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The COSEWIC Summaries of Terrestrial Species Eligible for Addition or Reclassification on Schedule 1 - January 2017

The following section presents a brief summary of the reasons for the COSEWIC status designation of individual species, and their biology, threats, distribution and other information. For a more comprehensive explanation of the conservation status of an individual species, please refer to the COSEWIC status report for that species, also available on the Species at Risk Public Registry.

or contact:
COSEWIC Secretariat
c/o Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Ottawa ON  K1A 0H3

Table of contents

  1. Baikal Sedge [HTML]
  2. Bear's-foot Sanicle [HTML]
  3. Blue-grey Taildropper [HTML]
  4. Colicroot [HTML]
  5. Common Hoptree [HTML]
  6. Flooded Jellyskin [HTML]
  7. Hoptree Borer [HTML]
  8. Lake Erie Watersnake [HTML]
  9. Lake Huron Grasshopper [HTML]
  10. Louisiana Waterthrush [HTML]
  11. McCown's Longspur [HTML]
  12. Mountain Crab-eye [HTML]
  13. Nine-spotted Lady Beetle [HTML]
  14. Nuttall's Sheep Moth [HTML]
  15. Peary Caribou [HTML]
  16. Pygmy Pocket Moss [HTML]
  17. Pygmy Slug [HTML]
  18. Red Crossbill percnasubspecies [HTML]
  19. Sheathed Slug [HTML]
  20. Spiny Softshell [HTML]
  21. Unisexual Ambystoma (Jefferson Salamander dependant population) [HTML]
  22. Unisexual Ambystoma (Small-mouthed Salamander dependant population) [HTML]
  23. Western Yellow-bellied Racer [HTML]
  24. Wrinkled Shingle Lichen [HTML]

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Part 1: Bailkal Sedge to Mountain Crab-eye

1. Baikal Sedge

Photo of Baikal Sedge (see long description below)
Photo: © Ryan Batten
Scientific name
Carex sabulosa
Taxon
Vascular Plants
COSEWIC Status
Special Concern
Canadian range
Yukon

Reason for designation

In Canada, this species is restricted to 16 sites in 10 dune fields in the southwest Yukon. Since the last assessment, 11 new subpopulations have been found and two serious threats have been negated, which reduces the known risk to the Canadian population. However, natural succession is leading to habitat loss; this is exacerbated by fire suppression. Other threats driving recent declines include off-road recreational vehicle use and habitat loss through housing development. Exotic, invasive plants are a serious potential threat resulting in dune stabilization and competitive exclusion.

Wildlife Species Description and Significance

The Baikal Sedge, Carex sabulosa, is a tufted perennial plant with long rhizomes. As the flowers mature, the slim stems arch and droop, and the heavy fruiting heads sometimes touch the ground.

Baikal Sedge occurs in a dune ecosystem that was once widespread but is no longer common in Canada; the potential sites for the plant are restricted. In addition, the subpopulations are of probable genetic interest because they are disjunct from, and at the eastern periphery of, a fragmented range that extends from central Asia to southwestern Yukon. Baikal Sedge is an important species in the stabilization of dunes.

Distribution

Baikal Sedge is found in the sands of central Asia, from Kazakhstan through southern Siberia and western China to Mongolia. Over 3000 km away in North America, it occurs in one dune field in west-central Alaska and in 10 dune fields (16 subpopulations) in a small region of the southwestern Yukon. Two additional occurrences have not been relocated, despite searches, and are considered extirpated.

Distribution map for Baikal Sedge (Carex sabulosa) showing known and historical occurrences in southwestern Yukon, Canada. Historical occurrences, orange dots, are presumed extirpated. Grey dots indicate sites that were searched, but no Baikal Sedge was found.
Map of Baikal Sedge distribution (see long description below)
Source: COSEWIC 2016. COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Baikal Sedge Carex sabulosa in Canada.
Long description for map showing the distribution of Baikal Sedge

Map showing the distribution of Baikal Sedge (Carex sabulosa) in southwestern Yukon, Canada. Known locations are indicated with red dots, historical occurrences are presumed extirpated and indicated with orange dots and sites that were searched in 2009 but presence was not detected are indicated with grey dots. In Canada, the Baikal Sedge is restricted to sixteen sites in ten active dune fields in the southwestern Yukon, from Kluane National Park Reserve west to Whitehorse, and south to Dezadeash Lake and Carcross.

Habitat

Baikal Sedge occurs on the accumulating surfaces of active and semi-stabilized dunes, where it is often the only prominent vascular plant species. In the Yukon, these dunes are remnants of much larger dune fields that were present at the end of the Pleistocene. Most of the ancient dunes are now stabilized and covered in forest or grassland. Many of the extant Baikal Sedge sites are limited to small blowouts in dunes without large supplies of open sand.

Biology

The biology of Baikal Sedge has not been studied. It is evident, however, that this species can withstand cold, desiccating winds and accumulating sand. Reproduction is primarily vegetative through rhizomes; seed production is often limited. In the Yukon, a smut fungus, Planetella lironis, attacks developing fruits (seed-like achenes); the smut's effect on reproductive success remains unknown.

Close up photo of Baikal Sedge (see long description below)
Baikal Sedge fruiting head Photo: © Ryan Batten

Population Sizes and Trends

The largest subpopulation is found near the confluence of the Kaskawulsh and Dezadeash rivers in Kluane National Park and Reserve. There are an estimated 2.5 to 3 million ramets (tufts) at this site. The remaining 15 subpopulations have an estimated total of 1,053,000 ramets, giving an estimated Canadian population of roughly 3.5 to 4 million ramets.

Population trends at all but the Carcross dune systems have probably remained roughly stable in recent years, although there has probably been a small decline because of natural succession and dune stabilization. Baikal Sedge has probably declined more substantially at the Carcross dunes; a decline based both on an apparent reduction in active dunes and on an apparent decrease in sedge extent on active dunes.

Threats and Limiting Factors

Natural vegetation succession is a limiting factor to Baikal Sedge persistence, through dune stabilization. This process is of concern at the largest (Alsek) subpopulation at the confluence of the Kaskawulsh and Dezadeash rivers. Fire suppression allows for more rapid vegetation succession and this threatens several of the subpopulations. There is an apparent loss of dune habitat as a result of stabilization at Carcross as well. Invasive plants that accelerate dune stabilization pose a significant future threat.

The threat of disturbance from off-road recreational vehicles is of most concern at the Carcross dunes, but also to a lesser extent at the Takhini River (south) dune system. Excessive off-road vehicle use not only damages the plants at the surface, but also compacts the sand and eliminates the clones.

Development of dunes for residential lots or tourism operations is of concern behind the Bennett Lake beach at Carcross.

Protection, Status and Ranks

Baikal Sedge is listed as Threatened under the federal Species at Risk Act in Canada. Critical Habitat has only been identified within Kluane National Park and Reserve, where it also receives some measure of protection under the Canada National Parks Act. The Takhini River dune system is protected from development in the as-yet-undesignated Kusawa Territorial Park; a draft management plan has recently been developed for this park. The subpopulations northeast of the Klondike Highway at Carcross occur within a territorial park reserve; however, off-road vehicles use this site regularly, and this activity continues to reduce the area of occupancy of the sedge. Recovery at this site is not possible given the current level of use. Elsewhere, Baikal Sedge occurs on Crown (Commissioner's) land where only a special federal order can protect the species under the Species at Risk Act. In the NatureServe ranking system, it is ranked G5 (Secure) globally, N2 (Imperilled) nationally and S2 in Yukon.


2. Bear's-foot Sanicle

Photo of Bear’s-foot Sanicle (see long description below)
Photo: © Matthew Fairbarns
Scientific name
Sanicula arctopoides
Taxon
Vascular Plants
COSEWIC Status
Threatened
Canadian range
British Columbia

Reason for designation

This perennial wildflower occurs in Canada only along a 30 km stretch of coastline in extreme southeast Vancouver Island. While this wildflower can live more than 10 years, it flowers and fruits once and then dies. It occupies small areas of remaining meadow habitat, which is being modified by invasion of exotic plants. Several new sites, discovered since the species was last assessed, have reduced the risk to this plant. Most of the Canadian population occurs at one site, which is also threatened by grazing by an expanding non-migratory, newly resident Canada Goose population. Severe trampling by humans also affects a few sites. Many of the known subpopulations have relatively few individuals and may not persist.

Wildlife Species Description and Significance

Bear's-foot Sanicle is a tap-rooted, low-growing, herbaceous perennial wildflower. Its basal leaves, which are deeply lobed and sharply toothed, form a compact rosette. The inflorescences are compact with many bright yellow small flowers that produce fruit with hooked bristles. Bear's-foot Sanicle is one of over 50 nationally rare species that are restricted (in Canada) to Garry Oak and associated ecosystems in southern Vancouver Island and the adjacent Gulf Islands.

Distribution

In Canada, Bear's-foot Sanicle occurs only in a 30 km length of shoreline in the vicinity of Victoria, British Columbia. Bear's-foot Sanicle is known from nine extant subpopulations in Canada. In the United States it ranges from the San Juan Islands of Washington State, south along the coast of Washington and Oregon, to California. Subpopulations in Washington State are very small and are imperilled. The nearest US subpopulations (San Juan Islands) are approximately 25 km from the nearest Canadian subpopulation and separated by several kilometres of open ocean, making dispersal between these sites unlikely.

Distribution map of Bear’s-foot Sanicle (Sanicula arctopoides) in Canada, each circle represents one location, less than 1% of species global range lies within Canada. Map provided by: Jenny Wu, COSEWIC Secretariat.
Map showing the distribution of Bear’s-foot Sanicle (see long description below)
Source: COSEWIC 2015. COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Bear's-foot Sanicle Sanicula arctopoides in Canada.
Long description for map showing the distribution of Bear's-foot Sanicle

Map showing the distribution of Bear's-foot Sanicle (Sanicula arctopoides) in Canada, each circle represents one location. Less than 1% of the species range lies within Canada, the Canadian distribution is known from a 30 km long area along the shores of Vancouver Island, centered on Victoria.

Habitat

In Canada, Bear's-foot Sanicle is restricted to drought-prone maritime meadows at low elevations along shorelines. The plants experience wide seasonal fluctuations in water availability, with abundant rains typically beginning in mid-autumn, and continuing through autumn and winter, ceasing with the onset of the summer drought, when Bear's-foot Sanicle becomes dormant. The dry summer conditions discourage the growth of native trees and shrubs although the exotic invasive Scotch Broom is often present. Bear's-foot Sanicle usually occurs in vegetation dominated by low (< 20 cm tall) forbs and grasses. A few native species may be relatively common in the vegetation but exotic, invasive forbs and grasses tend to dominate.

Biology

Bear's-foot Sanicle is a perennial species with a monocarpic life cycle, meaning that after it flowers and fruits the whole plant dies. Germination occurs as early as December and may continue into March. Plants tend to reach maximum annual size by April or May and the small non-reproductive plants either die or become dormant in late May or early June as the summer drought deepens. Larger, older plants flower in March or April and produce ripe fruits by mid- to late June. The small dry fruits are covered with hooked bristles, which aid in dispersal, by catching on the fur and feathers of passing animals as well as on clothing. Dormant plants resprout in October or November and grow slowly through the winter months. Most seeds germinate in the first fall after dispersal, or else perish in the soil. Most seedlings live only a few months and the survivors grow slowly. Generation time is estimated at 14 years.

Population Sizes and Trends

The total Canadian population is currently estimated at approximately 2,900 mature individuals. There are nine extant subpopulations in Canada. Five of the nine subpopulations had fewer than 50 mature individuals. Approximately 85% of the Canadian population occurs in one subpopulation, on Trial Islands. The only other Canadian subpopulation that consistently produces > 100 mature individuals is at Harling Point, a headland on Vancouver Island close to Trial Islands. Habitat information suggests there has probably been a decline in the number and size of the total Canadian population over the past 3 generations (42 years). Bear's-foot Sanicle is critically imperilled in Washington--there is little likelihood of dispersal from US populations to establish new populations in Canada.

Threats and Limiting Factors

The major limiting factor across the Canadian range of Bear`s-foot Sanicle is its restriction to a rare habitat type within a tiny area in Canada. The primary threat to the species is a continuing decline in habitat quality because of the increasing abundance of invasive species. Other major threats include herbivory by the increasing size of the non-migratory and newly resident population of Canada Geese at several Canadian locations of Bear's-foot Sanicle, construction and operation activities, trampling in sites that experience high levels of human visitation and a projected decline in the suitability of occupied habitat as a result of climate change.

Protection, Status and Ranks

Bear's-foot Sanicle is listed as Endangered on Schedule 1 of the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) and afforded measures of protection under that legislation. It is not protected under BC provincial species at risk legislation. Bear's-foot Sanicle is ranked globally secure but critically imperilled in Canada. Bear's-foot Sanicle is also critically imperilled in Washington State and has not been ranked in Oregon or California, where it also occurs.


3. Blue-grey Taildropper

Photo of Blue-grey Taildropper (see long description below)
Photo: © Kristiina Ovaska
Scientific name
Prophysaon coeruleum
Taxon
Molluscs
COSEWIC Status
Threatened
Canadian range
British Columbia

Reason for designation

This small, slender blue-coloured slug is only found in western North America where it lives in the moist layer of fallen leaves and mosses in mixed-wood forest. In Canada, it is confined to the southeastern tip of Vancouver Island within the Coastal Douglas-fir biogeoclimatic zone and where it transitions into the Coastal Western Hemlock biogeoclimatic zone. These habitats are declining in extent and what remains is becoming increasingly fragmented. Fifteen subpopulations are currently known, an increase that has resulted in a change of status. A continuing decline in habitat quality is expected due to natural ecosystem modification and competition with invasive species as well as droughts and severe weather events from climate change.

Wildlife Species Description and Significance

Blue-grey Taildropper (Prophysaon coeruleum) is a small slender slug (Arionidae: Anadeninae) with adults measuring between 20 - 40 mm in length. Distinguishing features include solid blue-grey colour without stripes and distinct, parallel grooves and ridges on the back and sides of the tail. As in other taildroppers (genus Prophysaon), a thin, oblique constriction or impressed line is usually visible on the tail at the site where autotomy (self-amputation) takes place, if the slug is attacked by a predator.

Blue-grey Taildropper may act as a dispersal agent for spores of fungi that form symbiotic associations with tree roots, thereby performing an important ecological function.

Distribution

Blue-grey Taildropper is endemic to western North America, where it occurs from southwestern British Columbia south through the Puget Lowlands and Cascade Range of Washington State into Oregon and northern California; a disjunct population exists in northern Idaho. In Canada, Blue-grey Taildropper is documented only from southern Vancouver Island, where 15 subpopulations are known. All but two records are from within the Capital Regional District. In 2013, the species was found in the North Cowichan District, approximately 28 km north of the nearest record, followed by a second observation in the general area in 2015.

The estimated range (extent of occurrence) of Blue-grey Taildropper in Canada has increased from 150 km2 to 658 km2 since the previous status report, reflecting increased search effort over the past decade. Undocumented localities probably exist, but it is highly unlikely that there would be large additions to their range given the extensive search effort on southern Vancouver Island; hundreds of localities have been searched for terrestrial gastropods on Vancouver Island and the adjacent coastal mainland of British Columbia.

Canadian distribution of the Blue-grey Taildropper (Prophysaon coeruleum). Map provided by Jenny Wu, COSEWIC Secretariat.
Map showing the Canadian distribution of the Blue-grey Taildropper (see long description below)
Source: COSEWIC 2016. COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Blue-grey Taildropper slug Prophysaon coeruleum in Canada.
Long description for map showing the Canadian distribution of the Blue-grey Taildropper

Map showing the Canadian distribution of the Blue-grey Taildropper (Prophysaon coeruleum), known only from Southern Vancouver Island, names of subpopulations are shown and numbered and occur within 1km of each other.

Habitat

Blue-grey Taildropper inhabits low-elevation (< 250 m above sea level) mature or maturing second growth mixed-wood forest (>60 years old) on the drier southeastern tip of Vancouver Island within the Coastal Douglas-fir biogeoclimatic zone and where it transitions into the Coastal Western Hemlock biogeoclimatic zone. These habitats are declining rapidly in extent and becoming seriously fragmented due to urban and rural development. The Coastal Douglas-fir biogeoclimatic zone is one of the most disturbed ecosystems of British Columbia. This zone contains several rare and provincially listed Douglas-fir, Garry Oak and Arbutus ecosystems, where Blue-grey Taildropper has been found, although it is not restricted to these habitats. The slugs are patchily distributed within the landscape. Small forest gaps and woodland habitats may be favoured over deeper forest at the northern limits of the species' distribution, as they capture the sun and provide relatively warm forest floor conditions. Availability of suitable moist refuges, such as provided by abundant coarse woody debris and/or a deep moss layer, is thought to be important.

Biology

Blue-grey Taildropper appears to have an annual life cycle, maturing and reproducing within one year and overwintering as eggs. In British Columbia, juveniles have been observed in April - June, while almost all adults have been found in September - December; one adult was found in March, indicating successful overwintering by at least some adults.

Blue-grey Taildropper feeds extensively on fungi. A variety of vertebrate and invertebrate predators, native and introduced, prey on slugs and probably also on this species. Blue-grey Taildropper is capable of self-amputation of the tail, an adaptation that is an effective anti-predation mechanism against some predators. Blue-grey Taildroppers are thought to have very limited dispersal capabilities, in the order of tens to hundreds of metres per generation.

Population Sizes and Trends

There are no reliable population estimates but rough estimates at four sites in one year resulted in a minimum of 50 - 125 adults per ha. Extrapolation of these densities to known occupied areas results in a population size of 1,800 - 4,500 adults. The total Canadian population, including undiscovered sites, is probably <10,000 individuals. However, the species is patchily distributed in the habitat, making population size estimates difficult. Blue-grey Taildropper was first documented from British Columbia only in 2002, and nothing is known of its long-term population fluctuations or trends. During field verification surveys in autumn 2014, the species was found at six of 18 known sites revisited. While the habitat at most sites remained unchanged, it had deteriorated at six sites where the species was not found due to encroachment by invasive plants, recreational activities, and/or development. Blue-grey Taildropper occurs in two habitat patches that are smaller than 20 ha, the minimum thought to be required for long-term viability, and three others are in heavily fragmented rural landscapes. The remaining ten subpopulations are in habitats with at least some connectivity to larger areas of forest.

Threats and Limiting Factors

Blue-grey Taildropper exists at the northern extremity of its geographic range in southwestern British Columbia. Low dispersal ability and requirements for moist habitats limit the speed with which the slugs can colonize new habitats or habitat patches from which they have become extirpated.

