Amendments involving 18 species under the Species at Risk Act

Backgrounder

Eighteen species were recently added or reclassified under Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act because of threats to their recovery and survival, including

  • habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation;
  • changes to land use and human activity;
  • climate change (variability, unpredictability, severe storms); and
  • invasive species.

These species are found primarily in Western Canada, with some ranging as far east as Quebec and as far north as Nunavut.

Baird’s Sparrow (Ammodramus bairdii)     Status: special concern

Baird’s Sparrow is a secretive prairie songbird with “moustache” marks on its yellowish-ochre face, a necklace of thin streaks across its breast and a song that usually ends in a musical trill. Canada supports about 60% of the breeding population of this prairie songbird.

Batwing Vinyl Lichen (Leptogium platynum)     Status: endangered

The Batwing Vinyl Lichen is a distinctive rock-dwelling “jellyskin” lichen that is bluish-grey or sometimes brown, shiny, and hairless. It has reproductive traits not found in other lichens of this type and makes a unique contribution to the nitrogen balance in the ecosystem nutrient cycle.

Behr’s Hairstreak (Satyrium behrii)     Status: endangered (reassessed)

Behr’s Hairstreak is a small butterfly with a wide black margin on its wings surrounding a rich, yellowish-orange-brown patch. Its larval host plant is the Antelope-brush, which has special significance in Canada as a symbol used by conservation organizations working to protect plant communities and grasslands in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley.

Buffalograss (Bouteloua dactyloides)     Status: special concern (reassessed)

Buffalograss is a low-growing, curly-leaved perennial grass that forms dense clonal mats in limited areas of remnant short-grass prairie in southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Environments with little competition from taller, more competitive grasses and herbs are ideal for this species. Grazing and moderate trampling may help maintain suitable Buffalograss habitat.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper (tryngites subruficollis)     Status: special concern

The Buff-breasted Sandpiper is a medium-sized shorebird that breeds in the Arctic. It has a buff-coloured face and underparts with dark speckling on its wings and back. It is the only North American shorebird with a lek mating system, in which males congregate to display to females during courtship. Canada contains 87% of the Buff-breasted Sandpiper’s North American breeding range.

Collared Pika (Ochotona collaris)     Status: special concern

The Collared Pika is a small mammal belonging to the same order as rabbits. It is one of two pika species found in North America. Both males and females are dull grey with pale grey patches on their necks. Collared Pika habitat is limited to alpine boulder fields (talus) interspersed with meadows. The Canadian distribution of this species comprises more than half of its global range.

Crumpled Tarpaper Lichen (Collema coniophilum)     Status: threatened

Crumpled Tarpaper Lichen is a distinctive, leafy lichen with several broad, rounded lobes. It is endemic to Canada and draws attention to the complex ecological effects of timber harvesting on old-growth forests. It could therefore be useful as an ecological indicator of stable, low-disturbance natural conditions.

Dune Tachinid Fly (Germaria angustata)     Status: special concern

The Dune Tachinid Fly is a black, bristly, medium-sized fly with distinctive elbowed antennae. This fly is a parasitic species dependent on a host moth species. It is biologically significant because it is a part of a group of invertebrates which are restricted to active dunes in the southern Yukon, a rare and threatened ecosystem.

Hairy Prairie-clover (Dalea villosa)     Status: special concern (reassessed)

Hairy Prairie-clover is a member of the pea family. It is a perennial with a woody taproot and stem base. This plant is a nitrogen-fixing legume. It is found only in sand or sand-dune complexes in Saskatchewan and Manitoba and is well adapted to dry environments.

Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus) Western population     Status: special concern

The Horned Grebe is a relatively small water bird with bright buff feathers behind the eye when in breeding plumage, extending into tufts that contrast with its black head. This bird is a useful indicator of changes in wetland habitat and performs spectacular courtship displays. Within North America, 92% of the Horned Grebe’s breeding range is in Canada.

Lyall’s Mariposa Lily (Calochortus lyallii)     Status: special concern (reassessed)

Lyall’s Mariposa Lily is a long-lived perennial with purplish, bell-shaped flowers that have fringed, lance-shaped petals and sepals. The species undergoes dormancy episodes that can exceed three years and is a favourite of naturalists, botanists and photographers.

Magnum Mantleslug (Magnipelta mycophaga)     Status: special concern

The Magnum Mantleslug is a large slug whose most distinct feature is a large mantle covering most of its back, with an irregular dark stripe on each side. This slug lives in cool, humid, and shady mountain habitats below the treeline and is vulnerable to small changes in its habitat. This species is the only member of the Arionidae family in western North America and is of evolutionary interest to science.

Okanagan Efferia (Efferia okanagana)     Status: endangered

The Okanagan Efferia is a large, bristly brown fly belonging to the family Asilidae (robber flies). Males and females have striking orange-golden bristles behind their eyes. This fly is significant because it is one of the more obvious large invertebrate representatives of its ecosystem in Canada, and much of that habitat is threatened.

Olive Clubtail (Stylurus olivaceus)     Status: endangered

The Olive Clubtail is a dragonfly that has a grey-green thorax with broad, brown shoulder stripes and a black abdomen bearing a yellow mark on the top and sides of each segment. Few dragonflies in British Columbia develop in streams, and this species may be a good indicator of stream ecosystem health for warm, mesotrophic lowland rivers in the province.

Peacock Vinyl Lichen (Leptogium polycarpum)     Status: special concern

The Peacock Vinyl Lichen is a loosely attached “jellyskin” lichen that is translucent when wet. Its surface is pale to dark grey or brown, shiny, hairless, and scarcely wrinkled when dry. Because of its specific reproductive traits, this species makes a unique contribution to the nitrogen balance in the ecosystem nutrient cycle and may benefit other organisms in the immediate vicinity.

Tiny Cryptantha (Cryptantha minima)     Status: threatened (reassessed)

Tiny Cryptantha is a small, bristly-haired annual whose flowers are white with yellow centres. Periodic soil disturbance by wind, water, erosion or animals opens up the canopy, providing spaces for this species. In Canada this plant is found in a small area of grassland habitat in southeastern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan.

Western Screech-owl kennicottii subspecies (Megascops kennicottii kennicottii)     Status: threatened (reassessed)

The kennicottii subspecies of Western Screech-owl is considered an indicator species for a healthy riparian woodland environment. In Canada, this small owl’s range is coastal British Columbia. The population has shown serious declines in the southern part of its range.

Western Screech-owl Macfarlanei subspecies (Megascops kennicottii macfarlanei)     Status: threatened (reassessed)

In Canada, the macfarlanei subspecies of Western Screech-owl is found in the valleys of the southern interior of British Columbia. The population is stable but faces ongoing threats, especially from the loss of mature trees for nesting and roosting.


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