Bog turtle

Pennsylvania is the home of 16 endangered and threatened species on the federal list, including the bog turtle.

This week, the Trump administration said it would change the way the Endangered Species Act is applied.

The rules would make it easier to take a species from the endangered list, lower protections for threatened species and consider economic assessments when deciding what deserves protection.

Currently, there are 1,663 species of animals and plants protected, including 1,275 on the endangered list and 388 on the threatened list, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Pennsylvania is the home of 16 endangered and threatened species on the federal list. (There are also species regulated by Pennsylvania.) If you spot these, it's against the law to kill, harm or harassment.

Bog turtle

Bog turtle

The bog turtle (threatened) is about four inches long, making it North America’s smallest turtle. It lives in spring-fed wetlands. It's found throughout Pennsylvania, including Lancaster County.


Clubshell

Clubshell

The clubshell (endangered) is a freshwater mussel that used to be found in half of the country. Pollution, impoundments and the spread of zebra mussel reduced its range to a dozen streams, including the Allegheny River. Other mass die-offs remain a mystery.


 
 
 
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Dwarf wedgemussel

The dwarf wedgemussel (endangered) is a freshwater mussel that spends most of their time buried in the bottom of streams and rivers. It’s threatened by habitat loss and has been spotted in the Upper Delaware River.


Eastern massasauga

Eastern massasauga

The Eastern massasauga (threatened) is a small venomous snake that lives in wetlands. “The massasauga is a secretive, docile snake that strikes humans only when it feels threatened or cornered,” according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


 
 
 
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Indiana bat

The Indiana bat (endangered) hibernates in caves in groups of about 300 bats per square foot. The bats are threatened by people disturbing their winter roosting caves as well as white-nose syndrome.


Northeastern bulrush

Northeastern bulrush

The Northeastern bulrush (endangered) is a tall sedge that grows on the edge of ponds and wetland. Only 33 populations exist through its range on the eastern coast, including central Pennsylvania.


northern riffleshell

Northern riffleshell

The Northern riffleshell (endangered) is a freshwater mussel that buries into the bottom of streams. It’s threatened by dams and reservoirs and in Pennsylvania has been found in the Allegheny River.


Pink mucket

Pink mucket

The pink mucket (endangered) is a freshwater mussel found buried in mud and sand in rivers. It’s threatened by poor water quality and pollutions and was spotted in western Pennsylvania a century ago.


 
 
 
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Piping plover

The piping plover (threatened) is found in open sandy beaches. Its decline comes from development and busier beaches. In 2017, two pairs of plovers nested in Pennsylvania for the first time since the 1950s in Presque Isle State Park.


Rabbitsfoot mussel

Rabbitsfoot mussel 

The rabbitsfoot mussel (threatened) grows to six inches long. In Pennsylvania, the rabbitsfoot in found the French Creek and tributaries (Muddy Creek, LeBoeuf Creek and Conneautee Creek) and in limited areas of the Allegheny and Shenango Rivers.


Rayed bean

Rayed bean

The rayed bean (endangered) is a small freshwater mussel that has been threatened by dams disrupting habitat. It’s found in northwestern Pennsylvania. The mussel, like many freshwater mussels, has a complex life cycle with fertilized eggs developing into larvae that become attached to host fish as they mature.


Sheepnose

Sheepnose

The sheepnose (endangered) is a mussel found in shallow areas of large streams, including the Allegheny River. Poor water quality and habitat have lead to its decline.


 
 
 
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Shortnose sturgeon

Shortnose sturgeon (endangered) can grow to more than 4.5 feet and are found in rivers and estuaries. Their rows of bony plates, called scutes, make this fish look like it’s wearing armor. Shortnose sturgeons are threatened by water pollution, dams and dredging.


Small-whorled pogonia

Small-whorled pogonia

The small-whorled pogonia (threatened) is a rare orchid that grows in hardwood forests. It’s main threats are development, deer, invasive species and plant collectors. Colonies have been found in western Pennsylvania.


 
 
 
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Snuffbox

Snuffbox (endangered) is a small freshwater mussel found in creeks and Lake Erie. These mussels need to live in flowing water so it is threatened by dams as well as pollution and too much sediment.


Virginia spiraea

Virginia spiraea

Virginia spiraea (threatened) is a shrub that can grow to ten feet tall with tiny white flowers. The shrub grows along rivers and streams and are threatened by pollution, habitat destruction and beaver damage.

Sources: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pennsylvania Game Commission, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, New York Department of Environmental Conservation