Main threats to Blue-grey Taildropper are from natural ecosystem modification by non-native invasive plants, competition and predation by introduced invertebrates, and from droughts associated with climate change and severe weather. Introduced invasive plants are prevalent at many Blue-grey Taildropper sites on Vancouver Island and deteriorate habitat quality by displacing native plants and altering the microclimate and possibly food supply for slugs. Non-native gastropods and other invertebrates, such as ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) pose a threat through predation and through competition for food and shelter. Prolonged and more frequent droughts are expected to reduce survivorship and length of time available for foraging and growth. Such effects can be expected to be particularly severe in degraded habitat patches that may lack microhabitats suitable for refuges. Other widespread threats include recreational activities and expanding housing and urban developments that contribute to habitat loss and degradation.

Protection, Status and Ranks

Blue-grey Taildropper is listed as endangered on Schedule 1 under the Species at Risk Act. Globally, the species is ranked as "vulnerable - apparently secure", G3G4 (rounded global status G3). Blue-grey Taildropper is on the provincial Red List of species at risk, which includes species that are extirpated, endangered, or threatened in British Columbia, and is ranked as "critically imperilled" (S1).

Most subpopulations are either entirely or partially on federal lands (Department of National Defence, National Research Council), in Capital Regional District Parks and Trails System, or in municipal parks and are protected from land conversions at least over the short term. Three subpopulations and a portion of a fourth one are within rural private lands. Additional sites may exist on private lands.


4. Colicroot

Photo of Colicroot (see long description below)
Photo: © Jennifer Anderson
Scientific name
Aletris farinosa
Taxon
Vascular Plants
COSEWIC Status
Endangered
Canadian range
Ontario

Reason for designation

This perennial herb is restricted to remnant, disturbance-dependent prairie habitats in southwestern Ontario. It continues to decline in the face of multiple threats, including habitat modification, invasive species, and browsing by deer. Prairie habitat, for example, naturally transitions to less suitable habitat types in the absence of periodic disturbance (e.g., fire), and its quality and extent are also vulnerable to ongoing urban and industrial development. Recent construction of a new transportation corridor caused the removal of more than 50% of all mature plants in the Canadian population and loss of habitat. Although plants have been transplanted from the transportation corridor to nearby restoration sites, it is too early to know whether these relocated subpopulations will be self-sustaining so they cannot yet be considered to contribute to the population.

Wildlife Species Description and Significance

Colicroot (Aletris farinosa) is a herbaceous perennial in the Bog Asphodel Family (Nartheciaceae). It has a basal rosette of yellowy-green, lance-shaped leaves. In early summer, it produces an upright flowering stalk about 40 - 100 cm tall, with a spike of small, white flowers with a mealy texture. After flowering, the dried petals remain on the fruit capsules. Colicroot has been used to treat menstrual and uterine problems and contains active chemicals that may have hormonal properties.

Close up photo of Colicroot (see long description below)

Distribution

In Canada, Colicroot is restricted to four geographic regions in southwestern Ontario: the City of Windsor-Town of LaSalle; Walpole Island; near Eagle (Municipality of West Elgin); and is inferred to be extirpated near Turkey Point (Haldimand-Norfolk County).

Distribution of Colicroot (Aletris farinosa) in Canada showing regions with extant subpopulations. Historical occurrences are not shown. Windsor-LaSalle: 4 subpopulations, 30 patches. Walpole Island: 2 subpopulations, 4 patches. Eagle: 1 subpopulation, 1 patch. Turkey Point: 1 subpopulation, 1 patch with status unknown but presumed extirpated.
Map showing the distribution of Colicroot (see long description below)
Source: COSEWIC 2015. COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on Colicroot Aletris farinosa in Canada.
Long description for map showing the distribution of Colicroot

Map showing the distribution of Colicroot (Aletris farinosa) in Canada, indicating four regions with extant subpopulations. Colicroot has an extremely restricted geographic range in Canada and has never been observed outside of southwestern Ontario. Current confirmed occurrences are the City of Windsor and the adjacent Town of LaSalle; Walpole Island (in Lake St. Clair); and near Eagle, in the municipality of West Elgin, Ontario. Seven subpopulations with 35 patches are confirmed extant, and one patch in one subpopulation is presumed extirpated.

Habitat

Colicroot grows in open, moist, sandy ground associated with tallgrass prairie habitats and damp sandy meadows. It is currently found in prairie remnants, old fields, utility corridors, and woodland edges. It is intolerant of shading by surrounding vegetation. For habitat to remain suitable, some type of disturbance must occur to keep vegetation open, short, and sparse. Historically, fire probably maintained habitat but more recently, human activities, such as periodic mowing, cultivation, and the use of walking and bicycling trails, create disturbance in Colicroot habitat but keep habitat only marginally suitable. Loss of habitat due to succession is the number one cause of the decline of Colicroot and is an urgent threat. Habitat has also been lost to urban development, to construction of the Right Honourable Herb Gray Parkway (Parkway), and to conversion to agricultural use.

Habitat in Parkway restoration sites and at some sites on Walpole Island is currently maintained by controlled burning and manual removal of woody and invasive species. However, habitat has been lost in Natural Heritage Areas and a provincial nature reserve, showing that Colicroot is not protected if management is not adequate. It is unknown whether habitat can be restored from a completely wooded state.

Biology

Colicroot is perennial and some plants probably live for decades. The time required to reach maturity from seed is unknown but is likely more than one year and probably depends on site conditions. It is unknown how long seeds remain viable or if there is a seed bank in the soil. In addition to sexual reproduction, vegetative reproduction is possible but infrequent from buds on the rhizome. Thus, some plants in a patch may not be genetically distinct individuals. Flowers are insect-pollinated, mainly by bumblebees and solitary bees. It is unknown whether the flowers are self-fertile. It has been suggested that Colicroot may have mycorrhizal requirements because, until recently, most attempts to transplant the species were unsuccessful. However, greenhouse tests found no evidence that mycorrhizal fungi confer an advantage. Colicroot has no specialized structures to assist dispersal. Flowering stalks are frequently eaten by deer or other herbivores, and the leaves are sometimes eaten by insects. It is unknown whether herbivores can disperse seeds through the gut.

Population Sizes and Trends

Total abundance in 2014 was between 14,000 to 15,000 plants, with ~14,600 the best available estimate. Over half of the individuals in the Canadian population are the results of transplants and those propagated to allow for the construction of the Parkway. There are 35 patches of Colicroot in seven subpopulations confirmed extant and one patch in one subpopulation presumed extant with status unknown. Approximately 93% of all individuals occur within 12 km2 in Windsor-LaSalle, and 82% of individuals (~12,000) are in the Parkway restoration sites. Only about 18% (~2700 plants) are present elsewhere. All Colicroot planted in Parkway restoration sites were originally naturally occurring plants, so plants in restoration sites are considered natural individuals.

Discoveries of new sites and increases of mature individuals constitute ~14,000 plants, but the total 2014 abundance is around 14,600: most of the population known when it was first assessed in 1987 has been lost. Assuming newly discovered plants existed previously and including the plants remaining from the previously known population, there may have been a base population of at least 18,330 in 1986. If the transplanted 7,680 individuals are removed from the total, a population of 10,650 remains. Since then, there has been a measurable loss of more than 5000 plants or >47% of the population, with the actual decline well upwards of that.

Threats and Limiting Factors

Threats to Colicroot include 1) Lack of Disturbance, 2) Invasive Species, 3) Herbivory, and 4) Development. To maintain Colicroot, its habitat must be actively and frequently managed to arrest succession; most of the habitat isn't managed this way, even in protected areas. Recreational activities may cause trampling but sometimes also provide necessary disturbance. It is unknown whether the net result is beneficial or detrimental.

Protection, Status and Ranks

COSEWIC most recently assessed this species as Endangered in November 2015. Colicroot is currently listed as Threatened on Schedule 1 of the Canadian Species at Risk Act (SARA) and as Threatened under the Ontario Endangered Species Act 2007. As of November 2014, no habitat has been regulated under provincial law. Sixteen Colicroot patches are in publicly owned "protected" areas, yet Colicroot remains highly threatened with significant declines on these lands. Ten patches are in private ownership, four patches are on First Nation lands, five are in Parkway restoration sites, and one has corporate ownership.


5. Common Hoptree

Photo of Common Hoptree (see long description below)
Photo: © Gary Allen
Scientific name
Ptelea trifoliata
Taxon
Vascular Plants
COSEWIC Status
Special Concern
Canadian range
Ontario

Reason for designation

In Canada, this small, short-lived tree occurs in southwestern Ontario, colonizing sandy shoreline habitats. A long-term decline in habitat quality and extent is predicted due to the effects of shoreline hardening, and historical sand mining in Lake Erie. One subpopulation depends on continuing management efforts. Improved survey effort has significantly increased the number of mature individuals, which reduces the overall risk to this species.

Wildlife Species Description and Significance

Common Hoptree (Ptelea trifoliata) is a small tree in the rue family (Rutaceae). It has alternate trifoliate leaves which are aromatic; flowers bloom in early summer; they are borne in terminal clusters, cream coloured with 4-5 petals. Fruit, which matures in late summer, is dry, disk-shaped, and bears 2-3 seeds.

Common Hoptree is often a component of the stabilizing vegetation along sections of the Lake Erie shoreline. It has had a long history of medicinal and economic usage, including use by First Nations. It is one of two native Canadian species on which the larvae of the Giant Swallowtail butterfly feeds and is the primary nectar source for early adults of Juniper Hairstreak. It is also the sole host for larvae of the Hop-tree Borer. Hoptree Leaf-roller Moth and the Hoptree Barkbeetle are also specialist herbivores of the Common Hoptree.

Distribution

The typical subspecies (P. trifoliata ssp. trifoliata) occurs naturally from the lower Great Lakes to Texas, eastward from eastern Pennsylvania and southern New England to northern Florida. Other subspecies occur further south and west into Mexico.

Distribution of Common Hoptree (Ptelea trifoliata) in Canada, showing observations prior to 2002 (open circles), and observations made between 2002 and 2014 (closed circles). The species distribution is limited to extreme southern Ontario, namely the Lake Erie shoreline and a few inland sites.
Map distribution of Common Hoptree (see long description below)
Source: COSEWIC 2015. COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Common Hoptree Ptelea trifoliata in Canada.
Long description for Map showing the Canadian distribution of Common Hoptree

Map showing the Canadian distribution of Common Hoptree (Ptelea trifoliata), indicating with open circles the observations made prior to 2002, and with closed circles the observations made between 2002 and 2014. The species distribution is limited in Canada to southern Ontario, the Lake Erie shoreline and a few inland sites.

Habitat

In Ontario, Common Hoptree occurs almost entirely along or near the Lake Erie shoreline. It is often found in areas of natural disturbance where it forms part of the outer edge of shoreline woody vegetation.

Biology

Common Hoptree is dioecious (male and female flowers on separate trees) with insect-pollinated flowers. The fruit is primarily wind-dispersed and may occasionally raft on lake ice or debris. Seedlings readily establish in open or disturbed sites.

Photo of Common Hoptree (see long description below)
Common Hoptree fruit Photo: © Gary Allen

Population Sizes and Trends

The trend in the Canadian population is unknown; however, within sites where subpopulation data are available the number of mature individuals appears to have increased by approximately 200% since the last report in 2002. Numbers at nine sites are increasing; three small sites were extirpated due to development and 34 lack comparable data to ascertain a trend. Eleven previously undocumented sites were recorded and two of the three sites identified as extirpated in 2002 were rediscovered. In total, an estimated 12,000 mature individuals occur in Canada.

Threats and Limiting Factors

In Canada, Common Hoptree rarely colonizes open inland habitats, being mostly limited to shoreline sites. The main threats to the species are loss of habitat resulting from altered coastal process, habitat succession and shoreline development.

Protection, Status and Ranks

In Canada, Common Hoptree is listed as Threatened at both the federal (Schedule 1, Threatened) and provincial level and is protected by both the Species at Risk Act (SARA) and the Ontario Endangered Species Act (2007). A recovery strategy for the species was published in 2012 and several of the key objectives have been addressed. COSEWIC assessed this species as Special Concern in November 2015.

Common Hoptree has been given a global rank of demonstrably secure (G5) by NatureServe; however, it is listed as critically imperiled (S1) in New Jersey and New York, apparently secure (S4) in Virginia and vulnerable (S3) in Ontario. Common Hoptree has not been assessed for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.


6. Flooded Jellyskin

Photo of Flooded Jellyskin (see long description below)
Photo: © Robert E. Lee
Scientific name
Leptogium rivulare
Taxon
Lichens
COSEWIC Status
Special Concern
Canadian range
Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec

Reason for designation

Since this lichen was last assessed in 2004, increased search effort and a better understanding of its habitat requirements have revealed new occurrences in Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec and the minimum number of mature individuals is now estimated at 350,000. Canada is thus the stronghold for this species which has declined or disappeared from elsewhere in its global range. Emerald Ash Borer is a major threat killing ash trees that are an important host species for this lichen where it is most abundant in southern Ontario. Up to 50% of the population may be affected within the next few decades. Another threat is climate change which is expected to create drier conditions that will reduce seasonal flooding which this lichen requires to survive. It also needs calcareous enrichment, and as a result has an even more patchy distribution in the inaccessible boreal regions of Manitoba and Ontario where the number of individuals is lower but not accurately known. The predicted impact of these two threats on this lichen results in the recommended status of Special Concern.

Wildlife Species Description and Significance

The Flooded Jellyskin (Leptogium rivulare) is a small, grey or bluish-grey (when dry) leafy lichen, the surface of which becomes jelly-like when wet. Thalli are up to 4 cm in diameter and on the upper surface there are numerous reddish-brown fruiting bodies (apothecia). The Flooded Jellyskin is a "cyanolichen," in which the photosynthetic partner is a cyanobacterium in the genus Nostoc. Cyanolichens have been shown to contribute significant amounts of nitrogen to the ecosystems in which they occur. The Flooded Jellyskin is also special in that it is one of only a few macrolichens that can tolerate seasonal flooding by fresh water.

Distribution

The Flooded Jellyskin is a globally rare boreal-temperate lichen found in glaciated portions of eastern North America and eastern, central and western Europe. It is found mainly between the 45°N and 60°N parallels. In the USA, the Flooded Jellyskin was found historically as far south as Illinois and Vermont (possibly in glacial refugia) but there is only one recent record from central Wisconsin.

In Canada, three subpopulations of Flooded Jellyskin have been identified. The Ontario Lowlands subpopulation is the largest, and mostly confined to forested vernal pools. The Southern Shield subpopulation is the next largest along the southern limits of the Precambrian Shield near the interface with the Paleozoic Lowlands of Ontario and Quebec, with outliers in Wawa and Temagami. The post-glacial Lake Agassiz basin subpopulation is widely scattered in the boreal forest ecoregion of northern Ontario and Manitoba. A cluster of occurrences exists near Flin Flon, Manitoba, representing the most northerly (55°N) site of the Flooded Jellyskin in Canada.

The distribution of Flooded Jellyskin (Leptogium rivulare) in Canada showing three clusters in (1) the Ontario Lowlands (2) the Southern Shield and (3) the area formerly covered by the glacial lakes Agassiz and Ojibway. Main areas of search efforts are represented by cross-hatched circles. The approximate area occupied by post-glacial Lake Agassiz and possible combination with post-glacial Lake Ojibway is shown (modified from Teller et al. 2002) with grey arrows indicating major drainage routes of post glacial lakes in relation to the isolated northern occurrences of Flooded Jellyskin.
Map showing the Canadian distribution of Flooded Jellyskin (see long description below)
Source: COSEWIC 2015. COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Flooded Jellyskin Leptogium rivulare in Canada.
Long description for map of Canadian distribution of Flooded Jellyskin

Map showing the Canadian distribution of Flooded Jellyskin (Leptogium rivulare), in three distinct subpopulations (Ontario Lowlands, Southern Sheild, and Post-glacial Lake Agassiz basin). In Canada, L. rivulare ranges from as far north and west as Flin Flon, Manitoba, eastwards 1,000 kilometres to the southwestern limits of the Hudson Bay Lowland on the Attawapiskat River, south 800 km to Grey County in southern Ontario, and east along the southern limit of the Canadian Shield of central Ontario, from the Kawartha Lakes region to the Gatineau region of Quebec.

Habitat

In Canada, the Flooded Jellyskin requires a humid habitat that is both calcareous and subject to seasonal flooding. The Ontario Lowlands subpopulation is mostly confined to forested vernal pools. The Southern Shield subpopulation is also found in seasonally flooded swamps and pools along the southern limits of the Precambrian Shield near the interface with the Paleozoic Lowlands. The post-glacial Lake Agassiz basin subpopulation is small and widely scattered in northern Ontario and Manitoba where it colonizes exposed bedrock, or large boulders along flooded lake shorelines in areas that overlie calcareous bedrock or on the margins of seasonally flooded rivers or lakes that have deposits of calcareous materials. For the Flooded Jellyskin to thrive, the water has to have a low sediment load, there needs to be a suitable substratum (tree, shrub or rock) and appropriate temperatures. The Flooded Jellyskin is most often recorded on Ash trees and less frequently on Maple, Elm and Willow. Partial shade provided by trees and tall shrubs appears to be important for maintaining high humidity and a moderate temperature during summer months. Full shade is not generally tolerated by this lichen. The limited dispersal ability of the Flooded Jellyskin likely restricts its occurrence and abundance.

Biology

Abundant apothecia are normally produced, and sexual reproduction is important in maintaining Flooded Jellyskin. Dispersal is achieved passively by the wind-borne spores, possibly aided by water currents. No specialized vegetative organs are produced, though presumably vegetative fragmentation may occur at smaller spatial scales. Dispersal in the species is likely limited by the required habitat conditions, which are not common on the landscape, and by the fact that the germinating spores require a substratum of suitable pH, temperature, light, and moisture as well as the presence of compatible cyanobacteria that enable the re-establishment of the fungal-algal symbiosis. Biotic vectors such as birds or mammals may be an infrequent or potential means of dispersal.

