List Of Endangered Species In Michigan

List Of Endangered Species In Michigan

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a list of “Federally-listed Threatened, Endangered, Proposed, and Candidate Species” in their article, which you can read by clicking here. They have some good details about each one, so be sure to check it out. I don’t know if their article consists of every single species that is considered threatened to endangered in Michigan, but they’re a credible source. Here, I’ll just do a simpler, numbered list with pictures and a small, quoted descriptions from my research on each one.


1. Canada Lynx

Picture found from here.

“The Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) is a medium-sized cat characterized by its long ear tufts, flared facial ruff, and short, bobbed tail with a completely black tip. It has unusually large paws that act like snowshoes in very deep snow, thick fur and long legs, and its hind legs are longer than its front legs, giving lynx a stooped appearance” (Defenders of Wildlife).

2. Gray Wolf

Picture found from here.

“Gray wolves are canines with long bushy tails that are often black-tipped. Coat color is typically a mix of gray and brown with buffy facial markings and undersides, but the color can vary from solid white to brown or black. Gray wolves look somewhat like a large German Shepherd” (National Wildlife Federation).

3. Indiana Bat

Picture found from here.

This is what the DNR says about Indiana Bats for their “general characteristics”:

  • “A medium-sized, dull gray bat.”
  • “The length of its head and body ranges from 1.5 to 2 inches.”
  • “Weighs about 1/4 of an ounce.”
  • “Most bats are difficult to distinguish from their cousins unless examined closely. The size of the feet and the length of the toe hairs are characteristics used to differentiate the Indiana bat from other bats.”
  • “Indiana bats live an average of 5 to 10 years, but some have reached 14 years of age.”

4. Northern Long-Eared Bat

Northern long-eared bat
Image found from here.

“The northern long-eared bat — distinguishable from its close relatives, as one might presume, by its long ears — is a small bat associated with mature, interior forest environments. Unlike most other bats, the northern long-eared forages along wooded hillsides and ridgelines — not above valley-bottom streams and along the edges of riparian forests” (Center for Biological Diversity).


1. Kirtland’s Warbler

Image found from here.

“A rare bird of the Michigan jack pine forests, the Kirtland’s Warbler is dependant upon fire to provide the small trees and open areas that meet its rigid habitat requirements for nesting” (All About Birds).

2. Pipling Plover

Picture found from here.

“A small pale shorebird of open sandy beaches and alkali flats, the Piping Plover is found along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, as well as inland in the northern Great Plains. Because of disturbance by people, all populations are considered endangered or threatened” (All About Birds).

3. Rufa Red Knot

Image found from here.

“The Red Knot is the largest of the ‘peeps’ in North America, and one of the most colorful. It makes one of the longest yearly migrations of any bird, traveling 15,000 km (9,300 mi) from its Arctic breeding grounds to Tierra del Fuego in southern South America” (All About Birds).


1. Copperbelly Water Snake

Picture found from here.

“This large water snake is typically a uniform black, gray, or dark brown when mature, though some individuals may retain a hint of the blotched juvenile pattern. The labial scales are orangish or reddish with dark edges, and the throat and chin may be whitish to orange. The plain, unmarked belly ranges in color from pale orange to red or coppery red, though the ventral scales are often tinged by the dark dorsal color along the edges; this effect tends to be more pronounced toward the rear of the snake” (Michigan Society of Herpetologists).

2. Eastern Massasauga

Picture found from here.

“The massasauga can be characterized as a shy, sluggish snake. Its thick body is colored with a pattern of dark brown slightly rectangular patches set against a light gray-to-brown background. Occasionally, this coloration can be so dark as to appear almost black. The belly is mostly black. It is the only Michigan snake with segmented rattles on the end of its tail and elliptical, (“cat like”) vertical pupils in the eyes. The neck is narrow, contrasting with the wide head and body and the head appears triangular in shape. Adult length is 2 to 3 feet” (Michigan Department of Natural Resources).


1. Hine’s Emerald Butterfly

Picture found from here.

“As its name implies, Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly has distinctive emerald eyes and a metallic green body with yellow stripes along the sides. Relatively large, its wings span about 3.3 inches. Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly spends the majority of its life in the larval stage. Nymphs hatch and live in marshes high in calcium carbonate or sedge meadows over dolomite bedrock, where they prey mostly on other aquatic insects. Molting many times, the dragonfly eventually crawls onto land after 2-4 years, sheds its skin a final time and emerges a flying adult” (The Nature Conservancy).

2. Hungerford’s Crawling Water Beetle

Picture found from here.

“From a size standpoint, the Hungerford’s crawling water beetle would be a contender for the smallest of Michigan endangered or threatened animals. At a mere 1/4 inch in size, it is difficult to notice even when you are searching for them. Known from only two sites in northern Michigan, and one in Ontario, this tiny aquatic beetle is one of Michigan’s rarest species. The species is a post-glacial relict requiring cold, clear streams for its existence” (Michigan Department of Natural Resources).

3. Karner Blue Butterfly

Picture found from here.

“Karner Blues are small butterflies about the size of a nickel. Males have a vibrant, silvery blue color on the upper surface of their wings. The upper surfaces of the females’ wings are blue close to the body, fading to grayish-brown towards the edges. The wing undersides of both sexes is light gray to grayish-brown with rows of small black spots. A single row of metallic blue-green, orange, and black spots rims the outer edges of the underside of each wing, but is most distinct on the hind wings” (Michigan Department of Natural Resources).

4. Mitchell’s Satyr

Picture found from here.

