’s most unique aquatic inhabitants, the Candy Darter!
While the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources will continue to do their part to help these endangered and threatened species, it is also up to the everyday person to help as well. Whether that is keeping their habitats clean with trash, or even volunteering time.
Anyone who wishes to find out more information on endangered and threatened species within West Virginia and the rest of the country, can visit the WVDNR Website and the US Fish and Wildlife Website.