Population Sizes and Trends

Trends in the Canadian range or abundance of Flooded Jellyskin cannot be assessed, owing to the scarcity of historical data. Until 2004, the only known population in Canada consisted of just four occurrences. One of these historical occurrences, Wawa, Ontario, was not re-found and is likely extirpated as a result of air pollution and habitat destruction. Since 2004, increased survey efforts and an understanding of the Flooded Jellyskin's habitat requirements have resulted in an increase in the number of known occurrences, which is now 76 (roughly 352,000 individuals). It is likely that additional occurrences exist in northern Ontario, Manitoba, and possibly Saskatchewan and northern Quebec in areas formerly inundated by the post-glacial Agassiz and Ojibway lakes. However, only low numbers of thalli at widely scattered sites have been found in the post-glacial Lake Agassiz subpopulation, so further searches in these other areas are unlikely to increase the total population significantly.

Threats and Limiting Factors

The impact of the threats to the survival of the Flooded Jellyskin were assessed as "high" using the COSEWIC Threats Assessment Calculator. Since COSEWIC's last assessment of this lichen in 2004, the severity and scope of the threats have changed. Currently, the most important threat to this lichen is the Emerald Ash Borer beetle, which kills all native ash trees and is spreading rapidly both in Ontario and Quebec. Ash trees are important hosts for a significant portion of the Canadian range of the Flooded Jellyskin. Indeed, 99% of the known thalli are associated with plant communities where Ash is present. Twenty of the 76 known occurrences (roughly one quarter of the Canadian population) are in habitat dominated by ash, and another seven occurrences have ash recorded as a co-dominant host tree. Given the known rates of the spread of Emerald Ash Borer, the southern Flooded Jellyskin occurrences in Ontario and Quebec are likely to be affected within the next 10-20 years. Elm is another important substratum for the Flooded Jellyskin in central Ontario occurrences and Dutch Elm Disease is also continuing to kill trees in the province.

Another important threat is climate change, which may alter seasonal flooding in vernal pools and along water courses where flooding promotes the lichen and the establishment of its preferred host trees and shrubs. About 80% of Flooded Jellyskin occurrences are associated with seasonal vernal pool habitat, which is expected to become drier and less frequent. The limited dispersal abilities of the Flooded Jellyskin also increases its vulnerability to climate change, as many of its occurrences are small and isolated in remnant forest patches with vernal pools.

Dams pose another threat to this lichen as they alter flooding regimes along rivers. Changes to hydrology may alter or eliminate Flooded Jellyskin habitat. Other activities such as forestry, mining, quarries, and urban development that alter watercourses, water quality or the protective vegetation surrounding Flooded Jellyskin sites also have the potential to degrade habitat by exposing individuals to increased solar radiation and wind, thus reducing humidity and increasing erosion and water turbidity.

Protection, Status and Ranks

The Flooded Jellyskin was proposed for a global red list status in January 2015. it was assessed by COSEWIC as Threatened in 2004 and subsequently listed on Schedule 1 of the federal Species at Risk Act. A federal recovery strategy was completed in 2013. The Flooded Jellyskin is also listed as a Threatened species under the Ontario Endangered Species Act, 2007, receiving both species and habitat-level protection. It also receives protection by occurring in one Manitoba provincial park, and nine Ontario provincial parks or conservation reserves, which account for roughly 4 percent of the total Canadian population. There is no specific legal protection for Flooded Jellyskin in Quebec.


7. Hoptree Borer

Photo of the Hoptree Borer (see long description below)
Photo: © John and Jane Balaban
Scientific name
Prays atomocella
Taxon
Arthropods
COSEWIC Status
Endangered
Canadian range
Ontario

Reason for designation

This species is dependent on its sole larval host plant, Common Hoptree, which is confined to a narrow swath of southwestern Ontario and currently assessed as Special Concern. This moth has an even more limited range than that of its host - it is known only from the western shore of Point Pelee, and from Pelee Island. Very few individuals have been detected. The most imminent threats include loss of shoreline habitat through erosion, vegetation succession, and invasive plant species.

Wildlife Species Description and Significance

The Hoptree Borer is a small moth (i.e., 17-20 mm wingspan), and the only species of the family Praydidae native to Canada. Despite its small size, the pattern and colour are distinctive, with a black-spotted, pure white forewing and a pinkish rust-brown hindwing and abdomen. Larvae are up to 20 mm long and pale green to yellowish with indistinct lateral lines.

The Hoptree Borer is one of three known insect herbivores that specialize on Common Hoptree, which is currently ranked as Special Concern at the provincial (Ontario) and federal level.

Distribution

Hoptree Borer occurs from the southern Great Lakes region through the Midwestern United States to south-central Texas. Its distribution is more restricted than that of its larval host plant, Common Hoptree. Hoptree Borer is apparently absent from a large portion of the range of Common Hoptree, which extends from the south Atlantic Coastal Plain to the Gulf coast in the southeastern US. In Canada, Hoptree Borer is known only from Point Pelee. It is also suspected to occur on Pelee Island based on the presence of distinctive larval feeding damage. This species ranges over an area of 148 km2.

Map of showing the suspected distribution of Hoptree Borer (Prays atomocella). The suspected distribution is based on confirmed collections and probable evidence of the species in Point Pelee National Park, and potential sites recorded in 2009 and 2010 on Pelee Island.
Map showing the suspected Canadian distribution of Hoptree Borer (see long description below)
Source: COSEWIC 2015. COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Hoptree Borer Prays atomocella in Canada.
Long description for map showing the suspected Canadian distribution of Hoptree Borer

Map showing the suspected Canadian distribution of Hoptree Borer (Prays atomocella). Confirmed occurrences of the species are restricted to Point Pelee National Park on the north shore of Lake Erie. In 2009 and 2010, probable evidence of the species (distinctive shoot damage on Common Hoptree) was also found on Pelee Island.

Habitat

Hoptree Borer is dependent on its sole larval host plant, Common Hoptree, which occurs on shoreline habitats of Lake Erie. Common Hoptree often forms the outermost shoreline vegetation with an active natural disturbance regime, primarily wind and wave erosion. Hoptree Borer has been documented only in the largest subpopulations of Common Hoptree, and has not been found in the smaller, more isolated Common Hoptree subpopulations along Lake Erie northeast of Point Pelee.

Biology

The life cycle of the Hoptree Borer is incompletely known. In Ontario there is one generation per year and adults are active from mid- to late June, during which time eggs are laid on the leaves or shoots of Common Hoptree. Only current-year shoots appear to be suitable for larval feeding. The duration of the egg, larval and adult stage are not precisely known, nor has the egg and egg-laying behaviour been described.

Larval development probably starts in the summer months after egg hatch. The larva bores into a young shoot and creates a diagnostic cavity in the woody stem below the shoot. The excavated material is incorporated into a silken cover for the cavity, forming a short tube that probably serves as a shelter to avoid predators and parasites. Larvae probably overwinter in bored-out stems, as in other species of Prays. Larval feeding continues the following spring after initiation of plant growth. Larvae leave the stem for pupation, which occurs in a distinctive mesh-like cocoon, often among the host plant flower clusters. Adult feeding has not been documented.

Population Sizes and Trends

Population size is unknown for Hoptree Borer. In 2010, feeding evidence consisted of 84 damaged Common Hoptree shoots, 62 at Point Pelee and 22 at Pelee Island. Previous collection records consist of single individuals collected or observed between 1927 and 2013.

Population trends for Hoptree Borer are not known. There may have been an increasing population trend mirroring the increase in the number of Common Hoptrees at Point Pelee and Pelee Island between 2002 and 2014, as a result of comprehensive surveys, in contrast to apparent declines of this plant between 1982 and 2002. The increase in Common Hoptrees, is suspected to be offset by ongoing and future habitat loss. Common Hoptree is abundant on Point Pelee with over 10,000 mature individuals, constituting 80-90% of the total number of mature individuals known in Canada. Pelee Island is the second largest subpopulation of Common Hoptree, estimated at 1,000 individuals.

Threats and Limiting Factors

Threats to Hoptree Borer include most of those identified for Common Hoptree. The potential threat impact is, however, higher for Hoptree Borer because it does not occur in all Common Hoptree subpopulations. The most imminent threats include shoreline erosion, vegetation succession, shoreline development, recreational activities and invasive plant species. Other potential threats include population outbreaks of the Hoptree Leaf-roller Moth, which can result in nearly complete defoliation of Common Hoptree and may adversely affect Hoptree Borer populations through direct competition and leaf and shoot dieback. Pesticide application for control of Gypsy Moth outbreaks is also known to adversely affect other moth species.

Protection, Status and Ranks

Hoptree Borer is not legally protected or ranked in any of the jurisdictions where it occurs. Hoptree Borer habitat within Point Pelee National Park is protected under the National Parks Act. On Pelee Island, one suspected Hoptree Borer occurrence was on a shoreline next to a road right-of-way, under the jurisdiction of the Municipality of Pelee Island. Other Pelee Island occurrences were in Fish Point Nature Reserve, where habitat is protected under the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act.

Common Hoptree is a species of Special Concern in Canada and Ontario and the species and its habitat are protected by the Species at Risk Act and Endangered Species Act respectively. Common Hoptree is given a global rank of Secure (G5) by NatureServe, with subnational ranks ranging from Critically Imperilled (S1) to Vulnerable (S3) for New Jersey, New York, and Maryland, but Hoptree Borer has not been documented in these states. It is likely of conservation concern in Wisconsin, where Common Hoptree is ranked Imperilled (S2), with at least one historical occurrence of Hoptree Borer.


8. Lake Erie Watersnake

Photo of a Lake Erie Watersnake (see long description below)
Photo: © Gary Allen
Scientific name
Nerodia sipedon insularum
Taxon
Reptiles
COSEWIC Status
Special Concern
Canadian range
Ontario

Reason for designation

The Canadian distribution of this unique population of watersnakes is confined to four small islands in Lake Erie. In the United States, subpopulations have recovered because of an increased fish prey base, provided by introduced Round Goby. It is uncertain whether a similar recovery has occurred in Canadian subpopulations. There is concern that the largest subpopulation on Pelee Island continues to be threatened by road mortality, shoreline development, and persecution by humans.

Wildlife Species Description and Significance

Lake Erie Watersnake, Nerodia sipedon insularum, is one of two subspecies of the Common Watersnake, Nerodia sipedon (family Colubridae), found in Canada. Lake Erie Watersnakes range in appearance from being regularly patterned with dark dorsal and lateral blotches to a uniform grey (often a drab greenish or brownish) without pattern. The colour of the ventral scales is generally white or yellowish white, often with dark speckling. Lake Erie Watersnakes are heavy-bodied. The head is large and covered with broad, smooth scales and the body scales are "keeled". Long-term studies on Lake Erie Watersnakes have served as models for understanding evolutionary processes such as gene flow and selection, as well as provided researchers with an example of a rare species benefiting from the introduction of an invasive species.

Distribution

Lake Erie Watersnake has one of the smallest distributions of any snake in North America. In its Canadian range, Lake Erie Watersnake is known to occur only on four small islands in the western basin of Lake Erie (Pelee, Middle, East Sister, and Hen Islands). In the United States, Lake Erie Watersnake occurs in a small shoreline area of the Ohio mainland and on 11 Ohio islands in the western end of Lake Erie.

Distribution of Lake Erie Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon insularum) in the western Lake Erie island region (Canada and USA), and the global range (inset).
Map showing the distribution of Lake Erie Watersnake (see long description below)
Source: COSEWIC 2015. COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Lake Erie Watersnake Nerodia sipedon insularum in Canada.
Long description for map showing the distribution of Lake Erie Watersnake

Map showing the distribution of Lake Erie Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon insularum) in the western Lake Erie island region (Canada and USA), the global range is represented in the inset map. The Canadian range of the species is extant on Pelee, Middle, and East Sister Islands. The species were observed on Hen Island in 1990, however it is unknown whether they still occur on that island.

Habitat

During the active season, Lake Erie Watersnake occupies rocky or sandy shorelines, and limestone or dolomite shelves and ledges with cracks and varying levels of vegetation. Natural and human-made rock berms are also used. The snakes feed in the water but rarely go more than 200 m from shore while foraging. Watersnakes are rarely found more than 100 m inland during the active season, instead most of the time they are within 13 m of the water's edge. Distance travelled inland during the active season is dependent on the availability of shelter habitat and possibly conspecifics during the mating season. Hibernation habitat is farther inland and the sites used are usually cavities and crevices, and are typically composed of soil and rock substrates.

Biology

Lake Erie Watersnake can live up to 12 years in the wild. This species reaches sexual maturity at 3-4 years of age. Courtship involves scramble competition in which several males court one female simultaneously. Annual reproduction by females is common. Females give birth to live young and litter size averages 23 and is positively related to the female's size. Lake Erie Watersnake's historical diet has been largely replaced with Round Goby (Apollonia melanostomus), an invasive species that arrived in Lake Erie in the early 1990s.

Population Sizes and Trends

Lake Erie Watersnakes were reported in great numbers on several islands of western Lake Erie from the early 1800s and up to the early 1960s. Populations decreased in the latter half of the 20th century but are now increasing on U.S. islands, apparently associated with increased prey base from the introduction of Round Goby, which is an invasive fish. There is no information on trends on the Canadian islands, but the persistence of several threats suggests that populations may still be in decline.

Threats and Limiting Factors

Intentional and accidental human-induced mortality, particularly mortality on roads is likely the most significant threat to the species. Another important threat is the reduction of habitat quantity and quality. Additional threats include environmental contamination and elevated levels of predation. The small geographic range and small population size of Lake Erie Watersnake are limiting factors and increase the vulnerability of the snakes to perturbations.

Protection, Status and Ranks

Globally, NatureServe lists the Lake Erie Watersnake taxon as imperilled (global rank is G5T2). NatureServe lists Lake Erie Watersnake as imperilled (S2) in Ontario. In Canada, Lake Erie Watersnake was assessed as Endangered by COSEWIC in 1991 and 2006 and was added to Schedule 1 of the federal Species at Risk Act as Endangered in 2009. Ontario's Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA; Government of Ontario 2007) came into force in 2008 and protection is provided for Lake Erie Watersnake (designated Endangered on the Species at Risk in Ontario List). Under Ontario's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, the taxon is considered a specially protected reptile. On Middle Island, the species is protected under the Canada National Parks Act. Lake Erie Watersnake was removed from the U.S. list of federally endangered and threatened species on August 16, 2011. Lake Erie Watersnake has a status of Endangered assigned by the state of Ohio.


9. Lake Huron Grasshopper

Photo of a female Lake Huron Grasshopper (see long description below)
Photo: © Allan Harris
Scientific name
Trimerotropis huroniana
Taxon
Arthropods
COSEWIC Status
Threatened
Canadian range
Ontario

Reason for designation

This globally rare grasshopper is endemic to the Great Lakes region of Ontario, Michigan, and Wisconsin where it is restricted to dunes along the shores of lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior. In Canada, it is known from 11 dune sites: one location on the east shore of Lake Superior, and seven on Lake Huron at the south shore of Manitoulin Island and Great Duck Island. Formerly, it occurred at three additional sites on Lake Huron but these subpopulations appear to have become extirpated in the 1990s, likely as a result of residential and commercial development combined with intensive recreational use which damaged much of the dune habitat. While recreational use by pedestrians and off-road vehicles continue to threaten some dunes, other sites have undergone recent improvements under dune stewardship programs. Additional threats to dune environments include invasive plants and changes in lake levels related to climate change, natural cycles, or lake level management.

Wildlife Species Description and Significance

Lake Huron Grasshopper is silver-grey to brownish with variable speckles and colours to blend in with its sandy habitat. In flight, the hind wings are exposed to show clear or pale yellow areas at the base, a black band across the middle, and clear or smoky tips. The females (29 to 40 mm) are larger than the males (24 to 30 mm). It is one of a few species endemic to the Laurentian Great Lakes area.

Distribution

Lake Huron Grasshopper is endemic to the Great Lakes region of Ontario, Wisconsin and Michigan. The species is found exclusively on dunes along the shores of lakes Huron, Michigan and Superior. In Canada, it occurs at 11 dune sites: one location on the east shore of Lake Superior, and seven locations on Lake Huron at the south shore of Manitoulin Island and Great Duck Island. Historically it was also found at Giant's Tomb Island and Wasaga Beach in Georgian Bay, and at Sauble Beach (Southampton) on the east shore of Lake Huron. The species is now considered extirpated from these sites.

Canadian distribution map of Lake Huron Grasshopper (Trimerotropis huroniana) showing 2014 search efforts, indicating present, not detected, historical, and unsurveyed dune occurrences.
Map of distribution of Lake Huron Grasshopper (see long description below)
Source: COSEWIC 2015. COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Lake Huron Grasshopper Trimerotropis huroniana in Canada.
Long description for Figure 1

Map showing the Canadian distribution of Lake Huron Grasshopper (Trimerotropis huroniana) including Pancake Bay on southern Lake Superior and dune complexes on the south shore of Manitoulin Island, and Great Duck Island in Lake Huron. Historically the range extended farther south in both Ontario and Michigan. Subpopulations at Giant's Tomb Island, Wasaga Beach, and Sauble Beach (Southampton) in Ontario and Saginaw Bay in Michigan are apparently extirpated. Surveys at these historical sites have failed to find this species since the 1990s.

Habitat

Great Lakes dunes cover a total area of less than 1800 ha in Canada including 492 ha on Lake Huron and 100 ha on Lake Superior. Dunes occur on shorelines where there is plentiful sand in glacial deposits and at river mouths. Exposure to wind and waves is essential to maintain erosion and deposition of sand, and to prevent forest succession. Preferred habitat of Lake Huron Grasshopper is the foredune, a low ridge closest to the lake with open bare sand and scattered grasses.

Biology

In late summer, male Lake Huron Grasshoppers attract females by stridulating (producing trills by rubbing the hind leg on the forewing) and conducting display flights while flashing their wings and producing a crackling sound. After mating, females lay clusters of eggs in the sand and the nymphs emerge the following spring. Nymphs pass through five instars before maturing into adults in late July or August. Marram Grass, Tall Wormwood, and Long-leaved Reed Grass are the preferred foods of nymphs and adults.

Photo of three Lake Huron Grasshoppers  (see long description below)
Female Lake Huron Grasshopper with two males. Photo: © Allan Harris

Population Sizes and Trends

Population sizes and trends are unknown. All known extant Canadian subpopulations were discovered since 2002 and no subpopulation estimates or monitoring data are available. Lake Huron Grasshoppers appear to have become extirpated from three historical sites in Canada (Giant's Tomb Island, Wasaga Beach, and Sauble Beach) between the early 1990s and the mid-1990s.

Threats and Limiting Factors

Residential and commercial development and intensive recreational use destroyed or damaged much of the dune habitat, likely causing the extirpation of Lake Huron Grasshopper at historical sites. Recreational use by pedestrians and off-road vehicles significantly reduces subpopulations and continues to threaten some dunes by damaging vegetation and causing dune blowouts (depressions caused by erosion of sand by wind). Invasive plants, especially Common Reed and Spotted Knapweed can replace preferred food plants and alter dune processes. Changes in lake levels related to climate change, natural cycles, or lake level management have the potential to reduce the amount of dune habitat. Some sites have undergone recent improvements under dune stewardship programs.

