Marc Epstein and Boyd Blihovde
US Fish and Wildlife Service
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
Updated : October 23, 2002
Listed species are plants or animals that have been "listed" by a State and/or Federal agency with special protection or conservation designations. Included on this list are species designated by non-governmental agencies that do not provide regulatory protection (see below). Those species with regulatory protection are protected by law, such as State and Federal Endangered and Threatened species. State Species of Special Concern (SSC) and Commercially Exploited are afforded special protection, recognition, or consideration (Florida Administrative Code 39-1.004 and Chapter HYPERLINK "http://www.doacs.state.fl.us/pi/rules.html" 5B-40 ). Birds of Conservation Concern are those migratory and non-migratory bird species (not already listed as Federally Threatened or Endangered) with the highest conservation priority (USFWS 2002). Brief explanations of species designations are listed below. Definitions of species designations and status are listed in Appendix 1.
Types of Designations Used in this List:
Agencies and Organizations Listing SpeciesFlorida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDA)
US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS)
Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI)
Florida Committee on Rare and Endangered Plants and Animals (FCREPA)
Listing DesignationSimilarity of Appearance T(S/A) means the species is similar in appearance to a threatened taxon. The American alligator in this case with the American crocodile, but the alligator is not a threatened species under the meaning or intent of the threatened designation.
Endangered (E) means "without special management efforts, these species are considered rare enough to become extinct." (Federal and State)
Threatened (T) means "without special management efforts, these species are likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future." (Federal and State)
Species of Special Concern (SSC) means that the species warrants special protection because of concern that it could become threatened. (State; see Sullivan 2004))
Birds of Conservation Concern (BCC) replaced the Nongame Birds of Management Concern (SMC). These birds have the highest conservation concern for the US Fish and Wildlife Service (other than the birds listed as Federally Threatened or Endangered) (Federal; see USFWS 2002).
Rare (R) means the species is considered rare by the Florida Committee on Rare and Endangered Plants and Animals (non-government).
Commercially Exploited (C) means plants that are protect due to Commercial Exploitation.
Rare (R) means the species is considered rare by the Florida Committee on Rare and Endangered Plants and Animals (non-government).
FNAI means that the species has been ranked by the Florida Natural Areas Inventory (non-government).
FCREPA means the species is listed by Florida Committee on Rare and Endangered Plants and Animals (non-government).
This list is based on species with a Federal, State, or non-government designation; it is not a comprehensive list of species for the refuge. There are 125 unique species included under this list: 1 fish, 1 amphibian, 10 reptiles, 69 birds, 6 mammals, and 38 plants. There may be species in Florida that are protected but not listed here because the species either has not been confirmed or has been extirpated from the refuge. This list includes species that are considered "rare" and do not occur on the refuge every year or there have been incidental reports (see Literature Cited section). The total number of "listed" species presently known to exist or regularly occur on the Merritt Island NWR are categorized (Tables 1 and 2).
Among the 125 species listed here, 50 are listed as State or Federal Threatened or Endangered plants and animals (22 animals and 28 plants) and 5 are plants that are listed by the State as "Commercially Exploited" (Table 3). There are no known Federally listed plants on the refuge and all listing for plant are State designations. Of the total listed animal species, 17 are Federally listed. However, 7 of these species (American alligator, Kemp's ridley sea turtle, Hawksbill sea turtle, Atlantic salt marsh snake, snail kite, Audubon's cara cara and roseate tern) either have a special listing (i.e., alligator) or have rarely been recorded on the refuge. This brings the actual number of State or Federally-listed species that presently occur on the refuge to 41; 10 Federal and 31 State species (excludes alligator; includes 28 plant species) (Table 2). There are 10 Federally and 3 State listed animal species (13 total State or Federal) that presently occur on the refuge. A total of 94 species that presently occur on the refuge have a Federal or State designation (i.e., T, E, BCC, SSC, or C). Annotated species records of rare sightings (16 species) are included on this list, however, these rare species may not actually be a functional component of the wildlife community on the refuge and may only be the results of incidental sightings. Additionally, rare non-federally listed species, such as the Florida black bear, Limpkin, Roseate tern, and others are also listed but may have limited distribution or activity on the refuge. Species that are rare or have only had incidental sightings are footnoted to this effect. They are removed from the final calculation.
There are 56 animal species designated as species of "Special Concern" by State or Federal agencies (designated BCC or SSC). There are 33 plant species listed by the State as Threatened, Endangered, or Commercially Exploited. Included in the list are 22 additional plant species that have special designations (e.g., UR, FNAI, CITES, or FCREPA). Some plant species may have both a State and special designation.
