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Stories from - KENTUCKY

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Rare Cave Beetles Protected in Kentucky

Kentucky is famous for horseracing and bluegrass music. The state is also known for its extensive cave systems, which are home to four unique beetle species found nowhere else ... Read More

Stories from - Kentucky

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Restoring Short's Goldenrod

A member of the sunflower family, Short's goldenrod (Solidago shortii) is typically about two feet tall and forms bright yellow blooms from August through October. First listed as an endangered species in ... Read More

Featured Species in Kentucky

Kentucky arrow darter , photo credit: Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources

Kentucky arrow darter

The Kentucky arrow darter now has a limited range in the upper Kentucky River drainage in Kentucky. A recent status survey of the species has shown that populations have declined considerably during the past two decades.

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Kentucky arrow darter.

Photo credit: Phil Delphey, USFWS

Pallid sturgeon , photo credit:  Ken Bouc, Nebraska Game & Parks Commission

Pallid sturgeon

Pallid sturgeon are slow growing fish that feed primarily on small fish and immature aquatic insects. This species of sturgeon is seldom seen and is one of the least understood fish in the Missouri and Mississippi River drainages.     More »


Pallid sturgeon.

Photo credit: Ken Bouc, Nebraska Game & Parks Commission

Northern riffleshell , Photo credit: USFWS

Northern riffleshell

Northern riffleshell, typical of many freshwater mussels, are sensitive to siltation, residential and commercial pollution, agricultural run-off, channelization, impoundments, and competition with zebra mussel. Rivers than can support a reproducing population of northern riffleshells probably has good water quality and a healthy watershed.

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Northern riffleshell.

Photo credit: Paul Labus, USFWS

Partnership Stories in Kentucky

Freshwater mussel, photo credit: USFWS

Endangered Freshwater Mussels

Freshwater mussels are vital to the ecosystem of our streams. Often, they are the first indicator that a stream is becoming unhealthy. Join Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists as they raise mussels in a fish lab to be released into Kentucky's streams...   More »

Unique to Kentucky

  • Prairie bush clover. Photo credit: Thomas G. Barnes

    White-haired goldenrod (Solidago albopilosa) is unique to the Red River Gorge area in east-central Kentucky, in Menifee, Powell, and Wolfe Counties. It is thought that this member of the sunflower family could be a relic plant that was once more widespread and has found refuge in the unique geology of this area. The primary threat to the species is the recreational impacts of hikers, rock climbers, and campers.

    Photo credit: Thomas G. Barnes

  • Iowa Pleistocene snail. Photo credit: USGS

    Kentucky cave shrimps (Palaemonias ganteri) live in slow moving, underground streams within the Mammoth Cave system of Barren, Edmonson, and Hart Counties. Living in the darkness of a cave, these rare animals have no need for eyes. They can taste, touch, and smell food using a pair of long antennae and shorter pair of antennules located on their head.

    Photo credit: Chip Clark, Smithsonian Institution

See other species listed in Kentucky
Last updated: June 4, 2020