Protection, Status and Ranks

Lake Huron Grasshopper is not protected under any legislation or regulations in Canada. It listed as Threatened in Michigan and Endangered in Wisconsin but is not listed under the US Endangered Species Act. It is not listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Pancake Bay on Lake Superior is a provincial park, but other habitat is under municipal and private ownership. Lake Huron Grasshopper occurs at 10 sites with Pitcher's Thistle (Threatened in Ontario and Special Concern nationally) where dunes receive some protection under Ontario's Endangered Species Act.

The Global Rank is G2G3 (Imperilled to Vulnerable). The Subnational Rank in Ontario was adjusted to S2 (Imperilled) from S1 following the discovery of new subpopulations in 2014. It is ranked as S1 (Critically Imperilled) in Wisconsin and S2S3 (Vulnerable) in Michigan.


10. Louisiana Waterthrush

Photo of a Louisiana Waterthrush (see long description below)
Photo: © Dan Garber
Scientific name
Parkesia motacilla
Taxon
Birds
COSEWIC Status
Threatened
Canadian range
Ontario, Quebec

Reason for designation

During the breeding season in Canada, this songbird nests along clear, shaded, coldwater streams and forested wetlands in southern Ontario and southwestern Quebec. It occupies a similar habitat niche in Latin America during the winter. The Canadian population is small, probably consisting of fewer than 500 adults, but breeding pairs are difficult to detect. Population trends for the Canadian population are uncertain. Declines have been noted in some parts of the Canadian range, particularly in its stronghold in southwestern Ontario, while new pairs have been found in others. Immigration of individuals from the northeastern U.S. is thought to be important to maintaining the Canadian population. However, while the U.S. source population currently appears to be fairly stable, it may be subject to future population declines due to emerging threats to habitat.

Wildlife Species Description and Significance

The Louisiana Waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla) is a relatively large, drab wood-warbler that resembles a small thrush. Males and females are identical in appearance. The upper parts are dull brown. The lower parts are cream-coloured, with dark streaking on the breast and flanks. A bold, broad, white streak over the eye extends to the nape. The legs are bubble-gum pink, and the bill is rather long and heavy for a warbler.

Distribution

Most of the global breeding range (>99%) is within the eastern United States. In Canada, the Louisiana Waterthrush breeds in southern Ontario, where it is considered a rare, but regular local summer resident. It is also a rare, but sporadic breeder in southwestern Quebec. The bulk of the Canadian population is concentrated in two areas of Ontario: the Norfolk Sand Plain region bordering the north shore of Lake Erie, and the central Niagara Escarpment between Hamilton and Owen Sound.

Its wintering range extends from northern Mexico through Central America to extreme northwestern South America, and also throughout the West Indies.

Global distribution of Louisiana Waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla), showing breeding, migrating, and wintering range. Map based on Ridgely et al. 2007; prepared by Environment Canada.
Map showing the global distribution of Louisiana Waterthrush (see long description below)
Source: COSEWIC 2015. COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Louisiana Waterthrush Parkesia motacilla in Canada.
Long description for map showing the global distribution of Louisiana Waterthrush

Map showing the global distribution of Louisiana Waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla), showing the breeding, migrating, and wintering range. The species primarily breeds within the eastern United States. In Canada, the Louisiana Waterthrush breeds regularly in southern Ontario, and is a rare and sporadic breeding bird in southwestern Quebec. The Louisiana Waterthrush winters from northern Mexico, south through Central America, and the West Indies.

Habitat

The Louisiana Waterthrush occupies specialized habitat, showing a strong preference for nesting and wintering along relatively pristine headwater streams and wetlands situated in large tracts of mature forest. Although it prefers running water (especially clear, coldwater streams), it also inhabits heavily wooded swamps with vernal or semi-permanent pools, where its territories can overlap with its sister species the Northern Waterthrush. It is often classified as both an area-sensitive forest species, and a riparian-obligate species. Louisiana Waterthrush nests are constructed within niches in steep stream banks, in the roots of uprooted trees, or in mossy logs and stumps, usually within a few metres of water.

Biology

The Louisiana Waterthrush is a long-distance migrant that typically arrives in southern Ontario much earlier in the spring than other neotropical songbirds. It displays annual fidelity to both breeding and wintering sites. Louisiana Waterthrush clutch size ranges from 4-6 eggs and incubation extends from 12-14 days. The species is generally single-brooded.

The Louisiana Waterthrush spends most of its time on or near the ground, along the margins of streams and pools. It has a specialized diet, feeding mostly on aquatic macro-invertebrates, especially insects, and sometimes eats small molluscs, fish, crustaceans, and amphibians.

Population Sizes and Trends

The Canadian population is estimated to be 235 to 575 adults. Population trends are poorly understood. The species has declined locally in parts of Canada in the past century and in the past few decades (related to habitat degradation and/or population fluctuations), but targeted surveys have found higher numbers in some parts of the Canadian range in recent years. Overall, populations in Canada and much of the U.S. currently appear to be relatively stable.

Threats and Limiting Factors

The Louisiana Waterthrush is a habitat specialist and its global population is limited by the supply of high-quality aquatic habitat on both its breeding and wintering grounds. There is no single imminent threat to the survival of the Canadian population; rather, it is the cumulative effects of many threats at different stages of its annual life cycle that are of particular concern. Habitat loss and changes in water quality/quantity due to agricultural intensification, and suburban residential development may have contributed to declines observed in parts of southern Ontario. Habitat conditions in Canada are expected to deteriorate due to the anticipated spread of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, an exotic forest pest, into eastern Canada. Habitat fragmentation and degradation on its U.S. breeding grounds due to the combination of exotic forest pests and resource development could reduce immigration into the Canadian population. Habitat loss and degradation, including degraded water quality and deforestation due to agricultural and development activities, are ongoing threats in the wintering range. During migration, this species also experiences relatively high rates of mortality due to collisions with tall buildings and communication towers.

Protection, Status and Ranks

The Migratory Birds Convention Act currently provides the most specific legislation protecting the Louisiana Waterthrush in Canada. A high proportion of known nesting sites are in protected areas. The specific habitats used by this species in Ontario are also provided some protection through various legislative policies. In addition, their physical characteristics generally preclude most kinds of agricultural and development activities.


11. McCown's Longspur

Photo of McCown's Longspur (see long description below)
Photo: © Gordon Court
Scientific name
Rhynchophanes mccownii
Taxon
Birds
COSEWIC Status
Threatened
Canadian range
Alberta, Saskatchewan

Reason for designation

This grassland bird has experienced a severe population decline since at least the late 1960s, and there is evidence of a substantial, continuing decline. The species is primarily threatened by continuing loss and degradation of grassland habitats within both its breeding and wintering grounds.

Wildlife Species Description and Significance

The McCown's Longspur (Rhynchophanes mccownii) is a grey or greyish brown sparrow-like songbird with an inverted black "T" pattern on its white tail. Males have a mostly white head with a black crown, moustache stripe, and bib patch. As an endemic species of the northern prairies, the species is a useful indicator of that habitat's condition.

Distribution

The breeding range extends from southern Alberta and eastern Montana east to southern Saskatchewan and the western edge of the Dakotas. It has a slightly disjunct range in eastern Wyoming that extends slightly into neighbouring states. Historically, the range extended eastward to Minnesota and southward to Oklahoma. The wintering range is in the southwestern US (mainly Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona) and northern Mexico (mainly Chihuahua and Sonora).

Distribution of McCown’s Longspur (Rhynchophanes mccownii) in Canada, showing a portion of species breeding range (from COSEWIC 2006). Longspurs are uncommon on the edge of their breeding range (diagonal stripes) and are absent from the high elevations of Cypress Hills (black).
Map of distribution of McCown's Longspur (see long description below)
Source: COSEWIC 2006. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the McCown's Longspur Calcarius mccownii in Canada.
Long description for map showing the Canadian distribution of McCown's Longspur

Map showing the Canadian distribution of McCown's Longspur (Rhynchophanes mccownii), representing 23% of the species global breeding range. In Canada, the species breeds only in southeastern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan, excluding the higher elevations of the Cypress Hills. Longspurs are uncommon on the edges of their breeding range, indicated with diagonal stripes.

Habitat

The species breeds in dry, sparse, short-cropped grassland with bare patches and few shrubs or forbs. Such habitat includes short-grass prairie, non-native pastures, closely grazed mixed-grass prairie, and some cultivated fields. Breeding habitat declined historically through the last century, and habitat loss and degradation continue, mainly because native grasslands are being converted for agriculture.

Biology

Birds probably breed in their first year. They are monogamous and territorial, and raise one, or, more rarely, two broods per year. Hatching success is high and starvation is rare, but predators take 30-75% of nests. Otherwise, demographic variables, particularly return and survival rates, are poorly known. Invertebrates, especially grasshoppers, are the main food provided to nestlings, but otherwise the species feeds mainly on seeds. Birds leave Canada for the wintering grounds starting in August, and return to Canada starting in April.

Population Sizes and Trends

The Canadian population is estimated from Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) results as 138,000 adults, which is about 23% of the global population. The best available information on trends, from the BBS, suggests the species declined by 98% in Canada between 1970 and 2012 and by at least 30% in the 10-year period between 2002 and 2012.

Threats and Limiting Factors

Threats include natural system modifications, agricultural effluents, oil and gas drilling, annual and perennial non-timber crops, renewable energy, and transportation and service corridors. Overall, threats were scored as having high to moderate impacts.

Protection, Status and Ranks

The species is protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act of 1994 and listed as Special Concern under Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act. It is ranked as Apparently Secure globally, but as imperiled or vulnerable in most of the states in its US range. In Alberta and Saskatchewan it is ranked as vulnerable or apparently secure.


12. Mountain Crab-eye

Photo of Mountain Crab-eye (see long description below)
Photo: © Paula Bartemucci
Scientific name
Acroscyphus sphaerophoroides
Taxon
Lichens
COSEWIC Status
Special Concern
Canadian range
British Columbia

Reason for designation

This charismatic lichen forms pale gray to yellow gray coral-like cushions. It is globally rare and there are only eight known occurrences in Canada. All are within British Columbia in a very restricted climatic zone, which lies between the hyper-maritime conditions found on the outer coast and the continental climate of the interior. There is a low IAO of 32 km2 and the total estimated population for this lichen is less than 250 colonies. However, this lichen occurs in remote, inaccessible sites within the rugged Coast Mountains, and additional new occurrences are likely to be discovered. In Canada, it is found primarily on dead Mountain Hemlock snags in patterned fen or bog complexes. Development pressures (roads, pipeline, hydroelectricity, mining and forestry) and climate change threaten hydrological regime and microclimatic conditions required by this species at many of the known sites.

Wildlife Species Description and Significance

Mountain Crab-eye is a medium-sized, yellowish to pale grey cushion-forming lichen. The lichen consists of dense tufts of cylindrical, stout, coral-like erect to semi-erect branches. The interior of the lichen is yellow to bright orange and solid. Fertile branches have immersed black fruiting bodies, giving the branches the appearance of stalked crab eyes. Non-fertile branches are smaller in diameter and height. The passively dispersed spores are dark brown, peanut-shell shaped, unornamented, and not well adapted for wind dispersal. The photosynthetic partner is believed to be the green alga, Trebouxia, though there is uncertainty. Mountain Crab-eye has a complex secondary chemistry and contains substances not found in other genera of pin lichens (Family Caliciaceae).

Mountain Crab-eye is the only species of the genus Acroscyphus. It is noteworthy that the Mountain Crab-eye in Canada occupies peatland habitats that are very different from the habitats of Mountain Crab-eye elsewhere in the world. There could be genetic or chemical differences between the Canadian subpopulations and other subpopulations.

a) Fertile podetia with black spore masses extruding from apothecia
Close-up of Mountain Crab-eye (see long description below)
Photo: © Paula Bartemucci

 

b) Younger apothecia with infertile, branched podetia
Close-up of Mountain Crab-eye (see long description below)
Photo: © Paula Bartemucci

Distribution

Mountain Crab-eye has a widely disjunct global distribution. It is reported from high-altitude (> 3000 m), exposed alpine environments of China, Tibet, India, Bhutan, Japan, South Africa, Peru, Patagonia, and Mexico. The last is not confirmed. In Canada and USA, it is found at lower elevations: in Alaska (948 m), Washington (1300 m) and British Columbia (420 to 1000 m). There are currently eight known occurrences in Canada, all within the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, ranging from Kingcome River in the south, to Kitsault in the north. Despite a widespread distribution, there are few national and global occurrences.

Distribution of Mountain Crab-eye (Acroscyphus sphaerophoroides) in Canada showing confirmed occurrences (2014, 2015), habitats where the species was not detected, and the restricted zone between the hypermaritime zone and the continental climatic zone of interior British Columbia where the habitat and climatic conditions appear to favour the occurrence of this lichen.
Map showing the distribution of Mountain Crab-eye (see long description below)
Source: COSEWIC 2016. COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Mountain Crab-eye Acroscyphus sphaerophoroides in Canada.
Long description for map showing the distribution of Mountain Crab-eye

Map showing the distribution of Mountain Crab-eye (Acroscyphus sphaerophoroides). The species is currently known from eight occurrences in British Columbia, it is widely distributed from Satsalla River near Kingcome Inlet in the south, to Kitsault near the border of southeast Alaska in the North. The east-west range is narrow and restricted to the Coast Mountains. The hatched area is the restricted zone between the hypermaritime zone and the continental climatic zone of interior British Columbia where the habitat and climatic conditions appear to favour the occurrence of this lichen.

Habitat

In Canada, Mountain Crab-eye is almost exclusively found on trees within the coastal mountains, in a very restricted climatic zone which lies between the hypermaritime conditions found on the outer coast, such as Haida Gwaii and around Prince Rupert, and the continental climate of the interior of the province. This zone appears to be neither too wet or too dry and hence suitable for Mountain Crab-eye, which colonizes the stems and branches of standing snags or the dead, spiked tops of live trees. The trees may be Mountain Hemlock, Yellow-cedar or Sitka Spruce. This lichen is not found in the hypermaritime climates of the outer coast or in the continental climates of the interior of British Columbia.

Six of the eight occurrences in Canada are located in sparsely treed peatlands--fens or bog complexes. The seventh occurrence is located in a Mountain Hemlock subalpine forest and the last occurrence is in an open, wet subalpine parkland. Though alpine rocks are common substrata for Mountain Crab-eye in other regions of the world, only two colonies have been recorded on rock in Canada.

Biology

Mountain Crab-eye commonly produces black fruiting bodies. Spores are smooth (lacking ornamentation), large, and not actively ejected into the air like most lichen spores and so are not dispersed effectively by wind, but are probably spread by animals or carried on bird's feet. Under suitable conditions, spores germinate and produce fungal strands, or hyphae. In order for a new lichen to regenerate, the fungal strands must encounter a compatible algal partner. Mountain Crab-eye does not reproduce asexually via vegetative propagules containing both fungal and algal partners, nor does it appear to reproduce by fragmentation. However, Mountain Crab-eye does produce spores called conidia, in flask-shaped structures called pycnidia, but it is uncertain if these are a means of asexual reproduction or are involved in fruiting body formation. Longevity, generation time and many other biological parameters of Mountain Crab-eye are currently unknown.

Population Sizes and Trends

Since 1989, when Mountain Crab-eye was first collected in Canada, the number of occurrences has gradually increased with time and search effort. Early collections of Mountain Crab-eye did not provide information about the size or number of individuals. Currently, there are eight known occurrences (6 locations) of Mountain Crab-eye in Canada, ranging in size from at least one colony to as many as 100 colonies. A colony is equivalent to a mature individual of other plants and usually arises from a tiny initial which grows into a clump upon which the reproductive structures develop. In the case of the Mountain Crab-eye, the colonies often grow together, sometimes densely and sometimes on top of one another so it is difficult to estimate the number of individuals. The number of currently known colonies in Canada is estimated to be less than 250, with most of these occurring at one site. This lichen occurs in remote, inaccessible sites within the rugged Coast Mountains of British Columbia. Searching of more peatlands in this region may result in further discoveries of this lichen. However, this lichen is rare across its global range. Lichenologists have searched for it on trees in many of the coastal B.C. peatlands without success so the total population in Canada is likely less than 1000.

Threats and Limiting Factors

Most of Canada's Mountain Crab-eye (100 colonies of the estimated 250 colonies) are found at one single site that faces multiple current and potential threats which make it especially prone to the effects of human activities or stochastic events within a very short time period.

In Canada, Mountain Crab-eye exhibits narrow habitat specificity, small population, and poor dispersal capabilities, which make it particularly vulnerable to climate change as it may not be able to respond quickly to climate-related habitat changes or shifts in ecosystems. Warmer temperatures and higher precipitation could lead to shifts in the assemblages of non-vascular species that occupy snags and spike-tops. Mountain Crab-eye might be outcompeted by species well-adapted to new or changing climate regimes. The functioning and integrity of the wetland systems may be altered or degraded due to severe weather events caused by climate change.

Mountain Crab-eye is also threatened by current and potential industrial development projects such as road construction, logging, gas pipeline corridors, mining (expansion of a molybdenum mine), dams and a run-of-the-river hydroelectric project, all of which may cause habitat loss and degradation, and may indirectly cause alterations to the hydrological regime and microclimate where the species grows.

Protection, Status and Ranks

Mountain Crab-eye is ranked GNR (Globally not yet assessed).

In Canada, it is currently ranked N1 (Critically Imperilled) and has been assigned the same status in British Columbia where it is red-listed.

In the United States, it is NNR (Unranked). In Alaska and Washington, it is currently ranked SNR (Not Yet Assessed) but S1 (Critically Imperilled) has been proposed in both states.

Three of the eight occurrences of Mountain Crab-eye are in designated protected areas (provincial parks and ecological reserves), including the one with the largest number of mature individuals, which affords some measure of protection through legislation. However, permits may be granted for rights-of-way, mineral leasing and other developments. The remaining five occurrences are on provincial Crown land and are not currently protected.

