Wild Species 2015: animal kingdom

Animal Kingdom

Sponges

Photo of a Glove Horny Sponge
Photo: Glove Horny Sponge ( Amphilectus digitatus) © John Rix

Sponges refer to the phylum Porifera. Sponges are simple, multicellular animals that vary in colour, shape and size and live attached to substrate such as the ocean floor. Most are marine species which live in Canada’s three oceans, from intertidal zones to depths of 8 km. They play significant ecological roles, including filter-feeding bacteria, excreting nitrogen, and forming large colonies which provide important habitat for other animals. However, a few species of sponges also live in fresh waters. They are generally inconspicuous and green-coloured due to their symbiotic relationship with algae. Knowledge of sponges is very limited, but interest in the ecology and conservation of marine species is increasing. For example, the National Centre of Expertise in Cold-Water Corals and Sponge Reefs was established in Newfoundland in 2008. Scientific surveys and collections have begun, but many knowledge gaps remain regarding their distribution, reproduction, and resilience. Sponges are vulnerable to physical disturbance, particularly from bottom trawling, and a marine protected area for glass sponge reefs near Haida Gwaii is being established. Other threats include climate change impacts, ocean acidification, invasive species, and contamination.

There are 212 known species of sponges in Canada (Figure 8). Some species are apparently secure or secure (14%). There are no species known as may be at risk at the national level. There are no exotic species known at the national level. We do not have enough knowledge on 179 species to give them a rank other than NU or NNR. No species of sponges are considered migratory.

Figure 8. General status of sponges in Canada in 2015.
Bar graph (see long description below)
Long description for figure 8

Figure 8 shows the general status of sponges in Canada in 2015. The bar graph shows the number of sponge species ranked presumed extirpated, possibly extirpated, critically imperiled, imperiled, vulnerable, apparently secure, secure, unrankable, unranked and not applicable in Canada, each province and territory and the 4 oceanic regions. Of the 212 species occurring in Canada, 3 were ranked as Vulnerable, 30 as Secure, 177 as Unrankable, and 2 as Unranked. Only 1 species occurred in Yukon and was ranked Unrankable. Only 1 species occurred in Northwest Territories and was ranked Unrankable. No species occurred in Nunavut. All 3 species occurring in British Columbia were ranked as Unrankable. All 4 species occurring in Alberta were ranked as Unrankable. No species occurred in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Of the 6 species occurring in Ontario, 1 was ranked as Secure and 5 as Unrankable. All 13 species occurring in Quebec were ranked as Unranked. All 8 species occurring in New Brunswick were ranked as Unrankable. All 12 species occurring in Nova Scotia were ranked as Unrankable. Of the 120 species occurring in the Pacific Ocean region, 3 were ranked as Vulnerable and 117 as Unrankable. All 7 species occurring in the Western Arctic Ocean region were ranked as Unrankable. All 36 species occurring in the Eastern Arctic Ocean region were ranked as Unrankable. Of the 63 species occurring in the Atlantic Ocean region, 29 were ranked as Secure and 34 as Unrankable.

Corals

Photo of a pink coral, Tree Bubblegum Coral
Photo: Tree Bubblegum Coral ( Paragorgia arborea) © Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Corals refer to the class Anthozoa. Corals are sedentary, multicellular animals that live on the ocean floor and form calcium carbonate skeletons. They generally refer to a group of polyps. However, polyps can be solitary or colonial. Their tentacles capture passing food, and unlike tropical corals, cold-water species have no symbiotic algae that require sunlight. They inhabit all Canada’s oceans and range from intertidal zones to deep water. Corals can reproduce sexually or asexually, and some develop annual “growth rings” which provide insight into past ocean conditions. Coral reefs are one of the most complex deep-ocean habitats for animals to rest, feed, spawn, and avoid predators. They are correlated with fish abundance and diversity, and their conservation is increasingly recognized as a national and international priority. While recent research has increased our knowledge of coral distribution and biology, many areas remain un-surveyed, and information is lacking on their physiology, life-history, reproduction, and resilience. Threats to corals include mechanical damage (particularly from bottom fishing gear), siltation, ocean acidification, and climate change impacts.

There are 190 known species of corals in Canada (Figure 9). Some species are apparently secure or secure (10%). There are no species known as may be at risk at the national level. There are no exotic species known at the national level. We do not have enough knowledge on 133 species to give them a rank other than NU or NNR. No species of corals are considered migratory.

Figure 9. General status of corals in Canada in 2015.
Bar graph (see long description below)
Long description for figure 9

Figure 9 shows the general status of corals in Canada in 2015. The bar graph shows the number of coral species ranked presumed extirpated, possibly extirpated, critically imperiled, imperiled, vulnerable, apparently secure, secure, unrankable, unranked and not applicable in Canada, each province and territory and the 4 oceanic regions. Of the 190 species occurring in Canada, 38 were ranked as Vulnerable, 5 as Apparently Secure, 14 as Secure, 132 as Unrankable, and 1 as Unranked. Of the 54 species occurring in the Pacific region, 38 were ranked as Vulnerable and 16 as Unrankable. All 10 species occurring in the Western Arctic Ocean region were ranked as Unrankable. Of the 65 species occurring in the Eastern Arctic Ocean region, 2 were ranked as Apparently Secure, 4 as Secure, and 59 as Unrankable. Of the 105 species occurring in the Atlantic Ocean region, 6 were ranked as Vulnerable, 4 as Apparently Secure, 14 as Secure, 80 as Unrankable, and 1 as Unranked.

Freshwater bivalves

Photo showing both shell halves of a Kidneyshell mussel resting on the ground
Photo: Ptychobranchus fasciolaris © Todd Morris

Freshwater bivalves refer to the class Bivalvia (freshwater species only). They include species such as mussels and clams, and are soft-bodied animals that live in a hinged shell. Mussels are often fixed to hard substrate (though they can move slowly), while most clams burrow into sediment. All inhabit the bottoms of waterbodies, reaching their greatest diversity in the lower Great Lakes region. Most mussel larvae parasitize fishes, and some lure their potential hosts by resembling small prey. Adults feed by filtering bacteria and algae through their gills, thereby improving water clarity and quality. Being long-lived and mostly sessile filter feeders, they are good indicators of environmental health. Bivalve studies have been limited in Canada, though recent population declines have motivated new surveys, increasing our knowledge of their distribution, abundance, and habitat refuges. Research has focused on the impacts of exotic species like the Zebra Mussel (Dreissena polymorpha), which has altered aquatic ecosystems and dramatically reduced native bivalve populations by attaching to their shells, interfering with feeding, growth and reproduction. Other threats to bivalves (and to their host fish) include habitat destruction and alteration, siltation, and agricultural runoff.

There are 93 known species of freshwater bivalves in Canada (Figure 10). The majority of these species are apparently secure or secure (54%). There is one species that is presumed extirpated, one species that is possibly extirpated, 13 species that are critically imperiled, and nine species that are imperiled. Of these 24 species, 18 have only a small part of their range in Canada (10% or less) and six are intermediary (from 11% to 74%). In total, four species have a high priority score (between 1 and 5). We also identified seven species that are exotic at the national level. We do not have enough knowledge on one species to give it a rank other than NU or NNR. No species of freshwater bivalves are considered migratory.

The freshwater mussels were assessed in the Wild Species 2010 report. Since then, 14 species had a change in their status at the national level. A total of four species had an increased level of risk, seven species had a reduced level of risk, and three species were changed from or to ranks U, NR, NA. Most of the changes (57%) are due to a procedural change.

Figure 10. General status of freshwater bivalves in Canada in 2015.
Bar graph (see long description below)
Long description for figure 10

Figure 10 shows the general status of freshwater bivalves in Canada in 2015. The bar graph shows the number of freshwater bivalve species ranked presumed extirpated, possibly extirpated, critically imperiled, imperiled, vulnerable, apparently secure, secure, unrankable, unranked and not applicable in Canada, each province and territory and the 4 oceanic regions. Of the 93 species occurring in Canada, 1 was ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 1 as Possibly Extirpated, 13 as Critically Imperiled, 9 as Imperiled, 11 as Vulnerable, 15 as Apparently Secure, 35 as Secure, 1 as Unranked, and 7 as Not Applicable. Of the 19 species occurring in Yukon, 1 was ranked as Imperiled, 2 as Vulnerable, 2 as Apparently Secure, 1 as Secure, 9 as Unrankable, and 4 as Not Applicable. Of the 22 species occurring in Northwest Territories, 6 were ranked as Vulnerable, 7 as Apparently Secure, 1 as Secure, and 8 as Unrankable. Of the 14 species occurring in Nunavut, 6 were ranked as Imperiled, 2 as Vulnerable, 4 as Apparently Secure, and 2 as Secure. Of the 32 species occurring in British Columbia, 1 was ranked as Possibly Extirpated, 2 as Imperiled, 2 as Vulnerable, 8 as Apparently Secure, 15 as Secure, 1 as Unrankable, 2 as Unranked, and 1 as Not Applicable. Of the 28 species occurring in Alberta, 1 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 5 as Imperiled, 10 as Vulnerable, 9 as Apparently Secure, 1 as Secure, and 2 as Unrankable. Of the 30 species occurring in Saskatchewan, 7 were ranked as Imperiled, 12 as Vulnerable, 8 as Apparently Secure, and 3 as Secure. Of the 40 species occurring in Manitoba, 2 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 7 as Imperiled, 10 as Vulnerable, 13 as Apparently Secure, 4 as Secure, 2 as Unranked, and 2 as Not Applicable. Of the 79 species occurring in Ontario, 14 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 7 as Imperiled, 14 as Vulnerable, 16 as Apparently Secure, 20 as Secure, 1 as Unrankable, and 7 as Not Applicable. Of the 50 species occurring in Quebec, 3 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 6 as Imperiled, 14 as Vulnerable, 16 as Apparently Secure, 7 as Secure, and 4 as Not Applicable. Of the 28 species occurring in New Brunswick, 1 species was ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 2 as Imperiled, 2 as Vulnerable, 1 as Apparently Secure, 5 as Secure, and 17 as Unrankable. Of the 22 species occurring in Nova Scotia, 4 were Critically Imperiled, 2 Imperiled, 1 as Vulnerable, 1 as Apparently Secure, 3 as Secure, and 11 as Unrankable. Of the 15 species occurring in Prince Edward Island, 1 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 1 as Apparently Secure, and 13 as Unrankable. Of the 12 species occurring in Labrador, 1 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 1 as Imperiled, and 10 as Unrankable. Of the 19 species occurring in Newfoundland, 5 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 2 as Imperiled, 6 as Vulnerable, 3 as Apparently Secure, 1 as Secure, and 2 as Unrankable. There were no species listed as occurring in the oceanic regions.