Table 1. State or Federally designated plants and animals that have been recorded on Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.
Species Federal State Commercially
E T BCC E T SSC C Fishes 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 Amphibians 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 Reptiles 4 4 0 5 2 3 0 Birds 2 5 42 3 8 12 0 Mammals 1 1 0 1 2 1 0 Plants 0 0 0 17 11 0 5 Total Recorded 7 10 42 26 23 18 5
Table 2. Number State and Federally Threatened and Endangered species that presently occur on the Refuge.
T & E Species Presently Occurring Fish Amphibians Reptiles Birds Mammals Plants TOTALİ Number of Federal 0 0 4 4 2 0 10 Number of State and Federal 0 0 4 7 2 28 41
Table 3. Listed Species of the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.
Agency Status Scientific Names Common Names FWC FWS FCREPA FNAI 9 Fish (1) Centropomus undecimalis Common snook SSC * * * Amphibians (1) Rana capito Gopher frog SSC * T G3G4S3 Reptiles (10) Alligator Mississippiensis American alligator 1 SSC T(S/A) * G5S4 Caretta caretta Loggerhead E T T S3 Chelonia mydas Green turtle E E E S2 Dermochelys coriacea Leatherback E E R S2 Lepidochelys kempi Kemp's ridley 3, 5 E E E S1 Eretmochelys imbricata Hawksbill 3, 5 E E E S1 Gopherus polyphemus Gopher tortoise SSC * T S3 Pituophis melanoleucus mugitus Florida pine snake 4 SSC * SSC G5T3S3 Nerodia clarkii taeniata Atlantic saltmarsh snake 2, 5 T T E G4T1S1 Drymarchon couperi Eastern indigo snake T T SSC G4T3S3 Agency Status Scientific Names Common Names FWC FWS FCREPA FNAI Birds 6, 7 (69) Spizella pusilla Field sparrow * BCC * * Ammodramus henslowii Henslow's sparrow 5 * BCC * * Aimophila aestivalis Bachman's sparrow * BCC * G3S3 Passerina ciris Painted bunting * BCC * G5S3 Sturnella magna Eastern meadowlark * BCC * * Dolichonyx oryzivorous Bobolink * BCC * * Dendroica discolor Prairie warbler * BCC * G5T3S3 Dendroica pensylvanica Chestnut-sided warbler * BCC * * Lymnothylpis swainsonii Swainson's warbler 5 * BCC * * Vireo altiloguus Black-whiskered vireo * BCC R G5S3 Lanius ludovicianus Loggerhead shrike * BCC * * Cistothorus platenis Sedge wren * BCC * * Hylocichla mustelina Wood thrush * BCC * * Catharus fuscescens Veery * BCC * * Colaptes auratus Northern flicker * BCC * * Aphelocoma coerulescens Florida scrub-jay T T T G2S2 Aramus guarauna Limpkin 5 SSC BCC SSC G5S3 Charadrius melodus Piping plover T T E G3S2 Botaurus lentiginosus American bittern * BCC * * Ixobrychus exilis Least bittern * BCC SSC G5S4 Egretta caerulea Little blue heron SSC * SSC G5S4 Egretta rufescens Reddish egret SSC BCC R G4S2 Egretta thula Snowy egret SSC * SSC G5S3 Egretta tricolor Tricolored heron SSC * SSC G5S4 Eudocimus albus White ibis SSC * SSC G5S4 Polyborus plancus audubonii Audubon's crested caracara 5, 7 T T T G5S2LTLT Falco peregrinus Peregrine falcon E * E G4S2 Rosthrhramus sociabilis Snail kite 5, 7 E E E G4G5T2S2 Elanoides forficatus Swallow-tailed kite * BCC T G5S2 Circus cyaneus Northern harrier * BCC * * Grus canadensis pratensis Florida sandhill crane T * T G5T2T3S2S3 Haematopus palliatus American oystercatcher SSC * T G5S2 Mycteria americana Wood stork E E E G4S2 Gavia immer Common loon * BCC * * Pelecanus occidentalis Brown pelican SSC BCC T G4S3 Laterallus jamaicensis Black rail * BCC R G4S2 Rynchops niger Black skimmer SSC * SSC G5S3 Sterna antillarum Least tern T BCC T G4S3 Sterna dougallii Roseate tern 5 T T T G4S1 Chilidonias niger Black tern * BCC * * Tyto alba Barn owl * BCC * * Asio flammeus Short-eared owl * BCC * * Haliaeetus leucocephalus Bald eagle T T T G4S3 Caprimulgus carolinensis Chuck-will's-widow * BCC * * Puffinus Iherminieri Audubon's shearwater 5 * BCC * * Fregata magnificens Magnificent frigatebird 5 * BCC T G5S1 Melanerpes erythrocephalus Red-headed woodpecker * BCC * * Falco sparverius paulus Southeastern American kestrel 5 T BCC T G5T4S3 Dendroica