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Part 2: Nine-spotted Lady Beetle to Wrinkled Shingle Lichen

13. Nine-spotted Lady Beetle

Photo of Nine-spotted Lady Beetle (see long description below)
Photo: © John Acorn
Scientific name
Coccinella novemnotata
Taxon
Arthropods
COSEWIC Status
Endangered
Canadian range
British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec

Reason for designation

This species was once common and broadly distributed through southern Canada, from Vancouver Island through the prairies to southern Québec. It has since declined significantly and is now rarely seen. Despite targeted search efforts over the last decade, the species has decreased in abundance relative to other lady beetle species. Specific causes of the decline are unknown. Possible threats include introduction of non-native lady beetles, which could affect this native species through competition, intraguild predation, or introduction of pathogens. Other possible threats include decline in habitat quality through indirect effects of pesticide/chemical use associated with agriculture to control their prey species, urban expansion, and, abandonment and subsequent natural succession of farmland.

Wildlife Species Description and Significance

The Nine-spotted Lady Beetle (Coccinella novemnotata Herbst) is a small beetle (4.7 - 7.0 mm) that is native to North America. Adults are readily identifiable by external morphological features: their wing covers are pale orange to red, with a dark line where the two wing covers meet. They generally have nine black spots on their wing covers, but the size and number of these spots can vary. Furthermore, the head and pronotum are black with white markings. This charismatic species was once one of the more common and widespread lady beetles in North America, playing an important role as a biological control agent of aphids and other insect pests.

Distribution

The Nine-spotted Lady Beetle is a wide-ranging species occurring throughout most of southern Canada with a range that extends along the international border from Vancouver Island to southern Quebec; with northern range limits near: Quesnel, British Columbia; Edmonton, Alberta; Lake Athabasca, Saskatchewan and Roberval, Quebec. The Nine-spotted Lady Beetle also ranges across the continental United States southwards almost to the Mexican border.

The Canadian distribution map of the Nine-spotted Lady Beetle (Coccinella novemnotata), based on museum collections and recent surveys (1897 – 2014).
Map showing the distribution of Nine-spotted Lady Beetle (see long description below)
Source: COSEWIC 2016. COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Nine-spotted Lady Beetle Coccinella novemnotata in Canada.
Long description for map showing the distribution of Nine-spotted Lady Beetle

Map showing the distribution of Nine-spotted Lady Beetle (Coccinella novemnotata), the species occurs through most of southern Canada and the continental United States to the Mexican Border. The Nine-spotted Lady Beetle has been recorded (unverified) near Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories; it is possible that the species could range within southern portions of Northwest Territories and the Yukon however there are no verified records as of 2016.

Habitat

Nine-spotted Lady Beetles are habitat generalists, known to consume a wide variety of prey across a wide range of habitats. They occur within agricultural areas, suburban gardens, parks, coniferous forests, deciduous forests, prairie grasslands, meadows, riparian areas and isolated natural areas. This broad habitat range reflects their ability to exploit seasonal changes in prey availability across different vegetation types.

Biology

Nine-spotted Lady Beetles have four life stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult, and can have two generations per year. Adults of the spring generation can undergo aestivation to avoid high summer temperatures and lay eggs in early autumn. Adults of the autumn generation congregate over winter and undergo diapause; becoming active and reproducing when temperatures warm in the early spring. This species occupies a wide ecological niche across a wide variety of habitats and temperature regimes in Canada. Little is known on the natural dispersal rates for the Nine-spotted Lady Beetle. In general, lady beetles are very mobile, display low site fidelity, and readily engage in short- and long-distance dispersal. Drivers of dispersal are a combination of prey density and environmental variables such as temperature, wind speed and rainfall. This species does not migrate. Both adult and larval stages are predatory and prey primarily on aphids. In turn, this species is also subject to predation by introduced lady beetles, other invertebrates and vertebrates, and susceptible to parasitoids and pathogens.

Population Sizes and Trends

The historically broad geographic range and prominence of the Nine-spotted Lady Beetle stands in stark contrast to its current distribution. Prior to 1975, this species was widely distributed across North America and was one of the more common lady beetles collected. This species has since declined and is rarely collected despite targeted searches. Over the last decade the Nine-spotted Lady Beetle has continued to decrease in relative abundance when compared to other lady beetles.

Threats and Limiting Factors

The specific causes of decline in the Nine-spotted Lady Beetle are unknown. Possible threats to this species include negative interactions with recently arrived non-native species, such as the Seven-spotted Lady Beetle and the Multi-coloured Asian Lady Beetle, through competition, intraguild predation or indirect effects through the introduction of pathogens. Other possible threats include direct and indirect effects of pesticide/chemical use associated with agriculture to control their main prey species aphids, and habitat loss through urban expansion, abandonment of farmland, and other human disturbances.

Protection, Status and Ranks

There are no laws in Canada that protect the Nine-spotted Lady Beetle, its residence or habitat. The NatureServe global conservation status rank is G2 (imperilled). The species has not been assigned a conservation status rank in Canadian provinces or territories. However, while this species is not currently listed in Québec, it is likely to be designated Threatened or Vulnerable in that province.


14. Nuttall's Sheep Moth

Photo of an adult Nuttall’s Sheep Moth (see long description below)
Photo: © Merrill A. Peterson
Scientific name
Hemileuca nuttalli
Taxon
Arthropods
COSEWIC Status
Endangered
Canadian range
British Columbia

Reason for designation

This large, showy and conspicuous moth is restricted to Antelope-brush habitat in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. That habitat type has declined considerably in quality and extent in the past century and remains under threat due to continued conversion to viticulture, residential and commercial development, and impact of wildfires. This is a rare moth in Canada: very few have been observed since the first record in 1920. Potentially large fluctuations in the population size may affect its long-term viability.

Wildlife Species Description and Significance

Nuttall's Sheep Moths (Hemileuca nuttallii) are large members of the wild or giant silk moth family (Saturniidae). Adults of both sexes have forewing lengths of 32-39 mm with white to pale yellow forewings and bright yellow hindwings framed by a pattern of thick black markings. Larvae are spiny and black, with the final instars approximately 50 mm in length.

Distribution

The global range of Nuttall's Sheep Moth is from the extreme southern portion of the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, southward to northern Arizona and New Mexico. In Canada, it has been recorded from the south Okanagan Valley from three general areas: 1) Osoyoos, 2) Oliver (precise site unknown), and 3) Vaseux Lake. The most recent records for the species are 2002 near Vaseux Lake and 1986 at Haynes' Lease Ecological Reserve (approximately 8 km north of Osoyoos). It is unknown if the Haynes' Lease occurrence is the same location as historical records labelled ‘Osoyoos' and the precise location of the Oliver record is unknown. Targeted surveys for adults at six sites in 2009 and for larvae at 16 sites in 2014 were unsuccessful. The targeted searches in 2014 included the 2002 site.

Distribution of Nuttall’s Sheep Moth (Hemileuca nuttallii) in Canada in relation to Antelope-brush (Purshia tridentata) habitat in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia.
Map showing the distribution of Nuttall’s Sheep Moth (see long description below)
Source: COSEWIC 2015. COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Nuttall's Sheep Moth Hemileuca nuttallii in Canada.
Long description for map showing the distribution of Nuttall's Sheep Moth

Map showing the distribution of Nuttall's Sheep Moth (Hemileuca nuttallii).The species core range is the dry interior of the Great Basin and Columbia River drainage from the Cascade Mountains and Sierra Nevada east to the edge of the Rocky Mountains in western Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado. In Canada, Nuttall's Sheep Moth has only been observed from three general areas in the Okanagan Valley within 35 km north of the international border - Osoyoos, Oliver (precise site unknown), and Vaseux Lake (two sites approximately 1400 m apart but with suitable intervening habitat). Canada has less than 1% of the global range and population and represents the northern limit of its continental range

Habitat

In Canada, Nuttall's Sheep Moth is found in the bunchgrass shrub-steppe on dry, open slopes at low elevations where the only known Canadian larval host plant, Antelope-brush (Purshia tridentata), is most abundant. The main habitat is the Antelope-brush/Needle and Thread Grass plant community, which is fragmented by habitat loss; less than 33% of its historical mapped distribution remains in approximately 3200 ha in the Okanagan Valley.

Biology

Nuttall's Sheep Moth is univoltine and may have a life cycle that spans 1 - 2 years. The eggs are laid on the host plants in late summer and overwinter, typically hatching in late April or May the following spring. Early instar larvae are gregarious, while later instar larvae are solitary. The 5th instar larva creates a cocoon in leaf litter or a shallow burrow, and the adult emerges later that season or possibly the following year. In Canada, the known flight period is August through early September, although individual moths have shorter life spans (adults do not feed). Adults are diurnal with a peak of activity in the afternoon, and both sexes are rapid, fast fliers. Perched females emit pheromones to attract potential mates.

Population Sizes and Trends

There is insufficient information to determine Nuttall's Sheep Moth population sizes or trends. Thousands of larvae were observed near Vaseux Lake in 1976, and the species was last observed there in 2002. Nuttall's Sheep Moth was last observed at Haynes' Lease in 1986 despite repeated surveys. No population trend data are available but apparently suitable Antelope-brush habitat in the Okanagan Valley has significantly declined in quality, area and extent.

Threats and Limiting Factors

Cumulative habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation from agriculture (mainly vineyards and orchards) as well as residential and commercial development are the most significant threats to Nuttall's Sheep Moth populations in Canada.

Protection, Status and Ranks

Nuttall's Sheep Moths have no formal protection or status in Canada. It is not ranked by the BC Conservation Data Centre and is considered globally secure.


15. Peary Caribou

Photo of a single bull Peary Caribou (see long description below)
Photo: © Morgan Anderson - Government of Nunavut
Scientific name
Rangifer tarandus pearyi
Taxon
Mammals
COSEWIC Status
Threatened
Canadian range
Northwest Territories, Nunavut

Reason for designation

This subspecies of caribou is endemic to the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, living on the edge of plant growth in polar desert and arctic tundra environments. The current population is estimated at 13,200 mature individuals. From a population high of 22,000 in 1987, the species experienced a catastrophic die-off in the mid-1990s related to severe icing events in some parts of its range. The population was ca. 5,400 mature individuals in 1996, the lowest since surveys first commenced in 1961. Of four subpopulations, two are currently showing an increasing trend, one is stable, and the fourth had fewer than 10 individuals at the last count in 2005, with no evidence of any recovery. The overall population has experienced an estimated three-generation decline of 35%, but has been increasing over the past two decades. The highest-impact threats derive from a changing climate, including increased intensity and frequency of rain-on-snow events negatively affecting forage accessibility in winter, and decreased extent and thickness of sea ice causing shifts in migration and movement patterns.

Wildlife Species Description and Significance

Peary Caribou are the smallest North American caribou. They are mostly white with a slate back and a grey stripe down the front of the legs. In winter, the slate back may turn a dingy brown, and some individuals appear almost entirely white. Antler velvet is slate-coloured instead of brown like deer and other caribou. The antlers tend not to spread as wide as those of other caribou but otherwise they are similar. The skull has a short rostrum and high cranium. The hooves are short and wide. They are genetically distinct from other caribou in Canada.

Peary Caribou are integral components of Inuit and Inuvialuit culture and economy. As the only source of caribou meat for several Arctic communities, they are important in the subsistence economy of local communities, and represented in traditional crafts that are marketed and collected throughout Canada and internationally. Persisting at the limits of plant and animal existence, Peary Caribou are an integral part of Arctic biodiversity and increasingly important in the scientific study of ecosystem response to climate change.

Distribution

Peary Caribou are endemic to Canada in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. They have the northernmost distribution of all caribou in North America, situated almost entirely within the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, with the exception of Baffin Island. Peary Caribou move relatively long distances, including annual migrations across sea ice, regular movements within multi-island home ranges and erratic large-scale movements among islands during severe winters. Four subpopulations are recognized, based on genetic evidence, extent of inter-island movements, and scientific and local expertise: 1) Banks-Victoria islands, 2) Prince of Wales-Somerset-Boothia, 3) Eastern Queen Elizabeth Islands, and 4) Western Queen Elizabeth Islands.

Distribution map of Peary Caribou (Rangifer tarandus pearyi), showing the subpopulations of Peary Caribou (Johnson et al. in prep.). Light green and light purple shading denotes areas of additional sightings of Peary Caribou outside core range for the Banks-Victoria and Prince of Wales-Somerset-Boothia subpopulations, respectively. Map provided by: Dawn Andrews, Environment Canada.
Map showing the global distribution of Peary Caribou (see long description below)
Source: COSEWIC 2015. COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Peary Caribou Rangifer tarandus pearyi in Canada.
Long description for map showing the global distribution of Peary Caribou

Map showing the global distribution of Peary Caribou (Rangifer tarandus pearyi), which is entirely within Canada. Peary Caribou have the northernmost distribution of all caribou in North America. They are found across the Arctic Archipelago except for Baffin Island (which is occupied by Barren-ground Caribou). The species also occur on northwestern Victoria Island with some evidence of movements to other parts of that island. A small number occur (or occurred) on Boothia Peninsula and possibly on King William Island.

Habitat

The habitat of Peary Caribou is treeless Arctic tundra primarily within High and Middle Arctic tundra ecoregions. Most of the range can be characterized as a polar desert with short, cool summers and long, cold winters. The growing season is brief (50-60 days) and variable. Snow cover is generally present from September to May (Banks Island) or mid-late June (Melville Island). Land dominated by dry vegetation covers about 36% of the ice-free area within Peary Caribou range while the terrain ranges from relatively flat (south and west) to mountainous (north and east). The climate is also strongly regionalized with east-west and north-south gradients in precipitation and temperature, affecting primary productivity and forage availability. Above-ground plant biomass ranges from < 100 g/m2 (Queen Elizabeth Islands and parts of the Prince of Wales-Somerset group) to some areas (Banks Island and Prince of Wales Island) having up to 500-2000 g/m2. Peary Caribou have a broad/varied diet and are versatile feeders with diet varying seasonally in relation to available forage and corresponding nutritional content. Essentially all historical Peary Caribou habitat is available and has not been lost or fragmented by industrial or other anthropogenic developments.

Photo of five Peary caribou (see long description below)
Peary Caribou in their typical Arctic habitat Photo: © Morgan Anderson - Government of Nunavut

Biology

Peary Caribou have several adaptations to their Arctic environment such as compact body size for conserving heat, hooves that allow them to walk on and dig through wind-driven snow, and pelage that provides camouflage. They are adapted to limited plant growth with a highly compressed growing season and long periods of snow-covered frozen standing vegetation.

Peary Caribou are polygynous, living in small groups and maintaining a wide dispersion across the landscape, even during calving and rutting. They are thought to live approximately 15 years in the wild, and have widely variable vital rates. Cows usually produce their first offspring by 3 years of age; under conditions of high forage availability cows can calve every year but this is rare. Peary Caribou cows cope with occasional years of restricted forage access either by not becoming pregnant, or by weaning a calf prematurely. The intergeneration period (the average age of parents of the current year's cohort) cannot be precisely calculated, but is estimated at 9 years.

Population Sizes and Trends

Evaluating trends in abundance for Peary Caribou since the first surveys were conducted in the 1960s is made difficult by irregular frequency in surveys (in time and space), as well as changes in survey design and methodology. From 1961 to 2014, government agencies conducted a total of 154 aerial surveys to estimate Peary Caribou abundance throughout the Canadian Arctic. There has been no single year when the entire range has been surveyed.

The current population of Peary Caribou is estimated at about 13,200 mature individuals. In the early 1960s, when the first population counts were made, there were ca. 50,000 Peary Caribou. The population in 1987 was ca. 22,000 mature individuals. It reached its lowest known point in 1996 at ca. 5,400 animals following die-offs related to icing events that affected the Western Queen Elizabeth Islands subpopulation in particular. Numbers have increased since that time, but have not fully recovered. The Prince of Wales-Somerset-Boothia subpopulation, which comprised almost half of the known Peary Caribou population in 1987, began to decline in the 1980s, for reasons that remain ill-understood. Although the last survey was in 2006, there is no evidence for any recovery today. Banks-Victoria numbers have been increasing in the past decade, but not on Victoria Island. The two northern subpopulations (Western and Eastern Queen Elizabeth Islands) have increased overall since the mid-1990s, although baseline levels are not well known. The overall three-generation population (27 years) decline for Peary Caribou is estimated at 35%, while the two-generation trend is positive (ca. 142%).

Threats and Limiting Factors

The overall calculated and assigned threat impact is Very High-Medium for Peary Caribou. This wide range rank of threat impacts is due to the combined effect of the high number of mostly low-impact threats, and the considerable uncertainty, unpredictability, and potential overlap and interaction of most individual threats.

The highest-impact threat to Peary Caribou arises from the myriad effects of a changing climate, including increased intensity and frequency of severe weather events negatively affecting forage accessibility in the winters, and decreased extent and thickness of sea ice causing shifts in migration and movement patterns. The extent to which such negative effects could be offset by increases in plant productivity is uncertain. Other threats that are known, suspected, or predicted to have negative impacts on reproductive success or survival of Peary Caribou under a warming climate include pathogens (especially Brucella and Erysipelothrix) and increased shipping. Lower-impact direct threats include hunting, energy production and mining, human intrusions from work (non-tourist) activities, year-round military exercises, increases in traffic from snowmobiles, helicopters, and airplanes, competition with Muskoxen and airborne pollution.

Protection, Status and Ranks

COSEWIC most recently assessed this species as Threatened in 2015. Peary Caribou are currently listed under Schedule 1 as Endangered under the federal Species at Risk Act (2011) and were listed as Threatened under NWT's Species at Risk Act (NWT) in 2013. Peary Caribou are co-managed in Nunavut according to the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement and in NWT according to the Inuvialuit Final Agreement, which confer primary wildlife management authority on the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board and the Wildlife Management Advisory Council, respectively.


16. Pygmy Pocket Moss

Photo of Pygmy Pocket Moss (see long description below)
Photo: © Stéphane Leclerc
Scientific name
Fissidens exilis
Taxon
Mossess
COSEWIC Status
Not at Risk
Canadian range
British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia

Reason for designation

This species has a very large extent of Canadian occurrence, occurring on both Pacific and Atlantic coasts, and in central Canada. Despite low detectability that confounds attempts to quantify population sizes and trends, the number of known occurrences has increased from 7 to 21 since 2005, and it is expected that more occurrences will be documented with ongoing search effort. Although it is found in some densely populated regions of Canada, including southern Ontario, no declines or direct imminent threats are known for this species. Localized soil disturbance is required for suitable habitat, such that some kinds of human disturbance may actually benefit the species. Although data are lacking in many aspects of its biology, ecology, distribution, and abundance, no evidence suggests that this species is at risk in Canada.