Terrestrial and freshwater snails and slugs

Photo showing a snail
Photo: Allogona townsendiana © Kristiina Ovaska

Terrestrial and freshwater snails and slugs refer to the class Gastropoda (terrestrial and freshwater species only). They have a well-developed head, tentacles, a muscular foot for locomotion, and most have a shell to protect against predation and desiccation. Shells are reduced, internalized or absent in the slugs. Gastropods are generally scavengers and herbivores, and feed with their raspy, toothed tongue. Terrestrial species require moisture, and are often found in leaves or under logs and rocks. Many species are hermaphrodites, having both male and female sexual organs, though cross-fertilization is usually required for reproduction. Some species have very specific habitats, such as the endangered Banff Springs Snail (Physella johnsoni), whose world population is restricted to a micro-habitat in Banff National Park. Most species are poorly known in Canada, likely due to their small size, taxonomic difficulties and absence of accessible reference books. Threats include habitat destruction or degradation, invasive species, climate change and (for freshwater species) aquatic pollution.

There are 326 known species of terrestrial and freshwater snails and slugs in Canada (Figure 11). Many species are apparently secure or secure (35%). There is one species that is presumed extirpated, four species that are possibly extirpated, 15 species that are critically imperiled, and 25 species that are imperiled. Of these 45 species, 27 have only a small part of their range in Canada (10% or less) and 11 are intermediary (from 11% to 74%). However, seven species have 75% or more of their range in Canada. Among those, six species are thought to be endemic to Canada: Oreohelix stantoni, Physella johnsoni, Physella wrighti, Planorbella columbiensis, Staala gwaii, Vallonia terraenovae. In total, nine species have a high priority score (between 1 and 5). We also identified 45 species that are exotic at the national level. We do not have enough knowledge on 95 species to give them a rank other than NU or NNR. No species of terrestrial and freshwater snails and slugs are considered migratory.

Figure 11. General status of terrestrial and freshwater snails and slugs in Canada in 2015.
Bar graph (see long description below)
Long description for figure 11

Figure 11 shows the general status of non-marine snails and slugs in Canada in 2015. The bar graph shows the number of non-marine snail and slug species ranked presumed extirpated, possibly extirpated, critically imperiled, imperiled, vulnerable, apparently secure, secure, unrankable, unranked and not applicable in Canada, each province and territory and the 4 oceanic regions. Of the 326 species occurring in Canada, 1 was ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 4 as Possibly Extirpated, 15 as Critically Imperiled, 25 as Imperiled, 24 as Vulnerable, 52 as Apparently Secure, 63 as Secure, 89 as Unrankable, 6 as Unranked, and 47 as Not Applicable. Of the 69 species occurring in Yukon, 5 were ranked as Vulnerable, 8 as Apparently Secure, 4 as Secure, 34 as Unrankable, and 18 as Not Applicable. Of the 61 species occurring in Northwest Territories, 3 were ranked as Vulnerable, 10 as Apparently Secure, 1 as Secure, 46 as Unrankable, and 1 as Not Applicable. Of the 29 species occurring in Nunavut, 1 was ranked as Imperiled, 1 as Secure, and 27 as Unrankable. Of the 158 species occurring in British Columbia, 1 was ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 5 as Possibly Extirpated, 7 as Critically Imperiled, 11 as Imperiled, 21 as Vulnerable, 22 as Apparently Secure, 44 as Secure, 8 as Unrankable, 6 as Unranked, and 33 as Not Applicable. Of the 85 species occurring in Alberta, 2 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 2 as Imperiled, 10 as Vulnerable, 18 as Secure, 37 as Unrankable, and 4 as Not Applicable. Of the 64 species occurring in Saskatchewan, 1 was ranked as Imperiled, 5 as Vulnerable, 4 as Apparently Secure, 3 as Secure, 49 as Unrankable, and 2 as Not Applicable. Of the 124 species occurring in Manitoba, 7 were ranked as Imperiled, 19 as Vulnerable, 26 as Apparently Secure, 13 as Secure, 35 as Unrankable, 3 as Unranked, and 21 as Not Applicable. Of the 220 species occurring in Ontario, 1 was ranked as Possibly Extirpated, 11 as Critically Imperiled, 18 as Imperiled, 25 as Vulnerable, 43 as Apparently Secure, 18 as Secure, 70 as Unrankable, and 34 as Not Applicable. Of the 162 species occurring in Quebec, 2 were ranked as Unrankable, 136 as Unranked, and 24 as Not Applicable. Of the 93 species occurring in New Brunswick, 6 were ranked as Vulnerable, 12 as Apparently Secure, 17 as Secure, 42 as Unrankable, and 16 as Not Applicable. Of the 99 species occurring in Nova Scotia, 2 were ranked as Secure, 77 as Unrankable, and 20 as Not Applicable. Of the 65 species occurring in Prince Edward Island, 1 was ranked as Apparently Secure, 1 as Secure, 53 as Unrankable, and 10 as Not Applicable. Of the 32 species occurring in Labrador, 1 was ranked as Apparently Secure, 7 as Secure, 21 as Unrankable, and 3 as Not Applicable. Of the 83 species occurring in Newfoundland, 5 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 7 as Imperiled, 12 as Vulnerable, 9 as Apparently Secure, 10 as Secure, 21 as Unrankable, and 19 as Not Applicable. There were no species listed as occurring in the oceanic regions.

Spiders

Photo of a Goldenrod Crab Spider
Photo: Goldenrod Crab Spider ( Misumena vatia) © Joanne Bovee

Spiders refer to the order Araneae. Spiders are 8-legged, silk-producing predators with venom-filled fangs. They differ from insects by having two body segments rather than three, simple rather than compound eyes, and no antennae or wings. Unlike most arthropods, spiders do not have extensor muscles in their limbs and instead extend them using hydraulic pressure. Silk is used for building webs, weaving cocoons, subduing prey (and sometimes mates), or traveling. Some species catch prey in webs, while others are active hunters, or sit-and-wait predators that ambush passing victims. The fishing spiders will pursue prey across land, water, or even dive underwater to catch the occasional minnow or tadpole. Some female spiders care for their young by carrying, protecting, and sharing food with them. Many species disperse by “ballooning”: releasing a silk thread that catches the wind, and flying with it for a few metres or up to many kilometres. While all spiders are poisonous to some degree, very few are harmful to humans. Spiders are increasingly recognized for their ecological importance, notably their role in controlling insect pests. Despite having captured the fascination of researchers and the public, they are generally poorly known in Canada, with only a few well sampled habitats. Threats include habitat loss, climate change and pesticides.

There are 1399 known species of spiders in Canada (Figure 12). The majority of these species are apparently secure or secure (55%). There are seven species that are critically imperiled and 37 species that are imperiled. Of these 44 species, 26 have only a small part of their range in Canada (10% or less) and 14 are intermediary (from 11% to 74%). However, four species have 75% or more of their range in Canada. These four species are thought to be endemic to Canada: Angulated Sac Spider (Clubiona angulate), Glassy Double-coiled Money Spider (Disembolus hyalinus), Quebec Litterweaver (Mysmena quebecana), Black-headed Erudite Money Spider (Walckenaeria fusciceps). In total, four species have a high priority score (between 1 and 5). We also identified 71 species that are exotic at the national level. We do not have enough knowledge on 460 species to give them a rank other than NU or NNR. No species of spiders are considered migratory.

All the spiders were assessed in the Wild Species 2010 report. Since then, 235 species had a change in their status at the national level. A total of 19 species had an increased level of risk, 31 species had a reduced level of risk, and 112 species were changed from or to ranks U, NR, NA. Also, 46 species have been added to the list and 27 have been deleted from the list. Most of the changes (64%) are due to an improved knowledge of the species.

Figure 12. General status of spiders in Canada in 2015.
Bar graph (see long description below)
Long description for figure 12

Figure 12 shows the general status of spiders in Canada in 2015. The bar graph shows the number of spider species ranked presumed extirpated, possibly extirpated, critically imperiled, imperiled, vulnerable, apparently secure, secure, unrankable, unranked and not applicable in Canada, each province and territory and the 4 oceanic regions. Of the 1399 species occurring in Canada, 7 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 37 as Imperiled, 49 as Vulnerable, 310 as Apparently Secure, 465 as Secure, 458 as Unrankable, 2 as Unranked, and 71 as Not Applicable. Of the 357 species occurring in Yukon, 1 was ranked as imperiled, 126 as Apparently Secure, 19 as Secure, and 211 as Unrankable. Of the 321 species occurring in Northwest Territories, 9 were ranked as Vulnerable, 73 as Apparently Secure, and 239 as Unrankable. Of the 96 species occurring in Nunavut, 15 were ranked as Apparently Secure, 9 as Secure, and 72 as Unrankable. Of the 759 species occurring in British Columbia, 2 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 17 as Imperiled, 24 as Vulnerable, 193 as Apparently Secure, 158 as Secure, 316 as Unrankable, and 49 as Not Applicable. Of the 628 species occurring in Alberta, 4 were ranked as Imperiled, 5 as Vulnerable, 218 as Apparently Secure, 55 as Secure, 334 as Unrankable, and 12 as Not Applicable. Of the 490 species occurring in Saskatchewan, 2 were ranked as Imperiled, 3 as Vulnerable, 285 as Apparently Secure, 54 as Secure, 139 as Unrankable, and 7 as Not Applicable. Of the 605 species occurring in Manitoba, 13 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 3 as Imperiled, 3 as Vulnerable, 157 as Apparently Secure, 36 as Secure, 364 as Unrankable, 17 as Unranked, and 12 as Not Applicable. Of the 757 species occurring in Ontario, 18 were ranked as Imperiled, 22 as Vulnerable, 229 as Apparently Secure, 99 as Secure, 355 as Unrankable, and 34 as Not Applicable. Of the 666 species occurring in Quebec, 16 were ranked as Imperiled, 9 as Vulnerable, 315 as Apparently Secure, 47 as Secure, 229 as Unrankable, 14 as Unranked, and 36 as Not Applicable. Of the 390 species occurring in New Brunswick, 381 were ranked as Unrankable and 9 as Not Applicable. Of the 446 species occurring in Nova Scotia, 428 were ranked as Unrankable and 18 as Not Applicable. Of the 44 species occurring in Prince Edward Island, 41 were ranked as Unrankable and 3 as Not Applicable. Of the 217 species occurring in Labrador, 18 were ranked as Apparently Secure, 3 as Secure, 194 as Unrankable, and 2 as Not Applicable. Of the 363 species occurring in Newfoundland, 2 were ranked as Imperiled, 85 as Apparently Secure, 20 as Secure, 236 as Unrankable, and 20 as Not Applicable. There were no species listed as occurring in the oceanic regions.

