Endangered Species
Ecological Services

Stories from - WEST VIRGINIA

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Working to Protect West Virginia's Bats

Bats are one of nature's most unique mammals. In addition to being Batman's symbol of glory, these animals perform several important ecological services such as pollinating plants, dispersing seeds, and controlling insects. Bats also boost local economies as a natural... Read More

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Helping Cheat Mountain salamanders in West Virginia's Canaan Valley

The Cheat Mountain salamander, a threatened species that is unique to West Virginia, may have a shot at recovery thanks in part to conservation efforts that are underway at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (Service) Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge... Read More

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Healing a Rare Forest and Recovering a Native Flying Squirrel

If you catch a glimpse of a critter gliding through the night at the highest points of West Virginia's mountains, it might be the once-endangered West Virginia northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus fuscus)... Read More

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Northern Riffleshell

They sit nearly as still as a stone, river water percolating around them—and through them. The northern riffleshell (Epioblasma torulosa rangiana) is... Read More

Featured Species in West Virginia

Northern riffleshell. 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. More »


Northern riffleshell.

Photo credit: USFWS

Partnership Stories in West Virginia

Research To Help Bats. Photo credit: Craig Stihler, WVDNR

Research To Help Bats

Several West Virginia caves are important to bats, including two federally endangered species, the Indiana bat and the Virginia big-eared bat. West Virginia has more Virginia big-eared bats than any other state (about half the global population) including the largest known maternity colony and the largest hibernating concentration in the world.
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Found in West Virginia

  • The Virginia big-eared bat. Photo credit: Craig Stihler, USFWS

    The Virginia big-eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii virginianus) only occurs in a few caves in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, and North Carolina. The greatest number of bats is found in West Virginia. White-nose syndrome currently threatens their survival, although vandalism, habitat loss and human disturbance, especially during their hibernation period, are also of major concern.

    Photo credit: Craig Stihler, USFWS

  • Shale barren rock cress. Photo credit: Paul J. Harmon

    The shale barren rock cress only (Arabis serotina) occurs in West Virginia and Virginia on mid-Appalachian shale barrens of the Ridge and Valley Province of the Appalachian Mountains. Found only in shale barrens – a type of rocky habitat in higher elevations that can be dry and hot, with little vegetation – this plant is highly habitat restricted and the number of individuals per population is low, most with fewer than 20 individuals. Threats to this species include destruction of habitat by road construction or other human activities, herbivory by deer and insects especially during dry conditions.

    Photo credit: Paul J. Harmon

See other species listed in West Virginia
Last updated: October 26, 2016