Wildlife Species Description and Significance

Pygmy Pocket Moss (Fissidens exilis) is an ephemeral moss, periodically producing minute (up to 2 mm), 4- to 8-leaved plants from a mat of undifferentiated green filaments, or "protonemata", persisting between periods of reproductive activity on and in the surface soil layer. It can be identified using microscopic features of the leafy plants (gametophores), but the protonemata, which persist between periods of reproductive activity, cannot be visually identified by any means. Spore-filled capsules, supported on 2 - 9 mm stalks, are attached to the apex of each successfully fertilized, mature plant. Pygmy Pocket Moss is most likely to be detected when capsules are present, especially in large colonies.

Distribution

Pygmy Pocket Moss is known from Europe, Asia, Africa, the West Indies, New Zealand and North America. Some authors speculate that it may have been introduced to the last three of these, but conclusive evidence is lacking. Pygmy Pocket Moss was first discovered in North America in 1947, in Cleveland, Ohio, and it is known from at least fifteen eastern US states, as well as from the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia. Some experts believe the species may be introduced in British Columbia.

Search effort for Pygmy Pocket Moss requires specific, intensive approaches that address challenges associated with ephemeral mosses, which can be visually recognized under only certain, sporadic conditions. These measures have not been undertaken, and most known subpopulations were opportunistically discovered.

Canadian distribution of Pygmy Pocket Moss (Fissidens exilis) in a) eastern Canada; maps are based on 20 known Canadian specimens and/or literature reports.
Map of eastern distribution of Pygmy Pocket Moss (see long description below)
Source: COSEWIC 2016. COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Pygmy Pocket Moss Fissidens exilis in Canada.
Long description for map showing the Canadian distribution Eastern Canada

Map showing the Canadian distribution of Pygmy Pocket Moss (Fissidens exilis). Canadian specimens of Pygmy Pocket Moss have been collected in Nova Scotia, Québec, Ontario, and British Columbia. The species has been found in Mixedwood Plains, southern Boreal Shield, Atlantic Maritime and Pacific Maritime ecozones. British Columbia is the only province with no populations yet reported in natural settings; the two known sites are in the Vancouver area.

 

Canadian distribution of Pygmy Pocket Moss (Fissidens exilis) in b) western Canada; maps are based on 20 known Canadian specimens and/or literature reports.
Map of western distribution of Pygmy Pocket Moss (see long description below)
Source: COSEWIC 2016. COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Pygmy Pocket Moss Fissidens exilis in Canada.
Long description for map showing the Canadian distribution Western Canada

Map showing the Canadian distribution of Pygmy Pocket Moss (Fissidens exilis). Canadian specimens of Pygmy Pocket Moss have been collected in Nova Scotia, Québec, Ontario, and British Columbia. The species has been found in Mixedwood Plains, southern Boreal Shield, Atlantic Maritime and Pacific Maritime ecozones. British Columbia is the only province with no populations yet reported in natural settings; the two known sites are in the Vancouver area.

Habitat

In North America, most Pygmy Pocket Moss has been found largely on bare, moist, at least partly shaded, clay-based soil or loam. It has been collected on the forested banks of streams and ravines, floodplains, bluffs, beaches, roadsides, trails and other environments where bare soil is exposed. Habitat patches are transient and may be unpredictable, resulting from a variety of natural and human-related phenomena. No broad trends in the preferred habitat of Pygmy Pocket Moss are known.

Biology

Pygmy Pocket Moss is ephemeral and exhibits a "fugitive" life history strategy: the life and reproductive cycles of its leafy plants are short (less than a year), not seasonally dependent, and driven largely by abiotic factors. Reduced size allows such species to reach maturity sooner than larger mosses with more protracted developmental processes. It expends relatively high reproductive effort, with virtually every tiny plant producing a spore-filled capsule, and its small spores (less than 20 μm) are characteristic of species with longevity in the spore bank. These traits equip plants to complete their life cycles in transient, early-successional environments, and avoid stress during periods of habitat unsuitability by persisting in forms (spores and underground filaments) that are less vulnerable to unfavourable conditions.

Spores are dispersed from less than 1 cm above the substrate, and most collections of this moss have been made from at least partly sheltered environments, so long-distance spore dispersal may be very infrequent. Dispersal of moss- or spore-laden soil via a range of possible biotic and abiotic vectors may be important.

Population Sizes and Trends

Population sizes and trends are unknown for Pygmy Pocket Moss, and efforts to establish both must take into account challenges presented by the species' ephemeral nature and tiny size.

Threats and Limiting Factors

Some threats can be inferred with reference to the general biology of mosses and the habitats in which Pygmy Pocket Moss has been collected, but no research has demonstrated any specific threats to this species. Some human activities that routinely threaten other plant species may have a neutral or beneficial effect on this species, which relies on localized soil disturbance.

Protection, Status and Ranks

Pygmy Pocket Moss is currently listed as a species of Special Concern under the Canadian Species at Risk Act. It is also protected under the Ontario Endangered Species Act, and at least half of the sites where it has been found are managed by the federal or Ontario government, or by conservation-oriented organizations. Some North American jurisdictions, including British Columbia, have ranked Pygmy Pocket Moss SE (exotic).


17. Pygmy Slug

Photo of a Pygmy Slug (see long description below)
Photo: © Kristiina Ovaska
Scientific name
Kootenaia burkei
Taxon
Molluscs
COSEWIC Status
Special Concern
Canadian range
British Columbia

Reason for designation

In Canada, this small slug is confined to the moist forests of the northern Columbia basin of British Columbia. It is found in moist mixed-wood and coniferous forests and commonly associated with riparian habitats along small creeks. Key habitat requirements include high substrate moisture with abundant woody debris and leaf litter for shelter. Threats include: existing and new roads resulting in fragmentation, increased edge effects, and barriers to dispersal; predation and competition from invasive species; damage to riparian areas associated with livestock grazing; habitat loss and degradation associated with logging activities; and, projected consequences of climate change, including an increase in drought conditions and an increase in both the number and severity of wildfires.

Wildlife Species Description and Significance

Pygmy Slug is the sole member of the newly described genus Kootenaia. As its common name implies, Pygmy Slug is very small with adults usually 9 - 14 mm long. The colour is from dark grey to tan with dense bluish flecking covering the mantle and tail; dark mottling is often present on the mantle. The tail is rounded (lacking a keel) with a series of parallel and oblique longitudinal grooves, which may resemble thin dark stripes. Pygmy Slug is a regional endemic to moist forests of the northern Columbia Basin, an area that contains many unique plants and animals.

Distribution

The global distribution of Pygmy Slug extends from southeastern British Columbia through the Idaho Panhandle to northwestern Montana. In Canada, Pygmy Slug occurs in the Selkirk and Purcell sub-ranges within the Columbia Mountains in southeastern British Columbia. The species is known from 44 sites in the province; the number of sites may continue to expand with increasing search effort. Approximately 36% of the species' distribution is in Canada.

Global distribution of Pygmy Slug (Kootenaia burkei), based on distribution records from 2009 – 2015. Map prepared by Lennart Sopuck and Jenny Wu.
The global distribution of Pygmy Slug (see long description below)
Source: COSEWIC 2016. COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Pygmy Slug Kootenaia burkei in Canada.
Long description for the global distribution of Pygmy Slug

The global distribution of Pygmy Slug (Kootenaia burkei) extends from southeastern BC through the Idaho Panhandle to northwestern Montana. In Canada, the species has been found only in the Kootenay region of BC. Approximately 36% of the species' range is in Canada

Habitat

In British Columbia, the slugs occur mostly within the Interior Cedar-Hemlock biogeoclimatic zone, which is among the wettest areas in the interior of the province. The slugs have been found in moist mixed-wood and coniferous forests from low to mid-elevations (580 m - 1585 m), where they are commonly associated with riparian habitats along small tributary creeks. High substrate moisture and abundant shelter, such as provided by coarse woody debris or pockets of deep leaf litter, appear to be key habitat requirements. The slugs have been found from 40 - 50-year-old second growth to old growth (>200 years old) stands. Common trees at occupied sites included Western Redcedar and Black Cottonwood; the understorey often contained moisture-loving plants, such as Thimbleberry, Devil's Club, and Lady Fern.

Biology

The natural history of Pygmy Slug is poorly known. The slugs are hermaphroditic, but the exchange of sperm with other individuals rather than self-fertilization is probably the norm. The slugs lay small clutches of eggs, which are relatively large (10% or more of parent body length). The slugs are known to feed on lichens and fungi and probably also consume decaying organic matter in the duff layer. Most observations in British Columbia and the United States have taken place in autumn, when the slugs are active on the forest floor. Juveniles and an unknown proportion of adults probably overwinter. The generation time is approximately 1 year. The small size of the slugs may enable them to exploit small habitat patches provided that their requirements for moisture and shelter are met. Slugs in general are poor dispersers if not aided by humans or by wind or water; no such passive means of dispersal are known for Pygmy Slug, exacerbating the effects of habitat fragmentation on its distribution within the landscape.

Population Sizes and Trends

Population sizes and trends of Pygmy Slug are unknown. Survey efforts have focused on elucidating the distribution of Pygmy Slug rather than on obtaining abundance estimates. Records for the species from British Columbia are from 2007 - 2015, precluding information on population trends.

Threats and Limiting Factors

The Canadian distribution of Pygmy Slug most likely reflects post-glacial expansion from refugia farther south. Its present distribution is probably limited by a short growing season and/or long and cold winters to the north, and drier forest types to the east and west. Low dispersal ability and requirements for moist habitats limit the speed at which the slugs can colonize new habitats.

Pygmy Slug populations are threatened by extreme events associated with climate change, introduced invasive species, fire and fire suppression, logging, roads, and livestock farming and ranching. The greatest threats to the slugs across their Canadian range are deemed to be from droughts and flood events, the frequency and severity of which are predicted to continue to increase under climate change scenarios. Invasive, non-native species that threaten slug populations include introduced gastropods, which are inadvertently spread by humans and which prey on or compete with native species, and other invertebrate predators such as ground beetles, which can be aggressive predators of slugs. Frequency and severity of wildfires is projected to increase with climate change. Due to their low mobility, gastropods are both unable to escape fire events by moving away and are slow to recolonize burnt areas. Logging is prevalent throughout the Pygmy Slug's range and continues to modify and fragment habitats. The effects of logging on slugs may be mitigated to some degree by riparian buffers, which are required along larger water courses containing fish, or which logging companies may leave voluntarily along small, fishless streams where they are not required. Logging roads and other resource roads also continue to fragment habitats.

Protection, Status and Ranks

Pygmy Slug has no official protection or status under the federal Species at Risk Act, B.C. Wildlife Act, or other legislation. Pygmy Slug is ranked by NatureServe as follows: Global status - G2 (imperilled); United States - N2 (imperilled); Canada - N1 (critically imperilled); Idaho: S2 (imperilled); Montana - S1S2 (critically imperilled to imperilled; BC:S1? (possibly critically imperilled). In British Columbia, the species is on the provincial red list of species at risk.

Across the Pygmy Slug's Canadian range, protected lands comprise approximately 20% of the land base and include several provincial parks, provincial Wildlife Habitat Areas established for other species, and other conservation lands. Pygmy Slug has not been recorded from any of the above areas with the exception of one site within a small conservation area. Most of the range and known sites are within provincial forestry lands.


18. Red Crossbill percna subspecies

Photo of a Red Crossbill (see long description below)
Photo: © Alan Wilson
Scientific name
Loxia curvirostra percna
Taxon
Birds
COSEWIC Status
Threatened
Canadian range
Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador

Reason for designation

This subspecies is a distinctive taxonomic group endemic to Canada. Previously known to breed only on the island of Newfoundland, it has within the past five years also been documented nesting on Anticosti Island. While the Canadian population is thought to be greater than was understood previously due to the recent discovery of a breeding population component on Anticosti Island, there is no evidence of an increasing trend. On the contrary, this taxon has experienced a substantial long-term decline. Further population decrease is expected based on identified threats, most notably competition and predation from introduced squirrels in Newfoundland, habitat loss due to logging, and a fungal disease affecting Red Pine.

Wildlife Species Description and Significance

Red Crossbill percna is one of 10 recognized forms of Red Crossbill in North America. It is a medium-sized finch and a specialized seed eater having curved and crossed mandibles, muscular hinged jaws, and strong clasping feet for prying open conifer cone scales to access the seeds. Red Crossbill males are dull red, females are greyish-olive, and juveniles are dull grey to brownish and heavily streaked. Compared to other Red Crossbill forms in North America, percna has a relatively stout and deep (tall) bill, larger body size, and darker, duskier plumage.

Each form of Red Crossbill in North America is characterized by minor differences in morphology, genetics, and behaviour. Forms are also referred to as vocal types; each is most readily and reliably identified by spectrographic analysis of their unique flight vocalizations. Recent research suggests that Red Crossbill percna may correspond with Type 8. North American Red Crossbills likely represent a complex of cryptic species. Though weakly differentiated genetically, vocalization may promote reproductive isolation even among groups that are not geographically separated. Red Crossbill percna is significant because it is a distinct taxonomic group restricted to insular Newfoundland and Labrador (hereafter "Newfoundland") and surrounding islands, and Anticosti Island (QC).

Distribution

Red Crossbills (form/vocal type(s) unknown) were historically considered to occur throughout most of Newfoundland, but with an erratic and localized distribution. Their range apparently has contracted since the first half of the 20th century; the current distribution of Red Crossbill (both percna and other forms) in Newfoundland is not fully understood. Presence of percna/Type 8 in Newfoundland was confirmed during 2005-2011 via audiospectrographic and morphometric analyses on the Avalon Peninsula, and in eastern, central, and western insular Newfoundland. Probable breeding of Type 8 Red Crossbills having morphology within the documented range of values for percna was also documented on Anticosti Island, QC, in summer 2014.

Birds that possibly are percna (i.e., have large bills) have been documented in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Québec (on the mainland and Magdalen Islands), and in New England (USA); these sightings may represent areas of irregular irruptions during years of food shortages in core areas of occurrence.

Global distribution of Red Crossbill (percna subspecies) (Loxia curvirostra percna) (solid black), which is endemic to Canada.
Map showing the global distribution of Red Crossbill (see long description below)
Source: COSEWIC 2016. COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Red Crossbill (percna subspecies) Loxia curvirostra percna in Canada.
Long description for map showing the global distribution of Red Crossbill

Map showing the global distribution of Red Crossbill (percna subspecies) (Loxia curvirostra percna), which is endemic to Canada. There appear to be two subpopulations in Canada: one on Newfoundland and one on Anticosti Island.

Habitat

All Red Crossbill forms are closely associated with cone-productive forests. Forms vary with respect to bill morphology, with each specialized to feed on particular conifer species. All large-billed crossbills, including percna, are pine forest associates. In Newfoundland, Red and White Pine stands likely represented a significant portion of important habitat for percna in the past; however, these native pines (particularly Red Pine) are currently rare on the Island and do not occur on Anticosti Island. Mature Black Spruce forests, and to a lesser extent Balsam Fir and White Spruce forests, historically and currently provide additional important habitat for percna. Throughout recent history, habitat conversion, forest harvesting, fire, insect damage, and fungal infestations have led to reductions in conifer seed abundance in Newfoundland. Cone consumption by Red Squirrels introduced to Newfoundland in 1963 is implicated as causing significant recent declines in cone availability. Recent projections by the Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) Department of Natural Resources indicate a significant increase in cone production on Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula over the next two decades. However, a major Spruce Budworm outbreak is expected to occur in Newfoundland and Anticosti Island in the near future; such an outbreak could have a negative effect on cone availability, but may provide some food in the form of insect larvae and pupae.

Biology

All forms of Red Crossbill are dependent on conifer forests for the food resources they provide in the form of conifer seeds; availability of cones highly influences survival and breeding. Red Crossbills are irruptive and undertake movements across a range of spatial scales in search of sufficient cone crops, though some populations (possibly including percna) tend to exhibit more sedentary behaviour. Irrupting birds tend to be reasonably faithful to core breeding areas, to which some return within a few years of the irruption. Red Crossbills are monogamous, form pair bonds, nest in loose aggregations, and forage in flocks. They have a flexible breeding strategy, can have multiple broods, and nest in colder months if conifer seeds are abundant. Other adaptations to extreme variability in conifer seed crops include sexual maturity at a relatively young age, accelerated succession of broods, and tolerance of repeated cooling and slow development of young when food is relatively scarce.

Population Sizes and Trends

Red Crossbills were once relatively common in Newfoundland but have been precipitously and continuously declining since the 1950s. Currently they are rare, with infrequent and erratic sightings on both formal and informal surveys. Numbers of percna comprising the recently confirmed population on Anticosti Island (which is probably breeding there) are unknown but are estimated to be in the high hundreds. The Canadian population of Red Crossbill percna is estimated to be in the low thousands (i.e., 1,000-2,500 mature individuals), based on recent bioacoustic analyses and localized systematic surveys targeting Red Crossbills, as well as data from Christmas Bird Counts, Breeding Bird Surveys, the Québec Breeding Bird Atlas, and anecdotal reports from birdwatchers. Much uncertainty is associated with this estimate because of relatively limited sampling (particularly in remote areas), difficulties associated with surveying irruptive birds, and the possibility that percna likely moves very large distances during times of food shortage.

Threats and Limiting Factors

Threats to percna are not clearly understood due to the general lack of information on the taxon in Newfoundland and Anticosti Island. Probable threats (from highest to lowest apparent/predicted impact) include: i) invasive, non-native species and problematic native species (i.e., competition for food resources and nest predation by introduced Red Squirrels in Newfoundland, fungal infestations affecting native and non-native pines in Newfoundland, and insect outbreaks resulting in reduced cone production or tree mortality); ii) biological resource use (i.e., forest harvesting); iii) natural system modifications (i.e., forest fires and forest fire suppression); iv) transportation and service corridors (i.e., roadways); v) mining and quarrying; and vi) agriculture. At times, birds face starvation if cone crops fail across wide geographic areas; additional causes of mortality for percna are vehicle strikes and predation.

Protection, Status and Ranks

Red Crossbill percna has been listed as Endangered since 2004 under the federal Species at Risk Act and the NL provincial Endangered Species Act. It is also protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act. It is considered At Risk in the General Status of Wild Species. NatureServe ranks Red Crossbill percna as nationally imperilled (N2) but has not ranked it provincially although it is recommended as S2 in Québec; Red Crossbill in general has been ranked as S2S3 for Newfoundland and S4 for Québec.