Mayflies

Photo of a Common Flat-headed Mayfly on a leaf
Photo: Common Flat-headed Mayfly ( Stenacron interpunctatum) © Tom D. Schultz

Mayflies refer to the order Ephemeroptera. Mayflies are aquatic insects since the larvae live in water for many months. They feed on algae, bacteria or fungi in flowing water. Mayflies are unique in having a sub-adult winged life stage, a subimago, which emerges from the water and moults into a sexually mature adult soon after. Adults have shiny bodies with two or three tail-like filaments, and translucent, triangular wings. They are best known for their mating swarms, which can appear blizzard-like and have been large enough to be detected by radar. Adults do not eat, and in their brief life (rarely lasting more than a day or two) they must reproduce and disperse as quickly as possible. Their emergence from the water is highly synchronized and males form swarms at specific times and locations. They grab passing females with their specialized claspers, copulate in mid-air, and females lay their eggs on the water soon after. Eggs are sometimes able to self-fertilize in the absence of sperm in a process called parthenogenesis. Mayflies are an important component of aquatic food webs. Some species are sensitive to pollution and are indicators of ecosystem health. The taxonomy, biology and ecology of mayflies are relatively well-studied, though comprehensive Canadian surveys are lacking. Threats include habitat loss, damming, eutrophication, pollution, and climate change.

There are 342 known species of mayflies in Canada (Figure 13). Some species are apparently secure or secure (21%). There is one species that is critically imperiled and two species that are imperiled. Of these three species, one has only a small part of its range in Canada (10% or less) and another is intermediary (from 11% to 74%). However, another species has 75% or more of its range in Canada. This species is thought to be endemic to Canada: Dark-winged Primitive Minnow Mayfly (Parameletus croesus). In total, one species has a high priority score (between 1 and 5). Also, there are no exotic species known at the national level. We do not have enough knowledge on 266 species to give them a rank other than NU or NNR. No species of mayflies are considered migratory.

Figure 13. General status of mayflies in Canada in 2015.
Bar graph (see long description below)
Long description for figure 13

Figure 13 shows the general status of mayflies in Canada in 2015. The bar graph shows the number of mayfly species ranked presumed extirpated, possibly extirpated, critically imperiled, imperiled, vulnerable, apparently secure, secure, unrankable, unranked and not applicable in Canada, each province and territory and the 4 oceanic regions. Of the 342 species occurring in Canada, 1 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 2 as Imperiled, 2 as Vulnerable, 52 as Apparently Secure, 19 as Secure, 250 as Unrankable, and 16 as Unranked. Of the 29 species occurring in Yukon, 6 were ranked as Apparently Secure, 1 as Secure, 20 as Unrankable, 1 as Unranked, and 1 as Not Applicable. Of the 57 species occurring in Northwest Territories, 3 were ranked as Apparently Secure and 54 as Unrankable. All 17 species occurring in Nunavut were ranked as Unrankable. Of the 98 species occurring in British Columbia, 4 were ranked as Apparently Secure, 84 as Unrankable, and 10 as Unranked. Of the 128 species occurring in Alberta, 12 were ranked as Apparently Secure and 116 as Unrankable. Of the 115 species occurring in Saskatchewan, 3 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 1 as Vulnerable, 48 as Apparently Secure, and 63 as Unrankable. Of the 121 species occurring in Manitoba, 5 were ranked as Apparently Secure and 116 as Unrankable. Of the 205 species occurring in Ontario, 1 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 14 as Apparently Secure, and 190 as Unrankable. All 179 species occurring in Quebec were ranked as Unranked. All 120 species occurring in New Brunswick were ranked as Unrankable. All 100 species occurring in Nova Scotia were ranked as Unrankable. All 22 species occurring in Prince Edward Island were ranked as Unrankable. All 34 species occurring in Labrador were ranked as Unrankable. Of the 34 species occurring in Newfoundland, 1 was ranked as Apparently Secure and 33 as Unrankable. There were no species listed as occurring in the oceanic regions.

Dragonflies and damselflies

Photo showing the dorsal view of a Pygmy Snaketail (Dragonfly) resting on a stem
Photo: Pygmy Snaketail ( Ophiogomphus howei) © Denis Doucet

Dragonflies and damselflies refer to the order Odonata. One of the oldest insect orders alive today, the dragonflies and damselflies are agile hunters with large eyes, long slender bodies, and vivid colouring when sexually mature. Dragonflies are generally faster and more robust; they spread their wings horizontally when resting while damselflies typically fold theirs up. Their favourite habitats are well-vegetated lakes, streams and ponds. The aquatic larvae capture insects, tadpoles, and even small fish. Adults mature in upland habitats before returning to the water to breed. Aerial to the extreme, they are able to hunt insects, eat, defend territories, mate, and lay eggs while in flight. As voracious predators and important prey, odonates play key roles in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Of interest to outdoors-loving Canadians, both the larval and adult stages feed on mosquitos! Odonates are one of the best known insect groups, but understanding of many species’ life history, distribution, and habitat requirements is lacking. Threats include habitat loss or degradation, pollution, human disturbance such as boat wakes, and invasive species.

There are 213 known species of dragonflies and damselflies in Canada (Figure 14). The majority of these species are apparently secure or secure (69%). There is one species that is possibly extirpated, 11 species that are critically imperiled, and 15 species that are imperiled. Of these 27 species, 25 have only a small part of their range in Canada (10% or less) and two are intermediary (from 11% to 74%). All species have a lower priority score. We also identified one species that is exotic at the national level. We do not have enough knowledge on four species to give them a rank other than NU or NNR. In total, four species of dragonflies and damselflies are considered migratory.

All the dragonflies and damselflies were assessed in the Wild Species 2010 report. Since then, 28 species had a change in their status at the national level. A total of 13 species had an increased level of risk, three species had a reduced level of risk, and six species were changed from or to ranks U, NR, NA. Also, four species have been added to the list and two have been deleted from the list. Most of the changes (50%) are due to an improved knowledge of the species.

Figure 14. General status of dragonflies and damselflies in Canada in 2015.
Bar graph (see long description below)
Long description for figure 14

Figure 14 shows the general status of dragonflies and damselflies in Canada in 2015. The bar graph shows the number of dragonfly and damselfly species ranked presumed extirpated, possibly extirpated, critically imperiled, imperiled, vulnerable, apparently secure, secure, unrankable, unranked and not applicable in Canada, each province and territory and the 4 oceanic regions. Of the 213 species occurring in Canada, 1 was ranked as Possibly Extirpated, 11 as Critically Imperiled, 15 as Imperiled, 26 as Vulnerable, 30 as Apparently Secure, 118 as Secure, 3 as Unrankable, 1 as Unranked, and 8 as Not Applicable. Of the 41 species occurring in Yukon, 4 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 5 as Imperiled, 8 as Vulnerable, 8 as Apparently Secure, and 16 as Secure. Of the 43 species occurring in Northwest Territories, 1 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 1 as Imperiled, 1 as Vulnerable, 31 as Apparently Secure, and 9 as Unrankable. Of the 6 species occurring in Nunavut, 3 were ranked as Unrankable and 3 as Not Applicable. Of the 87 species occurring in British Columbia, 1 was ranked as Possibly Extirpated, 7 as Imperiled, 14 as Vulnerable, 20 as Apparently Secure, 44 as Secure, and 1 as Not Applicable. Of the 72 species occurring in Alberta, 5 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 5 as Imperiled, 18 as Vulnerable, 13 as Apparently Secure, 30 as Secure, and 1 as Not Applicable. Of the 76 species occurring in Saskatchewan, 1 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 16 as Imperiled, 11 as Vulnerable, 16 as Apparently Secure, 30 as Secure, and 2 as Unrankable. Of the 110 species occurring in Manitoba, 2 were ranked as Possibly Extirpated, 2 as Critically Imperiled, 13 as Imperiled, 38 as Vulnerable, 19 as Apparently Secure, 7 as Secure, 11 as Unrankable, and 18 as Not Applicable. Of the 175 species occurring in Ontario, 2 were ranked as Possibly Extirpated, 19 as Critically Imperiled, 24 as Imperiled, 20 as Vulnerable, 48 as Apparently Secure, 53 as Secure, 1 as Unrankable, and 8 as Not Applicable. Of the 147 species occurring in Quebec, 1 was ranked as Possibly Extirpated, 7 as Critically Imperiled, 11 as Imperiled, 31 as Vulnerable, 23 as Apparently Secure, 67 as Secure, 2 as Unrankable, and 5 as Not Applicable. Of the 134 species occurring in New Brunswick, 5 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 10 as Imperiled, 14 as Vulnerable, 47 as Apparently Secure, 43 as Secure, 5 as Unrankable, 6 as Unranked, and 4 as Not Applicable. Of the 124 species occurring in Nova Scotia, 10 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 14 as Imperiled, 10 as Vulnerable, 14 as Apparently Secure, 66 as Secure, 2 as Unrankable, 3 as Unranked, and 5 as Not Applicable. Of the 73 species occurring in Prince Edward Island, 18 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 5 as Imperiled, 9 as Vulnerable, 6 as Apparently Secure, 26 as Secure, 1 as Unrankable, 7 as Unranked, and 1 as Not Applicable. Of the 23 species occurring in Labrador, 9 were ranked as Imperiled, 6 as Vulnerable, and 8 as Apparently Secure. Of the 39 species occurring in Newfoundland, 8 were ranked as Imperiled, 9 as Vulnerable, 15 as Apparently Secure, 5 as Secure, 1 as Unrankable, and 1 as Not Applicable. There were no species listed as occurring in the oceanic regions.

Stoneflies

Photo of a Yellow Stripetail on a leaf
Photo: Yellow Stripetail ( Isoperla decepta) © Tom D. Schultz

Stoneflies refer to the order Plecoptera. Stoneflies are aquatic insects whose larvae and adults are similar in appearance, both having long antennae and tail-like filaments (cerci). Larvae have a flattened profile to cling to rocks in fast-flowing water. Some larvae do push-ups to increase water flow over their gills when required. They have a varied diet, including herbivory, omnivory, and predation. Adults have two pairs of translucent wings, though most are poor fliers. Adulthood is brief and feeding is uncommon. Males die soon after mating, while females live one to three weeks; those that eat algae scraped off of stones enjoying a slightly longer life. Larvae in the snowflies and willowflies families are remarkable in becoming dormant as summer approaches, and resuming growth and feeding in late fall. They emerge onto the ice in late winter to take advantage of the relative lack of predators while they seek their mates. Stoneflies require clean, cool, well-oxygenated water and, alongside mayflies and caddisflies, are important indicators of water quality. This is one focus of current stonefly research; their limited dispersal abilities also make them of interest to biogeographical studies. Most species are poorly known, and while some regional baseline data exists, no systematic national survey has been undertaken. Threats include the damming or eutrophication of waterways, pollution, and climate change.

There are 293 known species of stoneflies in Canada (Figure 15). Many species are apparently secure or secure (34%). There are no species known as may be at risk at the national level. There are no exotic species known at the national level. We do not have enough knowledge on 193 species to give them a rank other than NU or NNR. No species of stoneflies are considered migratory.