“Small and fragile with translucent wings. Underside of both wings with yellow-rimmed black submarginal eyespots. Adults fly in sunlight with a slow, bobbing flight about a foot above the grasses. Males patrol for females. Females may lay single eggs on grasses, or multiple eggs on the undersurface of small forb seeedlings (2-5″), or on narrow-leaved sedges. Caterpillars eat leaves and the fourth stage hibernates” (Butterflies and Moths of North America).

5. Poweshiek Skipperling

Picture found from here.

“This is a small skipper, dark brown above with some light orange along the wing margins and a lighter orange head. Below, this species is orange with very prominent whitened veins as its most distinguishing characteristic” (Wisconsin Butterflies).


1. Clubshell

Picture found from here.

“The northern clubshell is up to 7.6 cm (3 inches) long , and is triangular and elongate in shape. The shell is usually fairly thick, and compressed to moderately inflated. The anterior end is rounded, the posterior end bluntly pointed. The dorsal margin is curved and slanted to the posterior end and the ventral margin is straight to slightly curved” (Animal Diversity Web).

2. Northern Riffleshell

Picture found from here.

“The ovate shape of an adult riffleshell will reach 2 inches in diameter. They are light green-yellow to olive green and have dark, narrowly spaced rays. Their habitat is swiftly flowing, well-oxygenated water. Coarse gravel runs provide the best bottom in these rivers” (Michigan Department of Natural Resources).

3. Rayed Bean

Picture found from here.

“The rayed bean is a freshwater mussel that has been extirpated from Illinois, Kentucky, and Virginia but is still found in Indiana, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia and Ontario, Canada. It is a small mussel, usually less than 1.5 inches long. Generally, it lives in smaller, headwater creeks, but is sometimes found in large rivers and wave-washed areas of glacial lakes. The rayed bean prefers gravel or sand substrates, and is often found in and around roots of aquatic vegetation” (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).

4. Snuffbox

Picture found from here.

“The snuffbox is a small- to medium -sized freshwater mussel with a yellow, green or brown shell interrupted with green rays, blotches or chevron-shaped lines. The shell becomes darker and the interruptions less clear with age” (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).


1. American Hart’s Tongue Fern

Image found from here.

“Hart’s Tongue Fern is a rare treat for the eyes; it is so green, glossy, and large that it defies reality. The elegant, smooth, unserrated fronds are 20 to 40 cm in length and look decidedly tropical and incongruous in the northern forest they inhabit. These huge fronds are hopefully tucked safely beneath the snow during the winter as the species is evergreen and perennial” (United States Department of Agriculture).

2. Dwarf Lake Iris

Picture found from here.

“Dwarf Lake Iris can be distinguished from other native iris species in Michigan by its very small size, and its thin, shallow, yellow rhizomes or underground stems. The slender rhizomes produce fans of flattened leaves that reach a height of about 6 inches. The leaves are light green and usually not more than 1/2 inch wide. Showy, deep blue flowers are produced singly on short stems, below the height of the leaves. It can grow in very large, dense, patches, forming a carpet of blue flowers from mid May to early June” (Michigan Department of Natural Resources).

3. Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid

Photo by Mike Redmer (CIFO)
Picture found from here.

“This plant is 8 to 40 inches tall and has an upright leafy stem with a flower cluster called an inflorescence. The 3 to 8 inch lance-shaped leaves sheath the stem. Each plant has one single flower spike composed of 5 to 40 creamy white flowers. Each flower has a three-part fringed lip less than 1 inch long and a nectar spur (tube-like structure) which is about 1 to 2 inches long” (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).

4. Houghton’s Goldenrod

Picture found from here.

“Like other goldenrods, Houghton’s goldenrod is a perennial having an upright stem bearing many small, bright yellow flower heads that resemble tiny daisies, but are completely yellow. Unlike many other goldenrods, Houghton’s goldenrod flowers are arranged in a more or less flat-topped branched cluster. The narrow leaves are up to 4.5 inches long, relatively few, and crowded toward the base” (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).

5. Lakeside Daisy

Picture found from here.

“This long-lived perennial grows where few others can, on nearly barren limestone bedrock in full sunlight. In early to mid-May, the bright yellow flowers of the Lakeside Daisy adorn the otherwise bleak, sun-baked landscape of the Marblehead Quarry. Each basal rosette of leaves usually produces a single 6-11″ tall, leafless, erect stalk topped with a solitary flower” (ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Reserves).

6. Michigan Monkey-Flower

Picture found from here.

“This plant is found in mucky soil and sand that is saturated or covered by cold, flowing spring water. Nearly all known populations of the monkey-flower occur near present or past shorelines of the Great Lakes” (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).

7. Pitcher’s Thistle

Image found from here.

“Pitcher’s Thistle is a handsome, white flowered thistle. The plant’s silvery appearance is due to dense, white, woolly hairs covering the bluish-green leaves and stems. It may reach a flowering height of 3.5 feet, although flowering plants as small as 5 inches have been seen. The leaves are up to I foot long and deeply divided into narrow, often spine tipped segments. The prickly flower heads bloom from June to September and are cream-colored or slightly pinkish, with a faint pleasant smell” (Michigan Department of Natural Resources).

8. Small Whorled Pogonia

Picture found from here.

“The small whorled pogonia is a member of the orchid family. It usually has a single grayish-green stem that grows about 10 inches tall when in flower and about 14 inches when bearing fruit. The plant is named for the whorl of five or six leaves near the top of the stem and beneath the flower” (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).

That is the end of the list! Be sure to check out the links to learn more about each species and to read up on ways you can help keep them around. There are a lot of things you can do to aid all these animals and plants out – the only limit is your imagination! I enjoyed doing this blog post and I hope you liked it too. This is it for now, but I’ll come back again soon! 🙂


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