19. Sheathed Slug

Photo of a Sheathed Slug (see long description below)
Photo: © Kristiina Ovaska
Scientific name
Zacoleus idahoensis
Taxon
Molluscs
COSEWIC Status
Special Concern
Canadian range
British Columbia

Reason for designation

In Canada, this slug is confined to a small area in the Kootenay region of southeastern British Columbia, generally within 25 km of the Canada-U.S. border. Most records are from older shady coniferous forest stands ranging from approximately 50 to >200 years. The species often inhabits riparian areas and other very moist microsites. Threats include logging and wood harvesting, and projected consequences of climate change including an increase in drought condition and wildfires. A decline is projected in the area, extent, and quality of habitat. The low number of scattered subpopulations makes the species vulnerable to both natural and human disturbances.

Wildlife Species Description and Significance

Sheathed Slug is a small (20 - 24 mm long), slender slug with a keeled tail and longitudinal and oblique grooves on the sides and tail. The colour is solid grey or brownish grey. Small light flecks on the mantle and tail give the slug a bluish tint. Sheathed Slug is a regional endemic to moist forests of the northern Columbia Basin, an area that contains many unique plants and animals.

Distribution

The global distribution of Sheathed Slug includes northern Idaho, northwestern Montana, and southeastern British Columbia. In British Columbia, Sheathed Slug occurs in scattered localities in the Kootenay region, south of 49°22'N within approximately 25 km of the Canada-United States border. Since the early 1990s, over 700 sites have been surveyed for terrestrial gastropods in the Kootenay region; recent surveys specifically targeted this species and other native slugs. There are records for the species from nine sites. The estimated range (extent of occurrence) of the species in Canada is 1,892 km2 based on these occurrences.

Distribution of Sheathed Slug (Zacoleus idahoensis) in Canada. Map prepared by Jenny Wu, COSEWIC Secretariat.
Map showing the Canadian distribution of Sheathed Slug (see long description below)
Source: COSEWIC 2016. COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Sheathed Slug Zacoleus idahoensis in Canada.
Long description for map showing the Canadian distribution of Sheathed Slug

Map showing the Canadian distribution of Sheathed Slug (Zacoleus idahoensis). In Canada, Sheathed Slug occurs in southeastern British Columbia, where it is known from scattered localities south of 49°22'N within approximately 25 km of the Canada-United States border. The global distribution of Sheathed Slug includes northern Idaho, northwestern Montana, and southeastern British Columbia.

Habitat

In British Columbia, Sheathed Slug has been found in mainly coniferous forest stands of varying ages, ranging from 40 - 50 years to old growth (>200 years old); most records are from shady, older forests. The slugs often inhabit riparian areas and gullies associated with small, fast-flowing tributary streams, seepage areas, or other very moist microsites. Moist microhabitats and refuges provided by decaying logs appear to be important.

Biology

The natural history of Sheathed Slug is poorly known. It is hermaphroditic (possessing both male and female reproductive organs) and lays eggs. Juveniles presumably overwinter, but the proportion of adults that do so is unknown. The generation time is probably 1 year or slightly more, based on the small body size of the adults and relatively short life spans of arionid slugs in general. The slugs feed on fungi and liverworts, and probably also on other live and decaying vegetation. Movement capabilities of Sheathed Slug are presumed to be low. Slugs in general are poor dispersers if not aided by humans, wind or water; no such passive means of dispersal are known for this species, exacerbating the effects of habitat fragmentation on its distribution within the landscape.

Population Sizes and Trends

Population sizes and trends of Sheathed Slug are unknown. Survey efforts have focused on elucidating the distribution of the species rather than on obtaining abundance estimates. Records for the species from British Columbia are from 2009 - 2014, precluding information on population trends. Ongoing declines are suspected, as habitats continue to be degraded by forestry and other causes. In the United States, Sheathed Slug is thought to be declining due to habitat loss.

Threats and Limiting Factors

The greatest threats to Sheathed Slug populations in British Columbia are deemed to be logging, which continues to alter and fragment habitats, and droughts and flood events, the frequency and severity of which are predicted to continue to increase under climate change scenarios. Other threats include introduced invasive species, fire and fire suppression, roads, and livestock farming and ranching. Climate change and severe weather, fire and fire suppression, and forestry are likely to interact in a cumulative manner. Increased frequency and severity of prolonged summer droughts is expected to exacerbate the effects of logging (both recent and planned) and wildfires on the slug's habitat, resulting in declines in both quantity and quality of habitat.

Protection, Status and Ranks

Most of the distribution and records of Sheathed Slug are on unprotected provincial forestry lands. Only about the 3% of the Canadian range of the species is protected within parks or conservation lands, but it is unknown whether the species occurs in these areas.

Sheathed Slug has no official protection or status under the federal Species at Risk Act, B.C. Wildlife Act, or other legislation. It is ranked by NatureServe as follows: Global status - G3G4 (vulnerable-apparently secure); United States - N3N4 (vulnerable to apparently secure); Canada - N1N3 (critically imperilled to vulnerable); Idaho: S2 (imperilled); Montana - S2S3 (critically imperilled to vulnerable); BC - S1S3 (critically imperilled to vulnerable). In British Columbia, the species is on the provincial red list of species at risk.


20. Spiny Softshell

Photo of a Spiny Softshell (see long description below)
Photo: © Ryan M. Bolton
Scientific name
Apalone spinifera
Taxon
Reptiles
COSEWIC Status
Endangered
Canadian range
Ontario, Quebec

Reason for designation

The continuing decline of this species in Ontario and Québec is attributed to very low recruitment that has resulted from loss of nesting habitat. Suitable nesting and basking sites have been lost and/or degraded by development, altered water regimes (e.g., dams, floods, erosion of river banks), invasive plants, recreational use, and illegal harvest of individuals. Without nest protection, few eggs survive predation by an increased abundance of mammals.

Wildlife Species Description and Significance

Spiny Softshell turtles (Apalone spinifera) are conspicuously sexually size-dimorphic, with males reaching a carapace length of 22 cm, and females 54 cm. The carapace is olive to tan, relatively flat, round to oval and covered in leathery skin, with spiny projections along the anterior edge that are most conspicuous in adult females. Spiny Softshells are well adapted for swimming, with a reduced lower shell, hydrodynamic shape and strongly webbed front and hind feet. The neck is long, and can extend to approximately 3/4 the length of the carapace. The head is relatively narrow and elongate with a long, snorkel-like snout. Members of the family Trionychidae have a global distribution and diverged from other turtles in the Cretaceous. The species is significant because it is the only native representative of the family Trionychidae in Canada. Canadian populations are at the northern limit of the species' range, and are adapted to a northern climate (e.g., extended hibernation). Unlike other Canadian turtles, where the sex of an individual is determined by the temperature of egg incubation, sex of Softshell turtles is genetically determined.

Distribution

Globally, the Spiny Softshell occurs in eastern North America from the New England states through extreme southern Quebec and Ontario, west to Nebraska, south to Texas and across the Gulf states to the Atlantic. The Canadian population is divided into two geographically distinct subpopulations: a Great Lakes/St. Lawrence subpopulation in southern Quebec and a Carolinian subpopulation in southern Ontario.

Spiny Softshell (Apalone spinifera) distribution in Canada (Eastern Spiny Softshell subspecies range from Conant and Collins (1998)). This map represents the general range of the species, and does not depict detailed information on the presence and absence of observations within the range.
Map showing the Canadian distribution of Spiny Softshell (see long description below)
Source: Environment Canada 2016. Recovery Strategy for the Spiny Softshell (Apalone spinifera) in Canada - 2016 [Proposed]
Long description for map showing the Canadian distribution of Spiny Softshell

Map showing the Canadian distribution of Spiny Softshell (Apalone spinifera). The Canadian population is divided into two subpopulations, one in southern Québec and one in southwestern Ontario. Spiny Softshell's current Canadian range represents approximately 1% of its global range.

Habitat

Spiny Softshell inhabits a wide variety of aquatic habitats, including rivers, marshy creeks, oxbows, lakes and impoundments. Common habitat features include a soft bottom with sparse aquatic vegetation, as well as sandbars or mudflats. Overwintering sites are generally in well oxygenated lakes and rivers.

Biology

Spiny Softshell can live for several decades. Sexual maturity occurs late, and likely not before 12 - 15 years for females at the northern limit of the range in Canada. Influenced by climate, the life cycle of the species is characterized by a long hibernation and a short, active growing season. Cumulative heat units during the active season determine the time necessary to complete incubation. Eggs are typically laid in June or July, with an average clutch size of approximately 20. It is thought that most females deposit a single clutch annually, but some females lay two clutches in a single year. The incubation period generally varies from 60 to 75 days, and ambient nest temperatures can delay or accelerate incubation. Natural recruitment is low because of high egg predation.

Population Sizes and Trends

Population sizes are small and declining. In Ontario, the total number of mature individuals is estimated to be fewer than 1000 and continues to decline. Nest survey data from the three largest locations in Canada all suggest declines in the total number of mature individuals of approximately 45% in the past two decades. Future significant declines are predicted based on current threats. In Quebec, historic populations in three drainage basins have been lost or have become unviable. The last remaining population is estimated to have fewer than 50 adult females.

Threats and Limiting Factors

The primary threats are habitat and population fragmentation by infrastructure, alteration of the water regime (flooding of nests) by dams and changing weather patterns, increased recreational and agricultural use of nesting areas and adjacent aquatic habitats by humans (disturbance during nesting, ATV use, horseback riding, watercraft use), invasion of nesting areas by non-native plants (e.g., European Common Reed (Phragmites a. australis)), high populations of mammalian egg predators and egg poachers, injury and mortality from fishing and motor boating (collisions, propellers), and illegal capture of juveniles and adults. Cyanobacterial blooms (e.g., toxin bioaccumulation, impact on prey) may also impact the species. Limiting factors include the time taken to reach maturity, a low rate of recruitment, and the constraint of limited summer heat for completion of incubation and hatchling emergence.

Protection, Status and Ranks

Globally, Spiny Softshell is classified as Least Concern (G5) by IUCN because it has a wide distribution, is abundant, and the global population is considered stable. It has a national rank of N3 (Vulnerable) in Canada, a rank of S3 (Vulnerable) in Ontario and a rank of S1 (Threatened) in Quebec. Spiny Softshell also has a rank of S1 in Vermont. In Canada, COSEWIC first assessed Spiny Softshell as Threatened in 1991 and again in 2002. It has been listed on Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act since 2005. In Ontario, it was assessed as Threatened by the Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario (COSSARO) in 1996. It is protected under the 2007 Endangered Species Act and is also a specially protected species under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. In Quebec, Spiny Softshell was designated as Threatened in 1999 under the Loi sur les espèces menacées ou vulnérables and is afforded protection under the Loi sur la conservation et la mise en valeur de la faune.


21. Unisexual Ambystoma (Jefferson Salamander dependant population)

Photo of a Jefferson Salamander (see long description below)
Photo: © Jim Bogart
Scientific name
Ambystoma laterale - (2) jeffersonianum
Taxon
Amphibians
COSEWIC Status
Endangered
Canadian range
Ontario

Reason for designation

These unusual unisexual salamanders occupy restricted areas within populated and highly modified areas of Ontario and depend on an endangered sperm donor species, Jefferson Salamander (Ambystoma jeffersonianum), for recruitment. The salamander faces numerous threats from human activities, leading to habitat loss and fragmentation, making its continued existence precarious.

Wildlife Species Description and Significance

All-female populations of Ambystoma (i.e., unisexuals) are members of the Mole Salamander family Ambystomatidae. Their morphology is variable and is determined by their nuclear genomes. Unisexuals with two or more Blue-spotted Salamander (A. laterale) chromosome complements are black with various amounts of blue flecking, and have relatively short limbs and a narrower head. Unisexuals with two or more Jefferson Salamander (A. jeffersonianum) chromosome complements are larger, grey to brown with a small amount of blue flecking, and have relatively long limbs and a broader head. Unisexuals with two or more Small-mouthed Salamander (A. texanum) chromosome complements are grey, more slender, and have narrow heads.

Unisexual Ambystoma all share a very similar mitochondrial DNA that is distinctly different from any bisexual species. They have a unique genetic system and represent a distinct, monophyletic lineage that arose 3 to 5 million years ago, making them the oldest lineage of unisexual vertebrates known. Eggs normally develop by gynogenesis. This process requires sperm, derived from sympatric bisexual species. The sperm is only used to initiate the development of the eggs and typically is not incorporated in the developing embryo. In rare cases, sperm are incorporated, and when DNA from sperm are incorporated, the ploidy of the embryos increases (i.e., triploid to tetraploid).

Distribution

Unisexual salamanders are found in association with appropriate bisexual species whose males serve as sperm donors. The geographic range of unisexual salamanders in the genus Ambystoma roughly coincides with deciduous and mixed-wood forests in northeastern North America from Nova Scotia and the New England States to Indiana. Their northern limits are in Minnesota, north-central Ontario, and southern Quebec, and they range south to Kentucky. Three designatable units are considered in this report, based on their sperm-donor species. In Canada, unisexual salamanders are found in association with the Blue-spotted Salamander in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario; with the Jefferson Salamander in Ontario; and with the Small-mouthed Salamander on Pelee Island in Lake Erie, Ontario. In Canada, unisexual populations of salamanders occur in all known Jefferson Salamander and Small-mouthed Salamander populations, as well as in the majority of Blue-spotted Salamander populations that have been investigated. Unisexual Salamanders can be much more numerous than individuals of sympatric bisexual species that serve as sperm donors.

Global distribution of Unisexual Ambystoma – Jefferson Salamander dependent population (Ambystoma laterale - (2) jeffersonianum), they rely on the Jefferson Salamander as a sperm donor. These populations contain individuals that normally possess one Blue-spotted and two Jefferson Salamander chromosome complements (i.e. LJJ).
Unisexual Jefferson Salamader (see long description below)
Source: COSEWIC 2016. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the unisexual Ambystoma, Ambystoma laterale, Small-mouthed Salamander-dependent population, Jefferson Salamander-dependent population and the Blue-spotted Salamander-dependent population, in Canada.
Long description for Map showing the global distribution of Unisexual Jefferson Salamader

Map showing the global distribution of Unisexual Ambystoma - Jefferson Salamader dependent population (Ambystoma laterale - (2) jeffersonianum). The ranges of unisexuals that rely on Jefferson Salamander are restricted to southern Ontario.

Habitat

Unisexual Salamanders have the same habitat requirements as their respective sperm-donating species. They are normally found within deciduous or mixed forests containing, or adjacent to, suitable breeding ponds. Breeding ponds are normally ephemeral, or vernal, pools that dry in late summer. Terrestrial habitat is in moist woodlands, where the salamanders find shelter from predators and desiccation under fallen trees or rocks, as well as in mammal burrows. Adults forage during humid conditions at night on the forest floor within ~1 km of the breeding pond. These salamanders also require terrestrial overwintering sites below the frost line.

Biology

In conjunction with individuals of their sperm-donating species, unisexual adults migrate to and from breeding ponds at night very early in spring. Most migration events to and from breeding ponds coincide with rain or very humid conditions. Courtship occurs with sympatric bisexual males and, within a day or two after mating, unisexual salamanders deposit several egg masses on sticks or emergent vegetation at various depths in the breeding pond. Egg deposition may occur under the ice. Duration of egg and larval development is variable and temperature-dependent. Larvae are carnivorous and eat a variety of invertebrates and are also cannibalistic. In Canada, larvae normally transform in July or early August and leave the pond. Juveniles and adults are entirely terrestrial except for the annual breeding period.

Population Sizes and Trends

Estimation of population sizes of unisexual salamanders is difficult because they are morphologically similar to females of their sympatric sperm-donating species. Most of the historical sites surveyed for the Jefferson Salamander in 1990 and 1991 no longer supported either the Jefferson Salamander or unisexual salamanders in 2003 and 2004. Furthermore, at some sites where both Jefferson Salamanders and unisexuals still existed in 2003-2004, there was a notable reduction in the number of egg masses compared to numbers found in earlier surveys. Population sizes of unisexuals vary with respect to the sperm donor and geographic area. All subpopulations of Jefferson Salamanders and Small-mouthed Salamanders also contain unisexuals that can account for ~ 85% of individuals at a site. The percent of unisexuals found in Blue-spotted Salamander breeding ponds is more variable, and some of those ponds have not yielded any unisexuals.

Threats and Limiting Factors

Loss of sexual sperm donors is a limiting factor unique to unisexual Ambystoma because they require the presence of diploid males of their sexual hosts for reproduction. Threats include: i) partial or absolute elimination of suitable habitat by development, including loss of breeding ponds, trees and ground cover; ii) barriers (e.g., roads, silt fences) across migratory routes linked to breeding ponds; and iii) premature pond drying during summer.

Protection, Status and Ranks

Unisexuals coexist with species some of which have a designated conservation status and are morphologically indistinguishable from those species. Connecticut lists A. jeffersonianum "complex" and A. laterale "complex" as state species of special concern. In Ontario, Jefferson Salamander dominated polyploids are unisexuals that require Jefferson Salamander males. Since 2010, these individuals have received the same habitat protection as the Jefferson Salamander under the provincial Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA) (see O.Reg. 242/08 s.28). So far, there is no similar regulation for Canadian unisexuals that live with the Endangered Small-mouthed Salamander (A. texanum) on Pelee Island, Ontario, or unisexuals that depend on the Blue-spotted Salamander (A. laterale).


22. Unisexual Ambystoma (Small-mouthed Salamander dependant population)

Photo of Small-mouthed Salamander (see long description below)
Photo: © Patrick Heney
Scientific name
Ambystoma laterale - texanum
Taxon
Amphibian
COSEWIC Status
Endangered
Canadian range
Ontario

Reason for designation

These unusual unisexual salamanders exist only on one isolated island in Canada (Pelee Island in Lake Erie) and depend on an endangered sperm donor species, Small-mouthed Salamander (Ambystoma texanum), for recruitment. The salamander faces numerous threats that make its continued existence precarious. These include predation and habitat modification by introduced wild turkeys, drainage activities that can cause premature drying of breeding ponds, road mortality during seasonal migrations, urban development, and recreational activities.

Wildlife Species Description and Significance

All-female populations of Ambystoma (i.e., unisexuals) are members of the Mole Salamander family Ambystomatidae. Their morphology is variable and is determined by their nuclear genomes. Unisexuals with two or more Blue-spotted Salamander (A. laterale) chromosome complements are black with various amounts of blue flecking, and have relatively short limbs and a narrower head. Unisexuals with two or more Jefferson Salamander (A. jeffersonianum) chromosome complements are larger, grey to brown with a small amount of blue flecking, and have relatively long limbs and a broader head. Unisexuals with two or more Small-mouthed Salamander (A. texanum) chromosome complements are grey, more slender, and have narrow heads.