Figure 15. General status of stoneflies in Canada in 2015.
Bar graph (see long description below)
Long description for figure 15

Figure 15 shows the general status of stoneflies in Canada in 2015. The bar graph shows the number of stonefly species ranked presumed extirpated, possibly extirpated, critically imperiled, imperiled, vulnerable, apparently secure, secure, unrankable, unranked and not applicable in Canada, each province and territory and the 4 oceanic regions. Of the 293 species occurring in Canada, 57 were ranked as Apparently Secure, 43 as Secure, 169 as Unrankable, and 24 as Unranked. Of the 77 species occurring in Yukon, 1 was ranked as Vulnerable, 21 as Apparently Secure, 21 as Secure, and 34 as Unrankable. Of the 37 species occurring in Northwest Territories, 5 were ranked as Apparently Secure and 32 as Unrankable. All 11 species occurring in Nunavut were ranked as Unrankable. Of the 145 species occurring in British Columbia, 62 were ranked as Apparently Secure, 1 as Secure, 41 as Unrankable, and 41 as Unranked. Of the 117 species occurring in Alberta, 6 were ranked as Apparently Secure and 111 as Unrankable. Of the 48 species occurring in Saskatchewan, 8 were ranked as Apparently Secure and 40 as Unrankable. Of the 51 species occurring in Manitoba, 6 were ranked as Apparently Secure and 45 as Unrankable. Of the 88 species occurring in Ontario, 17 were ranked as Apparently Secure and 71 as Unrankable. All 109 species occurring in Quebec were ranked as Unranked. All 93 species occurring in New Brunswick were ranked as Unrankable. All 71 species occurring in Nova Scotia were ranked as Unrankable. All 22 species occurring in Prince Edward Island were ranked as Unrankable. All 21 species occurring in Labrador were ranked as Unrankable. Of the 16 species occurring in Newfoundland, 3 were ranked as Apparently Secure and 13 as Unrankable. There were no species listed as occurring in the oceanic regions.

Grasshoppers and relatives

Photo of a Green-striped Grasshopper  on a grass leaf.
Photo: Green-striped Grasshopper ( Chortophaga viridifasciata) © Tom D. Schultz

Grasshoppers and relatives refer to the orders Dermaptera (earwigs), Orthoptera (grasshoppers, katydids and crickets), Notoptera (rock crawlers), Phasmida (walkingsticks), Mantodea (mantis), Blattodea (cockroaches), and Isoptera (termites). Collectively, they are often referred as the orthopteroid insects. The grasshoppers, katydids and crickets have chewing mouthparts, wings that fold back, and long hind legs modified for jumping. Eggs are laid in the soil, and nymphs (miniature adults that cannot fly or reproduce) moult successively into adulthood. Alongside mammals, grasshoppers are the greatest grazers of temperate grasslands. While some are major agricultural pests, others are beneficial by consuming weeds or plants toxic to cattle. Locusts are the swarming phase of a few grasshopper species. Environmental conditions can trigger them to band together by the millions, eat ravenously, and devastate enormous natural and agricultural areas. Rock crawlers, walkingsticks and mantis often have special habitat requirements or special morphologic features (for example, walkingsticks have a stick-like appearance). Earwigs, cockroaches and termites are often associated with human habitations. Economically important pest species are well studied in Canada, while orthopteroids in specialized habitats and un-surveyed regions are less known. Threats include habitat loss and alteration and pesticides.

There are 269 known species of grasshoppers and relatives in Canada (Figure 16). The majority of these species are apparently secure or secure (62%). There is one species that is presumed extirpated, eight species that are possibly extirpated, 12 species that are critically imperiled, and 12 species that are imperiled. Of these 33 species, 24 have only a small part of their range in Canada (10% or less) and seven are intermediary (from 11% to 74%). However, two species have 75% or more of their range in Canada. These two species, Gaspésie Grasshopper (Melanoplus gaspesiensis) and Magdalen Islands Grasshopper (Melanoplus madeleineae), are thought to be endemic to Canada. In total, six species have a high priority score (between 1 and 5). We also identified 29 species that are exotic at the national level. We do not have enough knowledge on 14 species to give them a rank other than NU or NNR. No species of grasshoppers and relatives are considered migratory.

Figure 16. General status of grasshoppers and relatives in Canada in 2015.
Bar graph (see long description below)
Long description for figure 16

Figure 16shows the general status of grasshoppers and relatives in Canada in 2015. The bar graph shows the number of grasshopper and relative species ranked presumed extirpated, possibly extirpated, critically imperiled, imperiled, vulnerable, apparently secure, secure, unrankable, unranked and not applicable in Canada, each province and territory and the 4 oceanic regions. Of the 269 species occurring in Canada, 1 was ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 8 as Possibly Extirpated, 12 as Critically Imperiled, 12 as Imperiled, 19 as Vulnerable, 42 as Apparently Secure, 125 as Secure, 14 as Unrankable, and 36 as Not Applicable. Of the 18 species occurring in Yukon, 4 were ranked as Vulnerable, 5 as Apparently Secure, 5 as Secure, 2 as Unrankable, 1 as Unranked, and 1 as Not Applicable. Of the 23 species occurring in Northwest Territories, 1 was ranked as Imperiled, 5 as Vulnerable, 12 as Apparently Secure, and 5 as Unrankable. All 14 species occurring in Nunavut were ranked as Apparently Secure. Of the 120 species occurring in British Columbia, 4 were ranked as Possibly Extirpated, 8 as Critically Imperiled, 7 Imperiled, 19 as Vulnerable, 33 as Apparently Secure, 34 as Secure, 1 as Unrankable, and 14 as Not Applicable. Of the 117 species occurring in Alberta, 1 was ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 109 as Apparently Secure, and 7 as Not applicable. Of the 108 species occurring in Saskatchewan, 1 was ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 97 as Apparently Secure, 1 as Unranked, and 9 as Not Applicable. Of the 97 species occurring in Manitoba, 90 were ranked as Apparently Secure and 7 as Not Applicable. Of the 158 species occurring in Ontario, 7 were ranked as Possibly Extirpated, 6 as Critically Imperiled, 8 as Imperiled, 22 as Vulnerable, 54 as Apparently Secure, 7 as Secure, 21 as Unrankable, and 33 as Not Applicable. Of the 87 species occurring in Quebec, 2 were ranked as Imperiled, 2 as Vulnerable, 64 as Apparently Secure, 2 as Unranked, and 17 as Not Applicable. Of the 45 species occurring in New Brunswick, 3 were ranked as Apparently Secure, 13 as Secure, 24 as Unrankable, and 5 as Not Applicable. Of the 45 species occurring in Nova Scotia, 33 were ranked as Unrankable and 12 as Not Applicable. Of the 29 species occurring in Prince Edward Island, 25 were ranked as Unrankable and 4 as Not Applicable. Of the 6 species occurring in Labrador, 3 were ranked as Apparently Secure, 2 as Unrankable, and 1 as Not Applicable. Of the 20 species occurring in Newfoundland, 6 were ranked as Apparently Secure, 1 as Secure, 4 as Unrankable, and 9 as Not Applicable. There were no species listed as occurring in the oceanic regions.

Lacewings

Photo of a Golden-eyed Green Lacewing feeding on a flower
Photo: Golden-eyed Green Lacewing ( Chrysopa oculata) © Tom D. Schultz

Lacewings refer to the order Neuroptera. Neuroptera are soft-bodied insects named for the nerve-like pattern of veins on their wings. They undergo complete metamorphosis (egg, larvae, pupa and adult). They have chewing mouthparts, long thin antennae, and two pairs of wings folded tent-like over their abdomen when at rest. Adults are generally weak flyers; most species are predators though some feed on nectar and pollen. Courtship rituals can be intricate, and may involve abdominal drumming and acrobatic copulation that lasts for hours while dangling from a twig. Some lacewings produce thin stalks atop which they lay individual eggs, thus protecting them from predators (including newly-emerged siblings from adjacent eggs). Most larvae are predaceous and several species help agricultural production by hunting aphids, mites and scales. They include antlions, whose larvae dig pitfall traps in the sand, and bury themselves at the bottom leaving only their jaws exposed to devour any insect that slips down. There has generally been little research on Neuroptera in Canada, though their taxonomy is relatively well known, and agriculturally important species are better studied. The limited knowledge of Neuroptera biology and distribution make it difficult to assess their threats or conservation status.

There are 101 known species of lacewings in Canada (Figure 17). Some species are apparently secure or secure (18%). There are two species that are imperiled. Of these two species, one has only a small part of its range in Canada (10% or less) and the other is intermediary (from 11% to 74%). Both species have a lower priority score. We also identified six species that are exotic at the national level. We do not have enough knowledge on 73 species to give them a rank other than NU or NNR. No species of lacewings are considered migratory.

Figure 17. General status of lacewings in Canada in 2015.
Bar graph (see long description below)
Long description for figure 17

Figure 17 shows the general status of lacewings in Canada in 2015. The bar graph shows the number of lacewing species ranked presumed extirpated, possibly extirpated, critically imperiled, imperiled, vulnerable, apparently secure, secure, unrankable, unranked and not applicable in Canada, each province and territory and the 4 oceanic regions. Of the 101 species occurring in Canada, 2 were ranked as Imperiled, 2 as Vulnerable, 14 as Apparently Secure, 4 as Secure, 55 as Unrankable, 18 as Unranked, and 6 as Not Applicable. Of the 31 species occurring in Yukon, 12 were ranked as Apparently Secure, 18 as Unrankable, and 1 as Unranked. All 14 species occurring in Northwest Territories were ranked as Unrankable. All 4 species occurring in Nunavut were ranked as Unrankable. Of the 80 species occurring in British Columbia, 1 was ranked as Imperiled, 1 as Vulnerable, 1 as Apparently Secure, 4 as Secure, 1 as Unrankable, 67 as Unranked, and 5 as Not Applicable. Of the 44 species occurring in Alberta, 2 were ranked as Secure, 41 as Unrankable, and 1 as Not Applicable. Of the 32 species occurring in Saskatchewan, 2 were ranked as Secure and 30 as Unrankable. Of the 31 species occurring in Manitoba, 2 were ranked as Secure, 28 as Unrankable, and 1 as Not Applicable. Of the 48 species occurring in Ontario, 1 was ranked as Possibly Extirpated, 2 as Imperiled, 1 as Vulnerable, 2 as Apparently Secure, 2 as Secure, 37 as Unrankable, and 3 as Not Applicable. Of the 49 species occurring in Quebec, 45 were ranked as Unranked and 4 as Not Applicable. All 13 species occurring in New Brunswick were ranked as Unrankable. Of the 30 species occurring in Nova Scotia, 28 were ranked as Unrankable and 2 as Not Applicable. All 6 species occurring in Prince Edward Island were ranked as Unrankable. All 7 species occurring in Labrador were ranked as Unrankable. Of the 20 species occurring in Newfoundland, 2 were ranked as Secure, 16 as Unrankable, and 2 as Not Applicable. There were no species listed as occurring in the oceanic regions.

