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Minnesota’s Endangered Flora and Fauna

Minnesota’s Endangered Flora and Fauna

Barbara Coffin
Lee Pfannmuller
Jan A. Janssens
Nan Marie Kane
Kris A. Kohn
Don Luce
James Tidwell
Vera Ming Wong
Copyright Date: 1988
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 496
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  • Book Info
    Minnesota’s Endangered Flora and Fauna
    Book Description:

    “Extinction of species, the silent crisis of our time, diminishes our world...and a commitment to the preservation of species diversity is fundamental to an optimistic view of the future of our own species,” says Harrison B. Tordoff in his forward to this comprehensive reference book. Minnesota’s Endangered Flora and Fauna is the result of a legislative mandate -- the 1981 amendment to the State Endangered Species Act -- which called upon the state’s Department of Natural Resources and an expert advisory committee to prepare a list of plants and animals in jeopardy. Covered in the book are some 300 species, ranging from mosses and lichens to jumping spiders, and including vascular plants, birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians, fish, butterflies, mollusks, and tiger beetles. A chapter is devoted to each of these floral and faunal groups, with individual status accounts provided for all species. Each account includes the designation endangered, threatened, or special concern, the reasons for that choice, and related information on habitat and distribution. Endangered and threatened species are illustrated; state distribution maps are provided for all species, as well as information on national range. In their substantial introduction, the editors describe the historical background of this project; the components of Minnesota’s Endangered Species Program -- one of the most comprehensive and respected in the nation; and the state’s natural environment -- its diverse landforms and vegetation.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-5577-9
    Subjects: Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Harrison B. Tordoff

    It may seem paradoxical to focus our attention on Minnesota’s rarest plants and animals when common sense tells us that abundant and widely distributed species are more important both ecologically and economically. But the future survival in Minnesota of common species seems ensured, whereas rare species tell us by their low numbers or limited distributions that their foothold as Minnesota residents is precarious. Why should we worry about the state’s rarest species? Why be concerned about the golden saxifrage, the Blanding’s turtle, or the peregrine falcon?

    To the utilitarian, a powerful argument can be made for the potential value of...

  4. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    Barbara Coffin and Lee Pfannmuller
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-2)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 3-19)

    Minnesota has been endowed with a very rich and diverse natural heritage. Lying at the crossroads of three major biomes–coniferous forest, deciduous forest, and grassland–it harbors an array of habitats that is unmatched by many of its neighbors. Home to over 1,800 vascular plants, 600 vertebrate animals, and countless thousands of invertebrates and nonvascular plants, Minnesota is a delight to the student of natural history. Within hours one may encounter species ranging from those characteristic of a mid-grass prairie to those characteristic of an old-growth northern hardwoods stand. A closer examination reveals less common species, including those that...

  7. How to Use This Book
    (pp. 20-30)

    The following information, provided to assist the reader in using this volume as a reference document, defines the status categories and describes the book’s organization, nomenclature, and distribution maps.

    Minnesota State Statute 84.0895 explicitly defines the three official status categories used in this book: endangered, threatened, and special concern. These definitions were the primary guideline for determining each species’ status. To assist committee members in preparing the lists, the Endangered Species Technical Advisory Committee delineated a few additional criteria to be considered when evaluating a species status (shown in italics). As pointed out in the law, the range of the...

  8. Plants

    • 1. Vascular Plants
      (pp. 33-218)
      Welby R. Smith

      The decline of biological diversity has recently become a worldwide concern. Of the approximately 250,000 vascular plant species inhabiting the earth, as many as 20% are in danger of extinction because of human activities. The number may actually be much higher now, and it will certainly increase. At the beginning of the 1980s, an estimated one or two plant species became extinct every day. By the end of the decade, the number may increase to one per hour.

      The greatest losses will be in the New World tropics and on isolated islands where endemism is high. For example, it is...

    • 2. Nonvascular Plants: Mosses
      (pp. 219-230)
      Jan A. Janssens

      Mosses are small land plants. Their life cycles are complex and consist of two very different-looking generations: a more or less parasitic sporophyte (an asexual generation) and a green or autotrophic gametophyte (a sexual generation). Technically, bryophytes (mosses, liverworts, and hornworts) are different from algae because they have a sterile jacket layer around the sex organs, and they are different from other green land plants because they lack true vascular tissue. In addition, the gametophyte is the dominant, free-living generation, in contrast with all other land plants, which have a dominant sporophyte generation.

      The sexual gametophyte produces biflagellate spermatozoids and...

    • 3. Nonvascular Plants: Lichens
      (pp. 231-247)
      Clifford M. Wetmore

      Lichens are a group of fungi that live symbiotically with algae, form a distinctive thallus, produce unique chemical substances, and grow in places where free-living fungi would not survive. There are three broad types of lichens: fruticose, foliose, and crustose. Fruticose lichens are shrubby or treelike and grow on the ground or rocks or drape from trees. Foliose lichens are leaflike and flat but are attached to the substrate by some attachment organ. Crustose lichens resemble paint on rocks or trees and sometimes even grow within the substrate. Crustose lichens cannot be removed without taking some of the substrate along...