petechia (only gundlachi sub spp.) Yellow warbler * BCC R G5T4S3 Dendroica dominica Yellow-throated warbler * BCC * * Numenius phaeopus Whimbrel * BCC * * Ammodramus maritimus Seaside sparrow SSC BCC SSC G4TS Calidris canutus Red knot * BCC * * Calidris pusilla Semipalmated sandpiper * BCC * * Limnodromus griseus Short-billed dowitcher * BCC * * Sterna nilotica Gull-billed tern * BCC * G5S2 Sterna hirundo Common tern * BCC * * Casmerodius albus Great egret * * SSC * Nycticorax nycticorax Black-crowned night- heron * * SSC * Nycticorax violacea Yellow-crowned night- heron * * SSC * Plegadis falcinellus Glossy ibis SSC * SSC * Accipiter cooperii Cooper's hawk * * SSC * Recurvirostra americana American avocet * * SSC * Sterna fuscata Sooty tern 5 * * SSC * Sterna maxima Royal tern * * SSC * Sterna sandvicensis Sandwich tern * * SSC * Sterna caspia Caspian tern * * SSC * Picoides villosus Hairy woodpecker 5 * * SSC * Cictothorus palustris Marsh wren SSC * SSC * Agency Status Scientific Names Common Names FWC FWS FCREPA FNAI 9 Mammals (6) Peromyscus polionotus niveiventris Southeastern beach mouse T T T G5T1S1 Podomys floridanus Florida mouse SSC * T G3S3 Trichechus manatus West Indian manatee E E E G2S2 Ursus americanus floridanus Florida black bear 5 T * T G5T2S2 Neofiber alleni Round-tailed muskrat * * SSC * Mustela frenata peninsulae Florida weasel 5 * * R * Agency Status Scientific Names Common Names FWC FWS FCREPA FNAI 9 Plants 8 (38) Asclepias curtissii Curtiss milkweed * E * G3, S3 Avicennia germinans Black mangrove * * SSC * Calamovilfa curtissii Curtiss reedgrass * T * G1G2,S1S2 Calopogon multiflorus Many-flowered grass pink * E * * Chamaesyce cumulicola Sand dune spurge * E * G2,S2 Chrysophyllum oliviforme Satinleaf * T * * Encyclia tampensis Butterfly orchid * C * * Epidendrum canopseum Greenfly orchid * C * * Harrisella filiformis Threadroot orchid * T * * Hexalectris spicata Crested coralroot * E * * Lantana depressa var. floridana East coast lantana * E * G2T2, S2 Lechea cernua Nodding pinweed * T * G3, S3 Lechea divaricata Pine pinweed * E * G2, S2 Lilium catesbaei Catesby lily * T * G4, S3 Myrcianthes fragrans Nakedwood * T * G4T3, S3 Nemastylis floridana Celestial lily * E * G2, S2 Ophioglossum palmatum
(= Cheiroglossa palmata)
Hand fern * E E G5, S2 Opuntia stricta Shell mound prickly-pear * T * * Osmunda cinnamomea Cinnamon fern * C * * Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis Royal fern * C * * Pavonia spinifex Yellow hibiscus * İ* * G4G5, S2S3 Peclumula plumula (=Polypodium plumula) Plume polypody * E * * Peperomia humilis Peperomia * E * G5, S2 Peperomia obtusifolia Florida peperomia * E * G5, S2 Persea borbonia var. humilis Scrub bay * İ* * G3, S3 Pogonia ophioglossoides Rose pogonia * T * * Pteroglossaspis ecristata (= Eulophia ecristata) False coco * T * G2G3, S2 Remirea maritima (= Cyperus pedunculatus) Beach-star * E * * Rhizophora mangle Red mangrove * İ* SSC * Scaevola plumieri Scaevola * T * * Sophora tomentosa Necklace pod * İ * G4, S3 Spiranthes laciniata Lace-lip ladies'-tresses * T * İ* Tephrosia angustissima var. curtissii Narrow-leaved hoary pea; coastal hoary pea * E * G1T1, S1 Tillandsia fasciculata Common pine * E * * Tillandsia utriculata Giant wild pine; giant air plant * E * * Verbena maritima (= Glandularia maritima) Coastal vervain * E * G2, S2 Verbena tampensis (= Glandularia tampensis) Tampa vervain * E * G1, S1 Zamia umbrosa (= Zamia pumila) East coast coontie * C T *
- (S/A) means species was listed due to "similarity of appearance" with the American crocodile. The species is not listed in regards to regulatory actions of Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act and is not in danger of becoming extinct (D. Palmer, FWS, personal communication)
- Within species home range area, not officially recorded on the Refuge (Moler 1992, Blihovde 1996, Seigel and Seigel 2000).