Unisexual Ambystoma all share a very similar mitochondrial DNA that is distinctly different from any bisexual species. They have a unique genetic system and represent a distinct, monophyletic lineage that arose 3 to 5 million years ago, making them the oldest lineage of unisexual vertebrates known. Eggs normally develop by gynogenesis. This process requires sperm, derived from sympatric bisexual species. The sperm is only used to initiate the development of the eggs and typically is not incorporated in the developing embryo. In rare cases, sperm are incorporated, and when DNA from sperm are incorporated, the ploidy of the embryos increases (i.e., triploid to tetraploid).

Distribution

Unisexual salamanders are found in association with appropriate bisexual species whose males serve as sperm donors. The geographic range of unisexual salamanders in the genus Ambystoma roughly coincides with deciduous and mixed-wood forests in northeastern North America from Nova Scotia and the New England States to Indiana. Their northern limits are in Minnesota, north-central Ontario, and southern Quebec, and they range south to Kentucky. Three designatable units are considered in this report, based on their sperm-donor species. In Canada, unisexual salamanders are found in association with the Blue-spotted Salamander in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario; with the Jefferson Salamander in Ontario; and with the Small-mouthed Salamander on Pelee Island in Lake Erie, Ontario. In Canada, unisexual populations of salamanders occur in all known Jefferson Salamander and Small-mouthed Salamander populations, as well as in the majority of Blue-spotted Salamander populations that have been investigated. Unisexual Salamanders can be much more numerous than individuals of sympatric bisexual species that serve as sperm donors.

Global distribution of Unisexual Ambystoma – Small-mouthed Salamander dependent population (Ambystoma laterale - texanum), they rely on the Small-mouth Salamander as a sperm donor, these populations contain individuals that possess one or more Blue-spotted Salamander, and at least one Small-mouthed Salamander chromosome complements (i.e. LT and LTT).
Map of global distribution Small-mouthed  Salamander (see long description below)
Source: COSEWIC 2016. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the unisexual Ambystoma, Ambystoma laterale, Small-mouthed Salamander-dependent population, Jefferson Salamander-dependent population and the Blue-spotted Salamander-dependent population, in Canada.
Long description for map of global distribution Small-mouthed Salamander

Map showing the global distribution of Unisexual Ambystoma - Small-mouthed Salamander dependent population (Ambystoma laterale - texanum). The range (extent of occurrence) of the Small-mouthed salamander dependant population in Canada is estimated based on the area of Pelee Island, approximately 43 km2.

Habitat

Unisexual Salamanders have the same habitat requirements as their respective sperm-donating species. They are normally found within deciduous or mixed forests containing, or adjacent to, suitable breeding ponds. Breeding ponds are normally ephemeral, or vernal, pools that dry in late summer. Terrestrial habitat is in moist woodlands, where the salamanders find shelter from predators and desiccation under fallen trees or rocks, as well as in mammal burrows. Adults forage during humid conditions at night on the forest floor within ~1 km of the breeding pond. These salamanders also require terrestrial overwintering sites below the frost line.

Biology

In conjunction with individuals of their sperm-donating species, unisexual adults migrate to and from breeding ponds at night very early in spring. Most migration events to and from breeding ponds coincide with rain or very humid conditions. Courtship occurs with sympatric bisexual males and, within a day or two after mating, unisexual salamanders deposit several egg masses on sticks or emergent vegetation at various depths in the breeding pond. Egg deposition may occur under the ice. Duration of egg and larval development is variable and temperature-dependent. Larvae are carnivorous and eat a variety of invertebrates and are also cannibalistic. In Canada, larvae normally transform in July or early August and leave the pond. Juveniles and adults are entirely terrestrial except for the annual breeding period.

Population Sizes and Trends

Estimation of population sizes of unisexual salamanders is difficult because they are morphologically similar to females of their sympatric sperm-donating species. Most of the historical sites surveyed for the Jefferson Salamander in 1990 and 1991 no longer supported either the Jefferson Salamander or unisexual salamanders in 2003 and 2004. Furthermore, at some sites where both Jefferson Salamanders and unisexuals still existed in 2003-2004, there was a notable reduction in the number of egg masses compared to numbers found in earlier surveys. Population sizes of unisexuals vary with respect to the sperm donor and geographic area. All subpopulations of Jefferson Salamanders and Small-mouthed Salamanders also contain unisexuals that can account for ~ 85% of individuals at a site. The percent of unisexuals found in Blue-spotted Salamander breeding ponds is more variable, and some of those ponds have not yielded any unisexuals.

Threats and Limiting Factors

Loss of sexual sperm donors is a limiting factor unique to unisexual Ambystoma because they require the presence of diploid males of their sexual hosts for reproduction. Threats include: i) partial or absolute elimination of suitable habitat by development, including loss of breeding ponds, trees and ground cover; ii) barriers (e.g., roads, silt fences) across migratory routes linked to breeding ponds; and iii) premature pond drying during summer.

Protection, Status and Ranks

Unisexuals coexist with species some of which have a designated conservation status and are morphologically indistinguishable from those species. Connecticut lists A. jeffersonianum "complex" and A. laterale "complex" as state species of special concern. In Ontario, Jefferson Salamander dominated polyploids are unisexuals that require Jefferson Salamander males. Since 2010, these individuals have received the same habitat protection as the Jefferson Salamander under the provincial Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA) (see O.Reg. 242/08 s.28). So far, there is no similar regulation for Canadian unisexuals that live with the Endangered Small-mouthed Salamander (A. texanum) on Pelee Island, Ontario, or unisexuals that depend on the Blue-spotted Salamander (A. laterale).


23. Western Yellow-bellied Racer

Photo of Western Yellow-bellied Racer (see long description below)
Scientific name
Coluber constrictor mormon
Taxon
Reptiles
COSEWIC Status
Threatened
Canadian range
British Columbia

Reason for designation

The Canadian distribution of this snake is confined to arid valleys of south-central British Columbia, an area with intensive agricultural development and an expanding human population and tourism industry. While relatively little is known of this elusive snake, it likely faces similar threats as other large snakes with which it shares its habitat (Western Rattlesnake, Great Basin Gophersnake). Migratory behaviour of snakes between overwintering dens on valley slopes and lowland foraging habitats, together with increasing numbers of roads and traffic volumes, make populations particularly sensitive to road mortality and habitat loss and fragmentation. Life history characteristics, such as small clutch size and infrequent reproduction by females, increase vulnerability of populations to disturbance, persecution, and changes in land use.

Wildlife Species Description and Significance

The racer species complex (Coluber constrictor) has a broad distribution throughout North America, with three subspecies occurring in Canada: Eastern Yellow-bellied Racer (Coluber constrictor flaviventris), Western Yellow-bellied Racer (C. c. mormon), and Blue Racer (C. c. foxii; addressed in a separate status report). Racers are long, slender snakes with whip-like tails. The Eastern and Western Yellow-bellied Racers are olive-green to blue-grey with cream to bright yellow undersides, from which the name "Yellow-bellied Racer" is derived. Juvenile racers have dark saddle-shaped dorsal markings that fade as the snakes mature. Their sleek body form helps make them extremely fast, while their colouration provides excellent camouflage. In Canada, racers are at the northern extent of their global distribution, where they are of high conservation value as such populations often possess unique ecological adaptations. Racers are non-venomous and harmless to humans. They feed mainly on rodents and insects and are beneficial to local ecological processes.

Distribution

Racers are broadly distributed across North America, but the Eastern Yellow-bellied Racer and Western Yellow-bellied Racer have more restricted ranges. In Canada, the distribution of the Eastern Yellow-bellied Racer extends into three discrete river valleys in southern Saskatchewan and one in southeastern Alberta. The Western Yellow-bellied Racer is restricted to the arid south-central interior of British Columbia, where it occurs in five discrete river valleys.

Canadian distribution of the Western Yellow-bellied Racer (Coluber constrictor mormon), showing broad areas (shaded), where the subspecies occurs in British Columbia.
Map showing the Canadian distribution of the Western Yellow-bellied Racer (see long description below)
Source: COSEWIC 2015. COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Western Yellow-Bellied Racer (Coluber constrictor mormon) in Canada.
Long description for map showing the Canadian distribution of the Western Yellow-bellied Racer

Map showing the Canadian distribution of the Western Yellow-bellied Racer (Coluber constrictor mormon). In Canada, the distribution of the Western Yellow-bellied Racer is restricted to arid valleys in the south-central interior of British Columbia. The range includes the South Columbia, Granby, Kettle, Okanagan/Similkameen, and Thompson/Fraser watersheds.

Habitat

In Canada, racers overwinter in communal rock dens. Western Yellow-bellied Racers may also use rodent burrows or other refuges and hibernate singly, as shown for the sympatric Great Basin Gophersnake. Rock dens are often located on south-facing slopes of steep river valleys, and suitable sites appear to be a limited resource within the landscape. During the active season, racers move from their dens into grassland foraging areas in adjacent lowlands. While Eastern Yellow-bellied Racers occur in mixed-grass prairie, Western Yellow-bellied Racers most frequently occur in Ponderosa Pine and Bunchgrass habitats. Both subspecies forage in riparian and valley bottom habitats.

Biology

In more southern areas of their range in the United States, female racers mature at 2 - 4 years of age and produce one clutch of eggs per year, although, depending on body condition, some may reproduce only every second year. Limited data are available on the age of maturity and survivorship of racers in Canada. The generation time is presumed to be 7 - 8 years. Racers mate after emerging from their winter dens in spring. Females lay a clutch of 3 - 12 eggs, which hatch in approximately 2 months (usually August or September), at which time neonates find their way to a den to hibernate for the winter. Individuals often exhibit strong fidelity to specific hibernacula. The diet of juvenile Eastern and Western Yellow-bellied Racers consists mainly of insects, including crickets and grasshoppers. Adult racers will also take larger prey such as small mammals, reptiles, birds, and amphibians.

Population Sizes and Trends

Racers are well-camouflaged, fast, wary snakes, which makes it difficult to accurately estimate population sizes or even their presence/absence. Based on recent research conducted in Saskatchewan and Alberta, it is evident that Eastern Yellow-bellied Racers are uncommon on the Canadian prairies, and that population dynamics may be negatively affected by habitat fragmentation. The Canadian population size is most likely less than 10,000 adults, distributed among four discrete major valleys on the prairies. Within the past 10 years, the population has declined as a result of a terrain slumping event in Grasslands National Park that killed and displaced snakes from the largest known den of this subspecies in Canada.

Western Yellow-bellied Racers in British Columbia are also uncommon, and their numbers have likely declined from historical levels as a consequence of habitat loss associated with the expansion of urban and agricultural areas. There are potentially five subpopulations of Western Yellow-bellied Racers in major river valleys in the arid interior of the province. Continued threats from road mortality and habitat loss, deterioration, and fragmentation suggest that the population is declining.

Threats and Limiting Factors

Both Eastern and Western Yellow-bellied Racers are vulnerable to habitat loss and fragmentation. These snakes exhibit a high degree of fidelity to specific hibernacula, nesting sites, and summer foraging areas, and appear not to tolerate significant disturbance to these habitats. Racers are limited by the availability of suitable den sites and are unlikely to be able to relocate to other areas if dens are destroyed. Large geographic distances or habitat-barriers isolate small subpopulations, further decreasing the probability of individuals dispersing between sites. Both subspecies are regularly killed on roads, but the threat of road mortality varies greatly across their ranges, being considerably greater for the western subspecies. The overall threat impact was rated as "high" for the Western Yellow-bellied Racer and "medium" for the Eastern Yellow-bellied Racer according to the COSEWIC threat calculator.

Protection, Status and Ranks

COSEWIC assessed the Eastern Yellow-bellied Racer as Threatened and the Western Yellow-bellied Racer as Special Concern in 2004. Both are listed in Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act. Provincially, the Saskatchewan Wildlife Act and the British Columbia Wildlife Act prohibit unauthorized killing or possession of racers, but they have no legal protection in Alberta. NatureServe lists both the Eastern Yellow-bellied Racer and the Western Yellow-bellied Racer as Secure (G5T5) globally, Vulnerable (N3) in Canada, and Vulnerable (S3) provincially, except in Alberta where racers are considered Unrankable (SU) because of a lack of information. The General Status Rank of C. constrictor (subspecies are not ranked separately) is considered Sensitive (rank 3) in Canada, Sensitive in British Columbia, and At Risk (rank 1) in Saskatchewan. The IUCN lists C. constrictor as a species of Least Concern.


24. Wrinkled Shingle Lichen

Photo of Winkled Shingle Lichen (see long description below)
Photo: © Frances Anderson
Scientific name
Pannaria lurida
Taxon
Lichens
COSEWIC Status
Threatened
Canadian range
New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador

Reason for designation

This lichen colonizes mature deciduous trees, most often Red Maple, and is known from 56 occurrences in the Atlantic provinces. Surveys have failed to confirm the lichen is still present in Prince Edward Island, at one of two occurrences in Newfoundland, at two of four occurrences in New Brunswick, and at several of the 49 known occurrences in Nova Scotia. Threats to this species include continuing forest harvesting leading to the removal of host trees, and the impact of climate change, leading to a reduction in the amount of suitable moist climate.

Wildlife Species Description and Significance

The Wrinkled Shingle Lichen, Pannaria lurida, is a leafy lichen forming patches or rosettes that can be up to 10 cm across. It almost always grows on the trunks of deciduous trees. The upper surface is brownish grey and wrinkled. The photosynthetic partner is a cyanobacterium.

Distribution

The Wrinkled Shingle Lichen occurs in Asia, Australia, Pacific Islands, Africa, Asia and America. Three subspecies have been described. The subspecies that occurs in Canada and northeastern USA is reported to be subspecies russellii. There is a possibility that it could be a different subspecies, but no molecular work has been done to substantiate this.

In Canada, the Wrinkled Shingle Lichen is known from 56 occurrences: 49 are in Nova Scotia, four are in New Brunswick, two in Newfoundland and one in Prince Edward Island. There may be undiscovered occurrences, particularly in Nova Scotia and possibly in New Brunswick or even Newfoundland.

Distribution of Wrinkled Shingle Lichen (Pannaria lurida) in Canada and in Maine, USA, based on known occurrences from collection and records. Black dots are occurrences where P. lurida is still extant in Canada, yellow dots are occurrences where P. lurida was not re-found.
Map showing the distribution of Wrinkled Shingle Lichen (see long description below)
Source: COSEWIC 2016. COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Wrinkled Shingle Lichen (Pannaria lurida) in Canada.
Long description for map showing the distribution of Wrinkled Shingle Lichen

Map showing the distribution of Wrinkled Shingle Lichen (Pannaria lurida) in Canada and Maine, USA. Most known occurrences of Pannaria lurida occur near the Atlantic Coast of Nova Scotia, south of Halifax, and through the centre of the province into Cape Breton. In New Brunswick, the occurrences are near the Northumberland Strait, opposite Prince Edward Island and in the southern boundary with the state of Maine. The Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island occurrences are known exclusively from the west coasts.

Habitat

The Wrinkled Shingle Lichen in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick colonizes mature deciduous trees, most often Red Maple that grow near, but not usually within, imperfectly drained habitats. Hence, this lichen is found on trees close to the edge of treed swamps or floodplains. The only occurrence on Prince Edward Island was on Cedar while the ones in Newfoundland are on White Spruce growing in an unusual habitat on cliffs close to the sea.

Biology

Fungal fruiting bodies are frequent on the Wrinkled Shingle Lichen and provide the only specialized means of reproduction. The spores ejected from the fruit bodies need to land on the trunk of a mature tree, germinate and encounter a compatible strain of the cyanobacterium Nostoc. Once enveloped by the fungus, the cyanobacterium, as a result of its ability to photosynthesize and fix atmospheric nitrogen, supplies the fungus with both carbohydrates and nitrogen. No specialized vegetative reproductive structures, which are common on many other lichens, are produced by the Wrinkled Shingle Lichen. However, fragmentation and reattachment of thalli may provide for very local dispersal on host tree trunks.

Population Sizes and Trends

The estimated population of Wrinkled Shingle Lichen in Canada is about 5,000 individuals but as not all known occurrences were revisited or enumerated and as the number of mature individuals varied greatly at sites, the population may exceed 10,000 individuals. The number of lichens per occurrence ranged from one individual to just over 2,400 at a given occurrence.

A total of 56 occurrences are known from Canada. Of the 24 pre-1986 occurrences discovered before 1986, 19 were revisited and the lichen was not found at 15. The lichen was also found to be absent at two more recently discovered occurrences in Nova Scotia and one in Prince Edward Island. Thus the lichen was absent from 18 of the 56 occurrences amounting to a loss of 32%. It is argued that this loss of occurrences has been accompanied by an equivalent decline in the number of mature individuals of the lichen.

Threats and Limiting Factors

Threats calculator analysis indicated that the overall threat impact to P. lurida was "high to very high" with the major current threat being forest harvest resulting in both loss of host trees and changes in microclimate. The impact of forest harvesting for lumber, firewood, woodchips and biomass is particularly serious because this lichen typically colonizes trees after they have developed rough bark, which takes some 50 years post-harvest. The annual hardwood harvest in Nova Scotia doubled between 1990 and 2000 and is expected to continue with continued harvesting of deciduous trees. The same pattern of decline in the amount of old deciduous forest has also occurred in New Brunswick although most forestry activities are on upland mesic sites.

Less serious threats to the Wrinkled Shingle Lichen are climate change, road construction, development, and pollution. A reduction in rain, longer periods of summer drought and less fog, all of which have been projected for Nova Scotia, could lead to reduced growth or death of the Wrinkled Shingle Lichen. Where road construction or development affects drainage leading to changes in humidity in surrounding or nearby woodland habitats, it may reduce growth or lead to death of the Wrinkled Shingle Lichen. Finally, this lichen is also sensitive to sulphur dioxide and acid rain. While the levels of both these have fallen in recent years, the continuing emissions may overcome the buffering capacity of the host tree bark, rendering it too acidic for this lichen to colonize.

Protection, Status and Ranks

The Global Status of the Wrinkled Shingle Lichen is G3 (Vulnerable) to G5 (Secure). The species is Unranked or Not Yet Assessed in the USA. In Canada, the Wrinkled Shingle Lichen is Unranked.

In Nova Scotia, five occurrences are protected: one in Kejimkujik National Park, one in the Five Islands Provincial Park, another in a municipally owned Common Land, and a fifth in a provincial Nature Reserve. In New Brunswick, one occurrence at Clark Point is in a Protected Natural Area.

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