Nebraska is home to 95 different species of mammals, 452 species of birds, 60 reptiles & amphibians species, 109 species of fish, 1,470 plant species, and over 10,000 species of insects. We have an amazing biodiversity. The term “biodiversity” means “variety of life” – and Nebraska definitely has that!
Why do we have such a high biodiversity or abundance of different species? Well, Nebraska is in the center of the country. So, we have some eastern species, like the Southern Flying Squirrel (mammal) or the Kentucky Warbler (bird). We have some western species, like the Mountain Short-horned Lizard (reptile) or the Ponderosa Pine (plant). We also have some species from northern areas, like the Longnose Dace (fish) or the Northern Leopard Frog (amphibian). And, we have others from the south, like the Black-tailed Jackrabbit (mammals) or the Carolina Mantid (insect). All these different areas or ecosystems – east, west, north and south – come together in Nebraska. And, with all these different ecosystems, come lots of different animals.
Unfortunately, 27 of these species have been listed as threatened or endangered.
According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the term “threatened” refers to:
“any species which is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.”
The term “endangered” refers to:
“any species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.”
A species can be federally listed as threatened or endangered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The process of listing a species as threatened or endangered is lengthy and takes into consideration scientific research, range maps, and public input.
A species can also be listed by a state. In this case, the species is not considered to be threatened or endangered on a national level, but on a state level. The process of listing a species on a state list also uses scientific research, range maps, and public input.
To download a complete list of Nebraska’s Threatened & Endangered Species, click here.
In addition to threatened and endangered species, there are also at-risk species. These designations are developed at the state, not federal, level. In Nebraska, we have Tier I At-risk Species and Tier II At-risk species.
Tier I At-risk Species are defined as:
“those species that are globally or nationally at-risk of extinction or extirpation from Nebraska.”
Nebraska has 89 Tier I At-risk species (this includes Nebraska’s 27 threatened & endangered species).
Tier II At-risk Species are defined as:
“those species that are at-risk within Nebraska, but doing well in other parts of their range.”
Nebraska has 680 Tier II At-risk species.
One of the most important things people can do to help Nebraska’s threatened, endangered, and at-risk species is to learn about them. This site is designed specifically for that… explore the site and learn about the species in your area.