- see Ehrhart (1983)
- R. Seigel (personal communication)
- Species which have been recorded on the Refuge but are rarely seen. These species may not be a functional component of the vertebrate wildlife on the refuge
- US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2002
- Merritt Island NWR, unpublished data
- Plants list after Schmalzer et al. 2002
- Florida Natural Area Inventory. 2002
Appendix 1: FNAI - Florida Natural Areas Inventory Ranking and Status DefinitionsUPDATED OCTOBER 2002
Florida Resources and Environmental Analysis Center
1018 Thomasville Road, Suite 200-C
Tallahassee, Florida 32303
Phone: (850) 224-8207
FNAI GLOBAL RANK DEFINITIONS
- G1 = Critically imperiled globally because of extreme rarity (5 or fewer occurrences or less than 1000 individuals) or because of extreme vulnerability to extinction due to some natural or man-made factor.
- G2 = Imperiled globally because of rarity (6 to 20 occurrences or less than 3000 individuals) or because of vulnerability to extinction due to some natural or man-made factor.
- G3 = Either very rare and local throughout its range (21-100 occurrences or less than 10,000 individuals) or found locally in a restricted range or vulnerable to extinction from other factors.
- G4 = Apparently secure globally (may be rare in parts of range)
- G5 = Demonstrably secure globally
- GH = Of historical occurrence throughout its range, may be rediscovered (e.g., ivory-billed woodpecker)
- GX = Believed to be extinct throughout range
- GXC = Extirpated from the wild but still known from captivity or cultivation
- G#? = Tentative rank (e.g., G2?)
- G#G# = Range of rank; insufficient data to assign specific global rank (e.g., G2G3)
- G#T# = Rank of a taxonomic subgroup such as a subspecies or variety; the G portion of the rank refers to the entire species and the T portion refers to the specific subgroup; numbers have same definition as above (e.g., G3T1)
- G#Q = Rank of questionable species - ranked as species but questionable whether it is species or subspecies; numbers have same definition as above (e.g., G2Q)
- G#T#Q = Same as above, but validity as subspecies or variety is questioned.
- GU = Due to lack of information, no rank or range can be assigned (e.g., GUT2).
- G? = Not yet ranked (temporary)
FNAI STATE RANK DEFINITIONS
- S1 = Critically imperiled in Florida because of extreme rarity (5 or fewer occurrences or less than 1000 individuals) or because of extreme vulnerability to extinction due to some natural or man-made factor.
- S2 = Imperiled in Florida because of rarity (6 to 20 occurrences or less than 3000 individuals) or because of vulnerability to extinction due to some natural or man-made factor.
- S3 = Either very rare and local throughout its range (21-100 occurrences or less than 10,000 individuals) or found locally in a restricted range or vulnerable to extinction from other factors.
- S4 = Apparently secure in Florida (may be rare in parts of range)
- S5 = Demonstrably secure in Florida
- SH = Of historical occurrence throughout its range, may be rediscovered (e.g., ivory-billed woodpecker)
- SX = Believed to be extinct throughout range
- SA = Accidental in Florida, i.e., not part of the established biota
- SE = An exotic species established in Florida may be native elsewhere in North America
- SN = Regularly occurring, but widely and unreliably distributed; sites for conservation hard to determine
FEDERAL LEGAL STATUSProvided by FNAI for information only.
For official definitions and lists of protected species, consult the relevant federal agency. Definitions derived from U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973, Sec. 3. Note that the federal status given by FNAI refers only to Florida populations and that federal status may differ elsewhere.
- LEİİİİİİİİİİ Endangered: species in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
- LTİİİİİİİİİİ Threatened: species likely to become Endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
- E(S/A)İİİİ Endangered due to similarity of appearance to a species which is federally listed such that enforcement personnel have difficulty in attempting to differentiate between the listed and unlisted species.
- T(S/A)İİİİ Threatened due to similarity of appearance (see above).
- PEİİİİİİİİİİ Proposed for listing as Endangered species.
- PTİİİİİİİİİİ Proposed for listing as Threatened species.
- Cİİİİİİİİİİİİ Candidate species for which federal listing agencies have sufficient information on biological vulnerability and threats to support proposing to list the species as Endangered or Threatened.
- XNİİİİİİİİİ Non-essential experimental population.