  9. Animals

    • Vertebrates

      • 4. Birds
        (pp. 250-292)
        Janet C. Green

        Birds include more species familiar to the general public than any other group of animals. This generalization applies to species on the state endangered species list as well as to common yard-nesting birds like robins. In fact, several birds on the federal endangered species list, the whooping crane, peregrine falcon, and bald eagle, are better known to the non-birding public than very abundant and widespread species like the red-eyed vireo and song sparrow. The obvious explanation for this paradox is coverage by the popular press. The media reflects an emphasis on certain types of birds that is shared even by...

      • 5. Mammals
        (pp. 293-322)

        The distribution and abundance of mammals in Minnesota have been the subject of much field study, making the group relatively well known compared with other floral and faunal groups in the state. Birds are probably the only animal group that have been the attention of more field research. Knowledge of the distribution and natural history of Minnesota mammals was most recently summarized by Hazard (1982), and prior to that in various degrees of detail by Gunderson and Beer (1953), Swanson et al. (1945), Surber (1932), Johnson (1916), Herrick (1892), and Ames (1873). The larger game mammals of the state were...

      • 6. Amphibians and Reptiles
        (pp. 323-350)
        Jeffrey W. Lang

        Of the five major vertebrate groups that inhabit the state, Minnesota’s amphibians and reptiles are probably the least known and certainly the least appreciated. Unlike the state’s fishes, birds, and mammals, there are no game species of herpetofauna (i.e., amphibians and reptiles), with the possible exception of several species of turtles. Hence, the herpetofauna is often conveniently lumped into the nongame wildlife category, a useful but somewhat artificial term that belies the major contributions and crucial roles of these two important groups of vertebrates in wildlife communities (Bury, Campbell, and Scott 1980; Bury, Dodd, and Fellers, 1980). The following is...

      • 7. Fish
        (pp. 351-374)

        Among Minnesota’s five groups of vertebrates, the fishes, represented by 149 species, are the second largest group. In terms of permanent nonmigratory residents, fishes rank number one. The fish fauna of the state comprise 135 native and 14 naturalized species. Only the economically important sport fishes and a few nongame fishes, for example, the marine lamprey and carp, are familiar to the public. A large majority, over 65%, of our native fish fauna is composed of small fishes belonging to many different families. Most people refer to them as minnows. Two fish families, the Cyprinidae or true minnows and the...

    • Invertebrates

      • 8. Butterflies
        (pp. 379-396)
        Robert Dana and Ronald L. Huber

        Butterflies are members of the insect order Lepidoptera, which also includes moths. This is a major order, with 100,000 to 200,000 species worldwide; butterflies account for only 10% of the total. Two superfamilies are traditionally included, the Papilionoidea or “true butterflies,” to which the butterfly of popular imagination belongs, and the less familiar Hesperioidea or skippers. Although these two superfamilies are believed to be more closely related to each other than to any of the moth superfamilies, there is no formal taxonomic category corresponding to the group.

        Of the approximately 700 recognized butterfly species in America north of Mexico, between...

      • 9. Mollusks
        (pp. 397-406)
        Robert C. Bright

        The mollusk fauna of Minnesota is extremely rich, but it is essentially unknown to most people and has been the subject of relatively little research. Our fauna consists of over 200 species and includes the terrestrial slugs and snails as well as freshwater snails, fingernail and pill clams, and mussels (often called clams). Mollusks occur in every body of water in the state ranging in size from Lake Superior to cattle tracks, in every stream from the Mississippi River to small trickles emanating from seeps and springs, and in grasslands, woodlands, gardens, lawns, and on trees and decaying logs.


      • 10. Tiger Beetles
        (pp. 407-420)
        Ron Huber

        Nearly 60% of the approximately 1.3 million named species of life on this planet are insects. Perhaps even more remarkable is that almost 25% of all named species (living things) belong to one particular order of insects—the Coleoptera. One of every four named species around us is a beetle! No wonder, then, on the basis of sheer numbers, that beetle classification poses special problems unimagined by taxonomists who work with vertebrate animals.

        Because beetles are the largest order of insects, even specialists do not always agree on basics such as how many families there are or to which families...

      • 11. Jumping Spiders
        (pp. 421-432)
        Bruce Cutler

        The Salticidae (jumping spiders) are the largest family of spiders, between 3,000 to 4,000 species worldwide. The diversity of species in this family varies greatly from high numbers in the tropics to low numbers in temperate and boreal regions. For example, there are almost as many species known from Panama as from North America north of Mexico, an area 250 times the size of Panama. Minnesota has approximately 60 native and two introduced species of jumping spiders. These spiders are distributed throughout Minnesota in a variety of habitat types.

        Salticids have the best vision of all spiders. In fact, the...

  10. Appendix A. Species Distribution by County: Plants
    (pp. 435-444)
  11. Appendix B. Species Distribution by County: Animals
    (pp. 447-460)
  12. Appendix C. Minnesota Statute 84.0895: Protection of Threatened and Endangered Species
    (pp. 463-464)
  13. Index
    (pp. 467-473)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 474-474)