Beetles

Image of Cicindela marginipennis
Photo: Cicindela marginipennis © Henri Goulet

Beetles refer to the order Coleoptera. Beetles are an extremely diverse order of insects that make up about 25% of all animals on Earth. Their hardened, protective forewings (elytra) contribute to this success by enabling them to access habitats like crevices or burrows that more delicate animals cannot. They also undergo complete metamorphosis, whereby larvae and adults have distinct life habits and do not compete with each other. Beetles have tremendous ecological and social importance. Lady beetles and predaceous ground beetles control agricultural pests, while some weevils devour agricultural crops and grain. Certain wood borers can also profoundly impact forest ecosystems. Burying and dung beetles, on the other hand, process carcasses and excrement that would otherwise overwhelm us; enhancing the soil’s fertility, permeability, and aeration in the process. Beetles are important pollinators and indicators of environmental health. They also fascinate! Fireflies lure mates through dazzling displays of bioluminescence (though some rogue species mimic a female’s pattern to bait and eat the males). Tiger beetles are such fast hunters that their eyes cannot follow their prey! Their running speed often outruns their capacity to process light and to form an image of their prey. They must periodically stop, reorient, and resume the chase. Some beetles are relatively well-studied, particularly in human-managed systems. Threats include habitat loss, pesticides and competition from invasive species.

There are 7963 known species of beetles in Canada (Figure 18). Many species are apparently secure or secure (43%). There are 22 species that are possibly extirpated, 78 species that are critically imperiled, and 53 species that are imperiled. Of these 153 species, 115 have only a small part of their range in Canada (10% or less) and 26 are intermediary (from 11% to 74%). However, 12 species have 75% or more of their range in Canada. Among those, 11 species are thought to be endemic to Canada: Hydnobius autumnalis, Lypoglossa manitobae, Macrohydnobius tibiocalcaris, Mitosynum vockerothi, Nebria charlottae, Nebria louiseae, Ophraella nuda, Philonthus turbo, Sanfilippodytes bertae, Subhaida monticola, Tricholochmaea sablensis. In total, 19 species have a high priority score (between 1 and 5). We also identified 624 species that are exotic at the national level. We do not have enough knowledge on 3624 species to give them a rank other than NU or NNR. No species of beetles are considered migratory.

The predaceous diving beetles, the ground beetles, and the lady beetles were assessed in the Wild Species 2010 report. Since then, 303 species had a change in their status at the national level. A total of 28 species had an increased level of risk, eight species had a reduced level of risk, and 216 species were changed from or to ranks U, NR, NA. Also, 12 species have been added to the list and 39 have been deleted from the list. Most of the changes (50%) are due to an improved knowledge of the species.

Figure 18. General status of beetles in Canada in 2015.
Bar graph (see long description below)
Long description for figure 18

Figure 18shows the general status of beetles in Canada in 2015. The bar graph shows the number of beetle species ranked presumed extirpated, possibly extirpated, critically imperiled, imperiled, vulnerable, apparently secure, secure, unrankable, unranked and not applicable in Canada, each province and territory and the 4 oceanic regions. Of the 7963 species occurring in Canada, 22 were ranked as Possibly Extirpated, 78 as Critically Imperiled, 53 as Imperiled, 156 as Vulnerable, 1423 as Apparently Secure, 1981 as Secure, 3608 as Unrankable, 16 as Unranked, and 626 as Not Applicable. Of the 1046 species occurring in Yukon, 3 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 3 as Imperiled, 3 as Vulnerable, 258 as Apparently Secure, 151 as Secure, 361 as Unrankable, 245 as Unranked, and 22 as Not Applicable. Of the 1121 species occurring in Northwest Territories, 1 was ranked as Imperiled, 54 as Vulnerable, 125 as Apparently Secure, 902 as Unrankable, 15 as Unranked, and 24 as Not Applicable. Of the 121 species occurring in Nunavut, 1 was ranked as Vulnerable, 14 as Apparently Secure, 1 as Secure, 97 as Unrankable, 7 as Unranked, and 1 as Not Applicable. Of the 3754 species occurring in British Columbia, 5 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 29 as Imperiled, 12 as Vulnerable, 866 as Apparently Secure, 161 as Secure, 2327 as Unrankable, 18 as Unranked, and 336 as Not Applicable. Of the 2748 species occurring in Alberta, 35 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 54 as Imperiled, 563 as Vulnerable, 640 as Apparently Secure, 2 as Secure, 1256 as Unrankable, and 198 as Not Applicable. Of the 2240 species occurring in Saskatchewan, 10 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 25 as Imperiled, 264 as Vulnerable, 377 as Apparently Secure, 4 as Secure, 1365 as Unrankable, 1 as Unranked, and 194 as Not Applicable. Of the 2558 species occurring in Manitoba, 22 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 33 as Imperiled, 541 as Vulnerable, 314 as Apparently Secure, 1461 as Unrankable, and 187 as Not Applicable. Of the 4456 species occurring in Ontario, 17 were ranked as Possibly Extirpated, 80 as Critically Imperiled, 12 as Imperiled, 43 as Vulnerable, 1275 as Apparently Secure, 33 as Secure, 2572 as Unrankable, 2 as Unranked, and 422 as Not Applicable. Of the 4026 species occurring in Quebec, 5 were ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 52 as Possibly Extirpated, 3 Critically Imperiled, 41 as Imperiled, 118 as Vulnerable, 862 as Apparently Secure, 643 Secure, 1685 as Unrankable, 160 as Unranked, and 457 as Not Applicable. Of the 2750 species occurring in New Brunswick, 1 was ranked as Possibly Extirpated, 22 as Critically Imperiled, 28 Imperiled, 312 as Vulnerable, 736 as Apparently Secure, 590 as Secure, 733 as Unrankable, and 328 as Not Applicable. Of the 2273 species occurring in Nova Scotia, 2 were ranked as Possibly Extirpated, 15 Critically Imperiled, 13 as Imperiled, 159 as Vulnerable, 188 as Apparently Secure, 529 as Secure, 992 as Unrankable, and 375 as Not Applicable. Of the 898 species occurring in Prince Edward Island, 1 was ranked as Possibly Extirpated, 3 as Critically Imperiled, 9 as Imperiled, 22 as Vulnerable, 43 as Apparently Secure, 103 as Secure, 506 as Unrankable, and 211 as Not Applicable. Of the 526 species occurring in Labrador, 1 was ranked as Imperiled, 27 as Vulnerable, 52 as Apparently Secure, 70 as Secure, 348 as Unrankable, and 28 as Not Applicable. Of the 1118 species occurring in Newfoundland, 1 was ranked as Possibly Extirpated, 3 as Critically Imperiled, 4 as Imperiled, 38 as Vulnerable, 148 as Apparently Secure, 200 as Secure, 502 as Unrankable, and 222 as Not Applicable. There were no species listed as occurring in the oceanic regions.

Ants

Photo of a worker Enviable Ant, on a leaf
Photo: Enviable Ant ( Manica invidia) © Sean McCann

Ants refer to the family Formicidae. Ants are small social insects with slender waists and elbowed antennae. They are generally wingless and most are not aggressive, though some can sting or bite. They sometimes use formic acid for attack and defense purposes. Their colonies number in the hundreds to millions of individuals, and are divided into distinct social castes: the reproductive queen, the workers who do most of the brood rearing and foraging, and the males, who die shortly after mating. Most ants are omnivorous, and some are important predators of forest pests. Scouts search for food and leave a scented trail for other workers to follow back to its source. Some ants “farm” aphids in order to drink the sweet honeydew they exude. Dracula ants have the unique and rather disturbing habit of feeding almost entirely on the blood (haemolymph) of their own young. Adults being unable to eat solid food themselves, they provide a centipede to their brood, and then chew through their larvae’s exoskeletons to suck out the nutrients. Ants are the most abundant biota of many systems and play key ecological roles as seed dispersers, decomposers, and food for vertebrates and invertebrates. Their effects on soil mixing and aeration are comparable to those of earthworms. Ants have long fascinated people and they are relatively well known compared to most invertebrates. They are most threatened by habitat loss and competition from invasive species.

There are 212 known species of ants in Canada (Figure 19). The majority of these species are apparently secure or secure (65%). There are two species that are possibly extirpated. Both species have only a small part of their range in Canada (10% or less) and have a lower priority score. We also identified 15 species that are exotic at the national level. We do not have enough knowledge on 53 species to give them a rank other than NU or NNR. No species of ants are considered migratory.

Figure 19. General status of ants in Canada in 2015.
Bar graph (see long description below)
Long description for figure 19

Figure 19 shows the general status of ants in Canada in 2015. The bar graph shows the number of ant species ranked presumed extirpated, possibly extirpated, critically imperiled, imperiled, vulnerable, apparently secure, secure, unrankable, unranked and not applicable in Canada, each province and territory and the 4 oceanic regions. Of the 212 species occurring in Canada, 2 were ranked as Possibly Extirpated, 5 as Vulnerable, 18 as Apparently Secure, 119 as Secure, 45 as Unrankable, 8 as Unranked, and 15 as Not Applicable. Of the 15 species occurring in Yukon, 2 were ranked as Apparently Secure, 7 as Secure, and 6 as Unrankable. All 12 species occurring in Northwest Territories were ranked as Unrankable. Of the 10 species occurring in Nunavut, 1 was ranked as Apparently Secure and 9 as Secure. Of the 115 species occurring in British Columbia, 1 was ranked as Vulnerable, 11 as Apparently Secure, 73 as Secure, 11 as Unrankable, 12 as Unranked, and 7 as Not Applicable. Of the 100 species occurring in Alberta, 1 was ranked as Vulnerable, 16 as Apparently Secure, 74 as Secure, 7 as Unrankable, and 2 as Not Applicable. Of the 54 species occurring in Saskatchewan, 10 were ranked as Apparently Secure, 37 as Secure, and 7 as Unrankable. Of the 78 species occurring in Manitoba, 1 was ranked as Vulnerable, 13 as Apparently Secure, 56 as Secure, and 8 as Unrankable. Of the 101 species occurring in Ontario, 3 were ranked as Possibly Extirpated, 2 as Vulnerable, 28 as Apparently Secure, 33 as Secure, 33 as Unrankable, and 2 as Not Applicable. Of the 102 species occurring in Quebec, 1 was ranked as Imperiled, 10 as Vulnerable, 19 as Apparently Secure, 54 as Secure, 5 as Unrankable, and 13 as Not Applicable. Of the 58 species occurring in New Brunswick, 56 were ranked as Unrankable and 2 as Not Applicable. Of the 33 species occurring in Nova Scotia, 32 were ranked as Unrankable and 1 as Not Applicable. Of the 14 species occurring in Prince Edward Island, 13 were ranked as Unrankable and 1 as Not Applicable. All 12 species occurring in Labrador were ranked as Unrankable. Of the 21 species occurring in Newfoundland, 10 were ranked as apparently Secure, 10 as Unrankable, and 1 as Not Applicable. There were no species listed as occurring in the oceanic regions.