- MCİİİİİİİİ Not currently listed, but of management concern to USFWS.
- Nİİİİİİİİİİİİ Not currently listed, nor currently being considered for listing as Endangered or Threatened.
STATE LEGAL STATUSProvided by FNAI for information only.
For official definitions and lists of protected species, consult the relevant agency. Animals:İ Definitions derived from "Florida's Endangered Species and Species of Special Concern, Official Lists" published by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 1 August 1997, and subsequent updates.
İ Plants:İ Definitions derived from Sections 581.011 and 581.185(2), Florida Statutes, and the Preservation of Native Flora of Florida Act, 5B-40.001. FNAI does not track all state-regulated plant species; for a complete list of state-regulated plant species, call Florida Division of Plant Industry, 352-372-3505 or see: http://www.doacs.state.fl.us.
- LEİİİİİİİ Endangered: species, subspecies, or isolated population so few or depleted in number or so restricted in range that it is in imminent danger of extinction.
- LTİİİİİİİ Threatened: species, subspecies, or isolated population facing a very high risk of extinction in the future.
- LSİİİİİİİİ Species of Special Concern is a species, subspecies, or isolated population which is facing a moderate risk of extinction in the future.
- PEİİİİİİİ Proposed for listing as Endangered.
- PTİİİİİİİ Proposed for listing as Threatened.
- PSİİİİİİİİProposed for listing as Species of Special Concern.
- Nİİİİİİİİİ Not currently listed, nor currently being considered for listing.
- LEİİİİİİİİ Endangered: species of plants native to Florida that are in imminent danger of extinction within the state, the survival of which is unlikely if the causes of a decline in the number of plants continue; includes all species determined to be endangered or threatened pursuant to the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
- LTİİİİİİİİ Threatened: species native to the state that are in rapid decline in the number of plants within the state, but which have not so decreased in number as to cause them to be Endangered.
- PEİİİİİİİİ Proposed for listing as Endangered.
- PTİİİİİİİİ Proposed for listing as Threatened.
- C Commercially Exploited
- Nİİİİİİİİİİ Not currently listed, nor currently being considered for listing.
9 Explanations and definitions to the ranking system were copied from the Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI) website. For additional information on FNAI species status and ranking, please contact FNAI or see http://www.fnai.org/data.cfm.
- Anonymous. Birds: Merritt Island NWR. National Wildlife Refuge Brochure. Unknown date.
- Blihovde, William Boyd. 1996. Distribution of the Nerodia clarkii Complex in Volusia, Brevard, and Indian River Counties, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex and Canaveral National Seashore. UnPubl. Report to Merritt Island NWR.
- Ehrhart, Llewellyn M. 1983. Marine Turtles of the Indian River Lagoon System. Florida Scientist, Vol 46.
- Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. 1997. Florida's endangered species, threatened species and species of special concern: official list. Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission.
- Florida Natural Areas Inventory. 2002. List of vertebrates. Unpublished data.
- Humphrey, S. R. (Editor). 1992. Rare and endangered biota of Florida: Vol. I. Mammals. Univ. Press Fl., Gainesville, 392pp.
- Moler, P. E. (Editor). 1992. Rare and endangered biota of Florida: Vol. III. Amphibians and reptiles. Univ. Press Fl., Gainesville, 291pp.
- Office of Migratory Bird Management. 1995. Migratory nongame birds of management concern in the United States: the 1995 list. USFWS, Washington, DC. 22pp.
- Schmalzer, P.A., T.E. Foster, and B.W. Duncan. 2002. Revised flora and list of threatened and endangered plants for the John F. Kennedy Space Center Area, Florida. NASA Technical Memorandum NASA/TM-2002-211175. Kennedy Space Center, Florida. 75 p.
- Seigel, Richard A., and Nadia A. Seigel. 2000. Inventory and Monitoring of Herpetological Communities on the Kennedy Space Center/Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge/Canaveral National Seashore: Annual Report. Southeastern Louisiana University. UnPubl. Report to Merritt Island NWR.
- Sullivan, D. J. 2004. Florida's endangered species, threatened species, and species of special concern. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. 6p.
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.2002. Birds of conservation concern 2002. Division of Migratory Bird Management, Arlington, Virginia. 99pp. [Online version available at HYPERLINK "http://migratorybirds.fws.gov/reports/bcc2002.pdf" http://migratorybirds.fws.gov/reports/bcc2002.pdf]
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:We thank Jim Lyons (FWS), Becky Smith (Dynamac Corp.), Paul Schmalzer (Dynamac Corp.) and Cheri Ehrhardt (FWS) for making helpful comments to the draft document.