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A brownish-yellow salamander sanding on a mossy rock with large round eyes.
Information icon The Pigeon Mountain salamander is no longer at-risk of needing federal protection. Photo by John P. Clare, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Additional information on petitioned turtles, salamanders, snakes, a skink and a crayfish found in the Southeast

Any plant or animal that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been petitioned to list and protect under the Endangered Species Act is considered “at-risk.”

When we are petitioned to provide federal protection to a species, our biologists review the information presented by the petitioner as well as the information in our files prior to the date of the petition to determine whether a closer look at the species’ status is advisable.

The following species occur in the southeastern states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. All except the wingtail crayfish were included in a 2012 petition from the Center for Biological Diversity to list 53 reptiles and amphibians.

We have summarized the petitioner’s claims as well as our findings below. More detail is available by clicking the link to the Federal Register docket number for each species.

Not substantial findings

Five petitioned species found in the Southeast will not be given further consideration for federal protection at this time.

Blue Ridge gray-cheeked salamander

Federal Register docket: FWS–R4–ES–2015–0042

A salamander standing on a mossy rock.
Blue Ridge grey-cheeked salamander. Photo by John Clare, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Known occurrences: North Carolina

The Center claims that the salamander warrants listing due to:

  • Habitat destruction due to clear-cutting
  • Overutilization for commercial purposes
  • Inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms
  • Natural or man-made factors including random events, human impacts, environmental factors, loss of genetic variability, inbreeding depression

Based on our review of the petition and sources cited in the petition, the Fish and Wildlife Service finds that the petition does not provide substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action, to list the species, may be warranted.

Caddo Mountain salamander

Federal Register docket: FWS–R4–ES–2015–0043

A speckled salamander walking across a moss and fungi.
Blue Ridge grey-cheeked salamander. Photo by Aposematic herpetologist, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Known occurrences: Arkansas

The Center claims that the salamander warrants listing due to:

  • Habitat loss/destruction/modification from timber management, forestry activities, and mining
  • Scientific over-collection
  • Disease (chigger infestation of the nasal cavities)
  • Inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms
  • Natural or man-made factors including climate change

Based on our review of the petition and sources cited in the petition, the Fish and Wildlife Service finds that the petition does not provide substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action, to list the species, may be warranted.

Pigeon Mountain salamander

Federal Register docket: FWS–R4–ES–2015–0058

A brown salamander standing on a rock.
Blue Ridge grey-cheeked salamander. Photo by John Clare, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Known occurrences: Georgia

The Center claims that the salamander warrants listing due to:

  • Threats of habitat loss/destruction/modification from timber harvest
  • Over-collection of the salamander by amateur and professional herpetologists
  • Protection by the State of Georgia does not protect its habitat
  • Small and isolated populations that may be affected by natural and man-made factors including random events, gene flow, loss of genetic variation, and disturbance from recreational spelunkers

Based on our review of the petition and sources cited in the petition, the Fish and Wildlife Service finds that the petition does not provide substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action, to list the species, may be warranted.

Additional information on this species is available in this fact sheet by our state partners, Georgia Wildlife Resources Division.

Weller’s salamander

Federal Register docket: FWS–R4–ES–2015–0065

A dark salamander with gold splotches standing on a leaf.
Blue Ridge grey-cheeked salamander. Photo by Todd Pierson, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Known occurrences: North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia

The Center claims that the salamander warrants listing due to:

  • Loss of habitat due to development and logging
  • Inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms
  • Natural or man-made factors including climate change and small, isolated populations vulnerable to random events, gene flow and loss of genetic variation

Based on our review of the petition and sources cited in the petition, the Fish and Wildlife Service finds that the petition does not provide substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action, to list the species, may be warranted.

Wingtail crayfish

*This species was petitioned for federal protection in a separate petition by the Center for Biological Diversity but has been included in this batch of 90-day findings.

Federal Register docket: FWS–R4–ES–2015–0067

A semi-transparent crayfish with black and brown spots.
Blue Ridge grey-cheeked salamander. Wingtail crayfish, Procambarus latipleurum. Photo by Edwin Keppner.

Known occurrences: Gulf County, Florida

The Center claims that the crayfish warrants listing due to:

  • Threats of habitat loss/destruction/modification from development, altered hydropatterns, roadside ditch maintenance, construction and improvement of roads, human population growth, groundwater decline, water pollution and forestry
  • Disease
  • Predation
  • Inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms
  • Natural or man-made factors including vulnerability to extinction due to a narrow geographic range, drought, flooding, climate change and sea level rise, off-road vehicles, misidentification

Based on our review of the petition and sources cited in the petition, the Fish and Wildlife Service finds that the petition does not provide substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action, to list the species, may be warranted.

Substantial findings

A more thorough scientific review known as a 12-month finding has been triggered for the following species. The Fish and Wildlife Service will seek to collect additional scientific and commercial data to determine whether these species may require federal protection.

To submit your information, please contact Andreas Moshogianis.