Bees

Photo of a Tricoloured Bumble Bee, collecting pollen
Photo: Tricoloured Bumble Bee ( Bombus ternarius) © Yves Déry

Bees refer to the clade Anthophila. Bees are furry winged insects that feed entirely on flowers as both larvae and adults. Some have interesting social systems, ranging from simple shared nests to complex societies with division of labour. Most are solitary however, and some even lay eggs in other species’ nests, allowing the hosts to feed their young. Native bees rarely sting and produce very little honey. Nectar is their main energy source and they collect protein-rich pollen for their young. Their contributions to pollination, and consequently to ecosystem function and food production, are enormous. Bumble bees are particularly efficient; they can forage in cool weather, their buzzing facilitates pollen release, and their hairy bodies pick up large amounts of pollen. With the onset of colony collapse disorder in honey bees, there is increased interest in native pollinators. However, more study is needed to establish baseline data, population trends, and conservation requirements. Threats include habitat loss and fragmentation, loss of food and nesting resources, pesticide exposure, disease and the transmission of pathogens from managed to wild bee populations, and climate change.

There are 805 known species of bees in Canada (Figure 20). Many species are apparently secure or secure (41%). There are four species that are critically imperiled and 30 species that are imperiled. Of these 34 species, 25 have only a small part of their range in Canada (10% or less) and seven are intermediary (from 11% to 74%). However, two species have 75% or more of their range in Canada. These two species are thought to be endemic to Canada: Sable Island Sweat Bee (Lasioglossum sablense), Yukon Sweat Bee (Lasioglossum yukonae). In total, three species have a high priority score (between 1 and 5). We also identified 18 species that are exotic at the national level. We do not have enough knowledge on 349 species to give them a rank other than NU or NNR. No species of bees are considered migratory.

The bumble bees were assessed in the Wild Species 2010 report. Since then, 25 species had a change in their status at the national level. A total of 22 species were changed from or to ranks U, NR, NA. Also, two species have been added to the list and one has been deleted from the list. Most of the changes (92%) are due to an improved knowledge of the species.

Figure 20. General status of bees in Canada in 2015.
Bar graph (see long description below)
Long description for figure 20

Figure 20 shows the general status of bees in Canada in 2015. The bar graph shows the number of bee species ranked presumed extirpated, possibly extirpated, critically imperiled, imperiled, vulnerable, apparently secure, secure, unrankable, unranked and not applicable in Canada, each province and territory and the 4 oceanic regions. Of the 805 species occurring in Canada, 4 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 30 as Imperiled, 76 as Vulnerable, 88 as Apparently Secure, 240 as Secure, 347 as Unrankable, 2 as Unranked, and 18 as Not Applicable. Of the 83 species occurring in Yukon, 1 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 2 as Imperiled, 9 as Vulnerable, 11 as Apparently Secure, 54 as Secure, 5 as Unrankable, and 1 as Not Applicable. Of the 109 species occurring in Northwest Territories, 2 were ranked as Imperiled, 3 as Vulnerable, 21 as Apparently Secure, 82 as Unrankable, and 1 as Not Applicable. Of the 16 species occurring in Nunavut, 1 was ranked as Vulnerable, 1 as Apparently Secure, 11 as Secure, 2 as Unrankable, and 1 as Not Applicable. Of the 430 species occurring in British Columbia, 1 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 24 as Imperiled, 77 as Vulnerable, 45 as Apparently Secure, 145 as Secure, 131 as Unrankable, and 7 as Not Applicable. Of the 326 species occurring in Alberta, 1 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 7 as Imperiled, 53 as Vulnerable, 47 as Apparently Secure, 133 as Secure, 80 as Unrankable, and 5 as Not Applicable. Of the 233 species occurring in Saskatchewan, 2 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 56 as Vulnerable, 21 as Apparently Secure, 95 as Secure, 55 as Unrankable, and 4 as Not Applicable. Of the 236 species occurring in Manitoba, 2 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 53 as Vulnerable, 24 as Apparently Secure, 111 as Secure, 41 as Unrankable, and 5 as Not Applicable. Of the 388 species occurring in Ontario, 3 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 10 as Imperiled, 114 as Vulnerable, 37 as Apparently Secure, 139 as Secure, 69 as Unrankable, and 16 as Not Applicable. Of the 265 species occurring in Quebec, 2 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 1 as Imperiled, 2 as Vulnerable, 3 as Apparently Secure, 16 as Secure, 232 as Unranked, and 9 as Not Applicable. Of the 207 species occurring in New Brunswick, 1 was ranked as Possibly Extirpated, 1 as Critically Imperiled, 1 as Vulnerable, 20 as Apparently Secure, 8 as Secure, 170 as Unrankable, and 6 as Not Applicable. Of the 227 species occurring in Nova Scotia, 3 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 1 as Vulnerable, 9 as Apparently Secure, 7 as Secure, 199 as Unrankable, and 8 as Not Applicable. Of the 157 species occurring in Prince Edward Island, 1 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 1 as Vulnerable, 3 as Apparently Secure, 3 as Secure, 142 as Unrankable, and 7 as Not Applicable. Of the 44 species occurring in Labrador, 5 were ranked as Apparently Secure, 38 as Unrankable, and 1 as Not Applicable. Of the 79 species occurring in Newfoundland, 1 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 3 as Vulnerable, 14 as Apparently Secure, 54 as Unrankable, and 7 as Not Applicable. There were no species listed as occurring in the oceanic regions.

Yellowjacket wasps

Photo of six yellowjacket wasps, on their nest.
Photo: Vespula maculifrons © Jeffrey L. Moore

Yellowjacket wasps refer to the family Vespidae. The vespids are a diverse family of wasps that include social species (e.g. yellowjacket wasps, hornets, paper wasps), as well as solitary ones. They vary in colour and pattern, with brighter “warning colouration” more common in social species. Their tapered abdomen and folded wings give them a narrow appearance, and their ovipositor may be modified into a stinger. Vespids construct nests using mud or chewed up plant material (i.e. paper) or tunnel them into wood or soil. Social species can be defensive near their hives, and when distressed will call on colony-members to help take care of threats. Unlike bees, wasps can sting repeatedly, though most vespids sting rarely if at all. They benefit humans by providing significant biocontrol of agricultural pests. Most species provision their young with immature insects, sometimes laying their eggs in live caterpillars to ensure a fresh food source for their larvae, who eat their host from the inside out. In fact, some plants have defensive compounds that call out to these wasps when they are being chewed on by caterpillars. Some adults are predators, while others are nectar-feeding pollinators. Vespids are generally well understood in Canada, particularly colony-forming species that live near humans. Their distribution and conservation status are poorly known in many parts of the country however. Threats include habitat loss and alteration and pesticides.

There are 101 known species of yellowjacket wasps in Canada (Figure 21). Many species are apparently secure or secure (37%). There are 12 species that are critically imperiled, and 19 species that are imperiled. Of these 31 species, 26 have only a small part of their range in Canada (10% or less) and five are intermediary (from 11% to 74%). All species have a lower priority score. We also identified six species that are exotic at the national level. We do not have enough knowledge on six species to give them a rank other than NU or NNR. No species of yellowjacket wasps are considered migratory.

Figure 21. General status of yellowjacket wasps in Canada in 2015.
Bar graph (see long description below)
Long description for figure 21

Figure 21 shows the general status of yellowjacket wasps in Canada in 2015. The bar graph shows the number of yellowjacket wasp species ranked presumed extirpated, possibly extirpated, critically imperiled, imperiled, vulnerable, apparently secure, secure, unrankable, unranked and not applicable in Canada, each province and territory and the 4 oceanic regions. Of the 101 species occurring in Canada, 12 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 19 as Imperiled, 14 as Vulnerable, 10 as Apparently Secure, 27 as Secure, 6 as Unrankable, and 13 as Not Applicable. Of the 24 species occurring in Yukon, 13 were ranked as Apparently Secure, 5 as Secure, and 6 as Unrankable. Of the 24 species occurring in Northwest Territories, 6 were ranked as Apparently Secure, 1 as Secure, and 17 as Unrankable. Of the 2 species occurring in Nunavut, 1 was ranked as Imperiled and 1 as Vulnerable. Of the 66 species occurring in British Columbia, 12 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 12 as Imperiled, 19 as Vulnerable, 11 as Apparently Secure, 9 as Secure, and 3 as Not Applicable. Of the 54 species occurring in Alberta, 3 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 10 as Imperiled, 14 as Vulnerable, 6 as Apparently Secure, 14 as Secure, 4 as Unrankable, and 3 as Not Applicable. Of the 43 species occurring in Saskatchewan, 5 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 13 as Imperiled, 11 as Vulnerable, 7 as Apparently Secure, 2 as Secure, 2 as Unrankable, and 3 as Not Applicable. Of the 41 species occurring in Manitoba, 3 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 8 as Imperiled, 15 as Vulnerable, 10 as Apparently Secure, 2 as Unrankable, and 3 as Not Applicable. Of the 66 species occurring in Ontario, 1 was ranked as Possibly Extirpated, 8 as Critically Imperiled, 8 as Imperiled, 14 as Vulnerable, 20 as Apparently Secure, 2 as Secure, and 13 as Not Applicable. Of the 42 species occurring in Quebec, 4 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 5 as Imperiled, 17 as Vulnerable, 10 as Apparently Secure, 1 as Unrankable, and 5 as Not Applicable. Of the 34 species occurring in New Brunswick, 1 was ranked as Apparently Secure, 8 as Secure, 22 as Unrankable, and 3 as Not Applicable. Of the 30 species occurring in Nova Scotia, 27 were ranked as Unrankable and 3 as Not Applicable. All 26 species occurring in Prince Edward Island were ranked as Unrankable. All 12 species occurring in Labrador were ranked as Unranked. Of the 17 species occurring in Newfoundland, 15 were ranked as Unranked and 2 as Not Applicable. There were no species listed as occurring in the oceanic regions.

