First Invertebrate Species Listed As Endangered

Federal protection of endangered species dates back to the Lacey Act of 1900, when Congress passed the first wildlife law in response to growing public concern over the decline of the passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius). The Lacey Act prohibited interstate commerce of animals killed illegally and required the secretary of agriculture to preserve, introduce, distribute, and restore wild bird and game bird.

As public awareness of environmental problems initiated political activism in the 1960s, the Department of Interior formed a Committee on Rare and Endangered Wildlife Species to identify species in immediate danger of extinction. The Redbook on Rare and Endangered Fish and Wildlife of the United States, published in 1964, served as the first official document listing species the federal government considered to be in danger of extinction.

Two years after the Redbook list was published, Congress passed the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966—the first piece of comprehensive endangered species legislation. The goal, as stated in the 1966 Act, was to "conserve, protect, restore, and propagate certain species of native fish and wildlife." It was under the 1966 Endangered Species Preservation Act that the first list of threatened and endangered species was complied. This list included only vertebrate species. Below is a list of the first invertebrate species to gain federal protection in 1976, under the Endangered Species Act of 1973:


  • Alabama lampmussel - (Lampsilis virescens)
  • Appalachian monkeyface - (Quadrula sparsa)
  • birdwing pearlymussel - (Lemiox rimosus)
  • Cumberland bean - (Villosa trabalis)
  • Cumberland monkeyface - (Quadrula intermedia)
  • Curtis' pearlymussel - (Epioblasma florentina curtisi)
  • dromedary pearlymussel - (Dromus dromas)
  • fat pocketbook - (Potamilus capax)
  • finerayed pigtoe - (Fusconaia cuneolus)
  • green blossom - (Epioblasma torulosa gubernaculum)
  • Higgins eye pearlymussel - (Lampsilis higginsii)
  • orange foot pimpleback - (Plethobasus cooperianus)
  • pale lilliput - (Toxolasma cylindrellus)
  • pink mucket pearlymussel - (Lampsilis abrupta)
  • rough pigtoe - (Pleurobema plenum)
  • shiny pigtoe - (Fusconaia cor)
  • tubercled blossom pearlymussel - (Epioblasma torulosa torulosa)
  • turgid blossom - (Epioblasma turgidula)
  • white cat's paw pearlymussel - (Epioblasma obliquata perobliqua)
  • white wartyback pearlymussel - (Plethobasus cicatricosus)
  • yellow blossom - (Epioblasma florentina florentina)


  • El Segundo blue butterfly -(Euphilotes battoides allyni)
  • Lange's metalmark butterfly - (Apodemia mormo langei)
  • lotis blue butterfly - (Lycaeides argyrognomon lotis)
  • mission blue butterfly - (Icaricia icarioides missionensis)
  • San Bruno elfin butterfly - (Callophrys mossii bayensis)
  • Schaus swallowtail butterfly - (Heraclides aristodemus ponceanus)
  • Smith's blue butterfly - (Euphilotes enoptes smithi)

View the first list of threatened and endangered (vertebrate) species.