Alligator snapping turtle

Federal Register docket: FWS–R4–ES–2015–0038

A turtle with a very sharp beak.
The alligator snapping turtle was petitioned for protection. Photo by Garry Tucker, USFWS.

Known occurrences: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas

The Fish and Wildlife Service finds that the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating the petitioned action may be warranted. The petitioner presented substantial information on the following factors:

  • Present or threatened destruction, modification or curtailment of its habitat or range
  • Overutilization for commercial and recreational purposes
  • Predation
  • Inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms

However, during our status review we will thoroughly evaluate all potential threats to the species.

Apalachicola kingsnake

Federal Register docket: FWS–R4–ES–2015–0039

Known occurrences: Florida

The Fish and Wildlife Service finds that the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating the petitioned action may be warranted. The petitioner presented substantial information on the following factors:

  • Present or threatened destruction, modification or curtailment of its habitat or range

However, during our status review we will thoroughly evaluate all potential threats to the species.

Cedar Key mole skink

Federal Register docket: FWS–R4–ES–2015–0047

Known occurrences: Florida

The Fish and Wildlife Service finds that the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating the petitioned action may be warranted. The petitioner presented substantial information on the following factors:

  • Present or threatened destruction, modification or curtailment of its habitat or range
  • Overutilization for commercial purposes
  • Other natural or man-made factors affecting its continued existence

However, during our status review we will thoroughly evaluate all potential threats to the species.

Gopher frog

Federal Register docket: FWS–R4–ES–2015–0051

A frog with dark brown splotches standing on sandy soil.
Gopher frog by Kevin Enge, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Known occurrences: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee

The Fish and Wildlife Service finds that the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating the petitioned action may be warranted. The petitioner presented substantial information on the following factors:

  • Present or threatened destruction, modification or curtailment of its habitat or range
  • Predation
  • Inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms
  • Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence

However, during our status review we will thoroughly evaluate all potential threats to the species.

Green salamander

Federal Register docket: FWS–R4–ES–2015–0052

A dary gray salamander with bright green splotches standing on a mossy rock.
Green salamander by Aposematic herpetologist, CC-BY-NC 2.0

Known occurrences: Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia

The Fish and Wildlife Service finds that the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating the petitioned action may be warranted. The petitioner presented substantial information on the following factors:

  • Present or threatened destruction, modification or curtailment of its habitat or range
  • Private collections
  • Disease
  • Inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms

Additional information on this species is available in this fact sheet by our state partners, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

Illinois chorus frog

Federal Register docket: FWS–R3–ES–2015–0053

A brown frog half submerged in a shallow pool.
Green salamander by Squamatologist, CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

Known occurrences: Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri

The Fish and Wildlife Service finds that the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating the petitioned action may be warranted. The petitioner presented substantial information on the following factors:

  • Present or threatened destruction, modification or curtailment of its habitat or range
  • Other natural man-made factors affecting its continued existence

However, during our status review we will thoroughly evaluate all potential threats to the species.

Key ring-necked snake

Federal Register docket: FWS–R4–ES–2015–0055

A dark gray snake with a orange/yellow belly.
Key ring-necked snake by Kevin Enge, FWC.

Known occurrences: Florida

The Fish and Wildlife Service finds that the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating the petitioned action may be warranted. The petitioner presented substantial information on the following factors:

  • Present or threatened destruction, modification or curtailment of its habitat or range
  • Other natural or man-made factors affecting its continued existence

However, during our status review we will thoroughly evaluate all potential threats to the species.

Rim Rock crowned snake

Federal Register docket: FWS–R4–ES–2015–0060

A brownish red snake with a white belly.
Rim Rock crowned snake by FWC.

Known occurrences: Florida

The Fish and Wildlife Service finds that the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating the petitioned action may be warranted. The petitioner presented substantial information on the following factors:

  • Present or threatened destruction, modification or curtailment of its habitat or range
  • Other natural or man-made factors affecting its continued existence

However, during our status review we will thoroughly evaluate all potential threats to the species.

Southern hog-nosed snake

Federal Register docket: FWS–R4–ES–2015–0063

A snake moving across sandy soil with a bulge in it's mid section.
Southern hog-nosed snake by Pondhawk, CC BY 2.0.

Known occurrences: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina

The Fish and Wildlife Service finds that the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating the petitioned action may be warranted. The petitioner presented substantial information on the following factors:

  • Present or threatened destruction, modification or curtailment of its habitat or range
  • Other natural or man-made factors affecting its continued existence

However, during our status review we will thoroughly evaluate all potential threats to the species.

Spotted turtle

Federal Register docket: FWS–R5–ES–2015–0064

A black turtle with bright yellow spots.
Southern hog-nosed snake by Todd Pierson, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Known occurrences: Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia, Vermont, Washington DC, West Virginia

The Fish and Wildlife Service finds that the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating the petitioned action may be warranted. The petitioner presented substantial information on the following factors:

  • Present or threatened destruction, modification or curtailment of its habitat or range
  • Overutilization for commercial purposes
  • Inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms
  • Other natural or man-made factors affecting its continued existence

However, during our status review we will thoroughly evaluate all potential threats to the species.

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