Caddisflies

Photo of Solomon’s Humpless Caddisfly, within is protecting casing
Photo: Solomon’s Humpless Caddisfly ( Brachycentrus solomoni) © David H. Funk

Caddisflies refer to the order Trichoptera. Caddisflies are moth-like insects with hairy wings that arch over their bodies when at rest. The aquatic larvae resemble caterpillars, and are famous for the protective cases that they construct of gravel, sand, and plant material bound up in silk. These can be striking, and artists have raised larvae to build cases using precious stones. Most larval species feed on decaying plant material, thereby promoting decomposition and cleaning the water. Some species have turned to gardening, and actually fertilize their surroundings by depositing excretions in favoured areas to promote algae growth, allowing them to feed closer to home. Adults are short-lived and are food for many recreational and commercial fish species. Caddisflies have been used as indicators of ecosystem health, and their systematics, biology and ecology are well studied in Canada. Knowledge of their general status and distribution, however, is incomplete. Threats include habitat loss and alteration, hydrological changes, pollution, water scarcity, and climate change particularly for some species restricted to glacier-fed mountains streams.

There are 688 known species of caddisflies in Canada (Figure 22). Many species are apparently secure or secure (31%). There is one species that is imperiled. This species has about 50% of its range in Canada and has a lower priority score. Also, there are no exotic species known at the national level. We do not have enough knowledge on 470 species to give them a rank other than NU or NNR. No species of caddisflies are considered migratory.

Figure 22. General status of caddisflies in Canada in 2015.
Bar graph (see long description below)
Long description for figure 22

Figure 22 shows the general status of caddisflies in Canada in 2015. The bar graph shows the number of caddisfly species ranked presumed extirpated, possibly extirpated, critically imperiled, imperiled, vulnerable, apparently secure, secure, unrankable, unranked and not applicable in Canada, each province and territory and the 4 oceanic regions. Of the 688 species occurring in Canada,  1 was ranked as Imperiled, 1 as Vulnerable, 107 as Apparently Secure, 109 as Secure, 428 as Unrankable, and 42 as Unranked. Of the 151 species occurring in Yukon, 1 was ranked as Vulnerable, 15 as Apparently Secure, 18 as Secure, 12 as Unrankable, 104 as Unranked, and 1 as Not Applicable. Of the 122 species occurring in Northwest Territories, 2 were ranked as Vulnerable, 8 as Apparently Secure, and 112 as Unrankable. Of the 12 species occurring in Nunavut, 1 was ranked as Apparently Secure and 11 as Unrankable. Of the 323 species occurring in British Columbia, 1 was ranked as Imperiled, 104 as Apparently Secure, 1 as Secure, and 217 as Unrankable. Of the 253 species occurring in Alberta, 1 was ranked as Imperiled, 81 as Apparently Secure, and 171 as Unrankable. Of the 207 species occurring in Saskatchewan, 87 were ranked as Apparently Secure, 1 as Secure, and 119 as Unrankable. Of the 219 species occurring in Manitoba, 21 were ranked as Apparently Secure, 197 as Unrankable, and 1 as Not Applicable. Of the 320 species occurring in Ontario, 55 were ranked as Apparently Secure and 265 as Unrankable. All 383 species occurring in Quebec were ranked as Unranked. All 171 species occurring in New Brunswick were ranked as Unrankable. Of the 204 species occurring in Nova Scotia, 202 were ranked as Unrankable and 2 as Not Applicable. All 48 species occurring in Prince Edward Island were ranked as Unrankable. All 32 species occurring in Labrador were ranked as Unrankable. Of the 136 species occurring in Newfoundland, 27 were ranked as Apparently Secure and 109 as Unrankable. There were no species listed as occurring in the oceanic regions.

Moths and butterflies

Photo of a butterfly
Photo: Papilio canadensis © Rémi Hébert

Moths and butterflies refer to the order Lepidoptera. The lepidopterans include brightly-coloured, daytime-flying butterflies and the less conspicuous nocturnal moths. Both have a coiled tongue, two pairs of scale-covered wings, and antennae. Eggs are laid on food plants favoured by the larva (i.e. caterpillar), which eats voraciously and moults its skin as it grows. The adult stage is brief and focused on reproducing. Butterflies generally use visual cues to find mates, while moths, renowned for their sense of smell, locate each other using long-range pheromones. Many adults feed on nectar, sometimes pollinating flowers in the process, while others do not eat at all, living on fat reserves they acquired as larvae. The showy orange and black Monarch (Danaus plexippus) is a well-loved butterfly whose caterpillars feed exclusively on milkweed. Adults travel to Mexico or California for the winter, conserving energy on their journeys by riding rising air currents, sometimes up to 1 km high. While more than 90% of lepidopterans are moths, the eye-catching butterflies attract significantly more attention, and are relatively well studied. Moths considered agricultural and forest pests have been researched, but our knowledge of most species is scant. The greatest threats to lepidopterans are habitat destruction and alteration, pesticides, pollution, exotic species, and, in the case of moths, artificial lighting.

There are 5257 known species of moths and butterflies in Canada (Figure 23). Many species are apparently secure or secure (31%). There is one species that is presumed extirpated, two species that are possibly extirpated, 33 species that are critically imperiled, and 56 species that are imperiled. Of these 92 species, 62 have only a small part of their range in Canada (10% or less) and 18 are intermediary (from 11% to 74%). However, 12 species have 75% or more of their range in Canada. Among those, 10 species are thought to be endemic to Canada: Agrotis arenarius, Coenonympha nipisiquit, Colias johanseni, Colias rankinensis, Eucosma sableana, Euxoa unica, Lasionycta haida, Lasionycta macleani, Schinia verna, Xanthorhoe clarkeata. In total, 15 species have a high priority score (between 1 and 5). We also identified 191 species that are exotic at the national level. We do not have enough knowledge on 3015 species to give them a rank other than NU or NNR. In total, 16 species of moths and butterflies are considered migratory.

The butterflies and the selected macromoths were assessed in the Wild Species 2010 report. Since then, 124 species had a change in their status at the national level. A total of 29 species had an increased level of risk, 13 species had a reduced level of risk, and 56 species were changed from or to ranks U, NR, NA. Also, 15 species have been added to the list and 11 have been deleted from the list. Most of the changes (44%) are due to a procedural change.

Figure 23. General status of moths and butterflies in Canada in 2015.
Bar graph (see long description below)
Long description for figure 23

Figure 23 shows the general status of moths and butterflies in Canada in 2015. The bar graph shows the number of moth and butterfly species ranked presumed extirpated, possibly extirpated, critically imperiled, imperiled, vulnerable, apparently secure, secure, unrankable, unranked and not applicable in Canada, each province and territory and the 4 oceanic regions. Of the 5257 species occurring in Canada, 1 was ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 2 as Possibly Extirpated, 33 as Critically Imperiled, 56 as Imperiled, 244 as Vulnerable, 738 as Apparently Secure, 904 as Secure, 541 as Unrankable, 2474 as Unranked, and 264 as Not Applicable. Of the 716 species occurring in Yukon, 2 were ranked as imperiled, 26 as Vulnerable, 173 as Apparently Secure, 70 as Secure, 286 as Unrankable, 154 as Unranked, and 5 as Not Applicable. Of the 598 species occurring in Northwest Territories, 5 were ranked as Vulnerable, 75 as Apparently Secure, 306 as Unrankable, 207 as Unranked, and 5 as Not Applicable. Of the 134 species occurring in Nunavut, 3 were ranked as Imperiled, 18 as Vulnerable, 13 as Apparently Secure, 17 as Secure, 35 as Unrankable, 44 as Unranked, and 4 as Not Applicable. Of the 2759 species occurring in British Columbia, 1 was ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 1 as Possibly Extirpated, 10 as Critically Imperiled, 33 as Imperiled, 324 as Vulnerable, 789 as Apparently Secure, 161 as Secure, 82 as Unrankable, 1218 as Unranked, and 140 as Not Applicable. Of the 2470 species occurring in Alberta, 5 were ranked as Possibly Extirpated, 8 as Critically Imperiled, 36 as Imperiled, 308 as Vulnerable, 526 as Apparently Secure, 87 as Secure, 238 as Unrankable, 1200 as Unranked, and 62 as Not Applicable. Of the 1925 species occurring in Saskatchewan, 3 were ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 27 as Critically Imperiled, 27 as Imperiled, 232 as Vulnerable, 235 as Apparently Secure, 61 as Secure, 513 as Unrankable, 774 as Unranked, and 53 as Not Applicable. Of the 2177 species occurring in Manitoba, 1 was ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 7 as Possibly Extirpated, 15 as Critically Imperiled, 27 as Imperiled, 224 as Vulnerable, 388 as Apparently Secure, 73 as Secure, 396 as Unrankable, 973 as Unranked, and 73 as Not Applicable. Of the 3120 species occurring in Ontario, 2 were ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 1 as Possibly Extirpated, 25 as Critically Imperiled, 40 as Imperiled, 174 as Vulnerable, 562 as Apparently Secure, 242 as Secure, 299 as Unrankable, 1596 as Unranked, and 179 as Not Applicable. Of the 2880 species occurring in Quebec, 1 was ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 3 as Possibly Extirpated, 2 as Critically Imperiled, 10 as Imperiled, 16 as Vulnerable, 12 as Apparently Secure, 74 as Secure, 19 as Unrankable, 2600 as Unranked, and 143 as Not Applicable. Of the 1685 species occurring in New Brunswick, 7 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 3 as Imperiled, 19 as Vulnerable, 372 as Apparently Secure, 41 as Secure, 535 as Unrankable, 611 as Unranked, and 97 as Not Applicable. Of the 1832 species occurring in Nova Scotia, 11 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 10 as Imperiled, 11 as Vulnerable, 162 as Apparently Secure, 31 as Secure, 695 as Unrankable, 814 as Unranked, and 98 as Not Applicable. Of the 721 species occurring in Prince Edward Island, 16 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 3 as Imperiled, 5 as Vulnerable, 16 as Apparently Secure, 44 as Secure, 352 as Unrankable, 241 as Unranked, and 44 as Not Applicable. Of the 477 species occurring in Labrador, 1 was ranked as Imperiled, 25 as Vulnerable, 25 as Apparently Secure, 9 as Secure, 108 as Unrankable, 297 as Unranked, and 12 as Not Applicable. Of the 883 species occurring in Newfoundland, 27 were ranked as Vulnerable, 66 as Apparently Secure, 15 as Secure, 234 as Unrankable, 470 as Unranked, and 71 as Not Applicable. There were no species listed as occurring in the oceanic regions.

Scorpionflies

Photo of a male scorpionfly, Clear-winged Scorpionfly, on a leaf
Photo: Clear-winged Scorpionfly ( Panorpa claripennis) © Steve Marshall

Scorpionflies refer to the order Mecoptera. Scorpionflies are medium sized insects with long, downward-facing beaks; so-named for the harmless appendage resembling a scorpion stinger on the abdomen of some males. Most live in the forest understory, and some species are active even on snow. Adults are omnivores, and may sneak meals out of spider webs (which results, perhaps predictably, in high predation from spiders) or capture bees with their hind legs and manoeuver them carefully until they can be pierced. Some males offer food to females as an enticement (or distraction) for mating. These gifts, which are sometimes stolen from other males, increase the duration and success of copulation. Eggs are laid on or near the ground and the larvae, which resemble caterpillars or grubs, scavenge on insect, fungus, and plant matter. As they are rarely encountered, scorpionflies have been little-studied, making it difficult to assess their threats. Most species are generalist feeders and are not thought to be at risk; however some have very localized distributions and are threatened by habitat loss and degradation.

There are 25 known species of scorpionflies in Canada (Figure 24). Many species are apparently secure or secure (48%). There is one species that is critically imperiled and two species that are imperiled. Of these three species, one has only a small part of its range in Canada (10% or less) and another is intermediary (from 11% to 74%). However, another species has 75% or more of its range in Canada. This species is thought to be endemic to Canada: Island Snow Scorpionfly (Boreus insulanus). In total, one species has a high priority score (between 1 and 5). Also, there are no exotic species known at the national level. We do not have enough knowledge on eight species to give them a rank other than NU or NNR. No species of scorpionflies are considered migratory.

Figure 24. General status of scorpionflies in Canada in 2015.
Bar graph (see long description below)
Long description for figure 24

Figure 24 shows the general status of scorpionflies in Canada in 2015. The bar graph shows the number of scorpionfly species ranked presumed extirpated, possibly extirpated, critically imperiled, imperiled, vulnerable, apparently secure, secure, unrankable, unranked and not applicable in Canada, each province and territory and the 4 oceanic regions. Of the 25 species occurring in Canada, 1 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 2 as Imperiled, 2 as Vulnerable, 11 as Apparently Secure, 1 as Secure, and 8 as Unrankable. Of the 2 species occurring in Yukon, 1 was ranked as Apparently Secure and 1 as Unrankable. No species occurred in Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Of the 6 species occurring in British Columbia, 1 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 2 as Vulnerable, 2 as Apparently Secure, and 1 as Secure. All 2 species occurring in Alberta were ranked as Unrankable. No species occurred in Saskatchewan. All 3 species occurring in Manitoba were ranked as Unrankable. Of the 19 species occurring in Ontario, 3 were ranked as Imperiled, 9 as Apparently Secure, and 7 as Unrankable. All 14 species occurring in Quebec were ranked as Unranked. All 10 species occurring in New Brunswick were ranked as Unrankable. All 7 species occurring in Nova Scotia were ranked as Unrankable. All 3 species occurring in Prince Edward Island were ranked as Unrankable. No species occurred in Labrador and Newfoundland. There were no species listed as occurring in the oceanic regions.

Black flies

Photo of a black fly
Photo: Simulium sp. © Tom Murray

Black flies refer to the family Simuliidae. Small, dark, stout, and hunch-backed, black flies are most abundant in boreal areas but occur almost everywhere in Canada that moving water is present. The larvae attach themselves to substrate in streams and rivers and filter food from flowing water. The larvae contribute to nutrient cycling in aquatic environments, and their sheer numbers make them important players in the food web. Adults feed on nectar, and most females require a blood meal to mature their eggs. Their biting torments many animals (not least ourselves!) and has led to weight loss, decreased milk production and even death of Canadian livestock. Black fly harassment can decrease caribou feeding during their brief window of summer forage. Black flies have been fairly intensively studied since the 1950s, particularly with respect to their social impacts, but many regions, particularly in northern Canada, remain under-sampled. The biggest threats to black flies are water pollution and climate change.

There are 160 known species of black flies in Canada (Figure 25). The majority of these species are apparently secure or secure (61%). There is one species that is critically imperiled, and four species that are imperiled. These five species have a range in Canada that is intermediary (from 11% to 74%). In total, one species has a high priority score (between 1 and 5). Also, there are no exotic species known at the national level. We do not have enough knowledge on 42 species to give them a rank other than NU or NNR. No species of black flies are considered migratory.

All the black flies were assessed in the Wild Species 2010 report. Since then, 39 species had a change in their status at the national level. A total of eight species had an increased level of risk, three species had a reduced level of risk, and 24 species were changed from or to ranks U, NR, NA. Also, one species has been added to the list and three have been deleted from the list. Most of the changes (90%) are due to a procedural change.

Figure 25. General status of black flies in Canada in 2015.
Bar graph (see long description below)
Long description for figure 25

Figure 25 shows the general status of black flies in Canada in 2015. The bar graph shows the number of black fly species ranked presumed extirpated, possibly extirpated, critically imperiled, imperiled, vulnerable, apparently secure, secure, unrankable, unranked and not applicable in Canada, each province and territory and the 4 oceanic regions. Of the 160 species occurring in Canada, 1 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 4 as Imperiled, 15 as Vulnerable, 47 as Apparently Secure, 51 as Secure, and 42 as Unrankable. Of the 51 species occurring in Yukon, 4 were ranked as Vulnerable, 27 as Apparently Secure, 1 as Secure, and 19 as Unrankable. Of the 60 species occurring in Northwest Territories, 5 were ranked as Vulnerable, 38 as Apparently Secure, and 17 as Unrankable. Of the 35 species occurring in Nunavut, 7 were ranked as Vulnerable, 20 as Apparently Secure, and 8 as Unrankable. Of the 81 species occurring in British Columbia, 1 was ranked as Imperiled, 8 as Imperiled, 22 as Vulnerable, 34 as Apparently Secure, 4 as Secure, 11 as Unrankable, and 1 as Unranked. Of the 70 species occurring in Alberta, 1 was ranked as Imperiled, 30 as Vulnerable, 29 as Apparently Secure, and 10 as Unrankable. Of the 45 species occurring in Saskatchewan, 6 were ranked as Vulnerable, 21 as Apparently Secure, and 18 as Unrankable. Of the 42 species occurring in Manitoba, 6 were ranked as Vulnerable, 20 as Apparently Secure, 1 as Secure, and 15 as Unrankable. Of the 64 species occurring in Ontario, 31 were ranked as Apparently Secure, 1 as Secure, and 32 as Unrankable. All 66 species occurring in Quebec were ranked as Unranked. All 24 species occurring in New Brunswick were ranked as Unrankable. All 13 species occurring in Nova Scotia were ranked as Unrankable. All 20 species occurring in Prince Edward Island were ranked as Unrankable. Of the 30 species occurring in Labrador, 6 were ranked as Apparently Secure and 24 as Unrankable. Of the 26 species occurring in Newfoundland, 1 was ranked as Vulnerable, 15 as Apparently Secure, and 10 as Unrankable. There were no species listed as occurring in the oceanic regions.

Mosquitoes

Photo of a Permanent Marsh Mosquito
Photo: Permanent Marsh Mosquito ( Anopheles walkeri) © Tom Murray

Mosquitoes refer to the family Culicidae. Mosquitoes are slender flies with long legs and an extended proboscis. Females lay eggs on the surface of stagnant water, and the aquatic larvae feed on organic detritus and breathe air through a tube at their tail end. They are fed on by fishes, larval dragonflies, and other aquatic invertebrates, while adults are prey to dragonflies, bats and birds. Nectar is the main energy source for all mosquitoes, but females also require blood to develop their eggs, and are attracted to the carbon dioxide and heat emitted by vertebrate hosts. While humans are not usually their first choice, our thin skin and relative hairlessness make us appealing targets. Once their first eggs are laid, females seek more blood for subsequent batches, and can transmit disease, such as West Nile Virus, when they sting more than one host. While nuisance and virus-transmitting species are well-researched, the majority of mosquitoes do not feed on humans and are poorly understood. Threats include wetland and forest loss, water pollution, pesticides (which can kill non-nuisance mosquitoes and lead to pesticide resistance), and climate change.

There are 80 known species of mosquitoes in Canada (Figure 26). The majority of these species are apparently secure or secure (80%). There are no species known as may be at risk at the national level. We also identified three species that are exotic at the national level. We do not have enough knowledge on 12 species to give them a rank other than NU or NNR. No species of mosquitoes are considered migratory.

All the mosquitoes were assessed in the Wild Species 2010 report. Since then, 13 species had a change in their status at the national level. A total of 11 species were changed from or to ranks U, NR, NA. Also, one species has been added to the list and one has been deleted from the list. Most of the changes (62%) are due to a procedural change.

Figure 26. General status of mosquitoes in Canada in 2015.
Bar graph (see long description below)
Long description for figure 26

Figure 26 shows the general status of mosquitoes in Canada in 2015. The bar graph shows the number of mosquito species ranked presumed extirpated, possibly extirpated, critically imperiled, imperiled, vulnerable, apparently secure, secure, unrankable, unranked and not applicable in Canada, each province and territory and the 4 oceanic regions. Of the 80 species occurring in Canada, 1 was ranked as Vulnerable, 8 as Apparently Secure, 56 as Secure, 12 as Unrankable, and 3 as Not Applicable. Of the 30 species occurring in Yukon, 8 were ranked as Apparently Secure, 10 as Secure, and 12 as Unrankable. Of the 33 species occurring in Northwest Territories, 18 were ranked as Apparently Secure and 15 as Unrankable. Of the 11 species occurring in Nunavut, 2 were ranked as Apparently Secure and 9 as Secure. Of the 46 species occurring in British Columbia, 2 were ranked as Vulnerable, 10 as Apparently Secure, 30 as Secure, 3 as Unrankable, and 1 as Not Applicable. Of the 42 species occurring in Alberta, 26 were ranked as Apparently Secure, 15 as Secure, and 1 as Unrankable. Of the 40 species occurring in Saskatchewan, 26 were ranked as Apparently Secure, 12 as Secure, and 2 as Unrankable. Of the 45 species occurring in Manitoba, 28 were ranked as Apparently Secure, 15 as Secure, and 2 as Unrankable. Of the 64 species occurring in Ontario, 1 was ranked as Vulnerable, 18 as Apparently Secure, 34 as Secure, 9 as Unrankable, and 2 as Not Applicable. Of the 50 species occurring in Quebec, 49 were ranked as Unranked and 1 as Not Applicable. Of the 42 species occurring in New Brunswick, 1 was ranked as Apparently Secure, 17 as Secure, 21 as Unrankable, and 3 as Not Applicable. Of the 27 species occurring in Nova Scotia, 2 were ranked as Apparently Secure, 9 as Secure, 15 as Unrankable, and 1 as Not Applicable. Of the 31 species occurring in Prince Edward Island, 17 were ranked as Apparently Secure and 14 as Unrankable. All 26 species occurring in Labrador were ranked as Unrankable. Of the 26 species occurring in Newfoundland, 5 were ranked as Apparently Secure and 21 as Unrankable. There were no species listed as occurring in the oceanic regions.

Horse flies

Photo of the Agitated Deer Fly
Photo: Agitated Deer Fly ( Chrysops excitans) © Stephen Luk

Horse flies refer to the family Tabanidae. For many outdoor enthusiasts, horse flies need no introduction. They are large, aggressive, persistent, and they bite. Their prominent eyes are often iridescent, and in males can cover most of the head. Deer flies are a genus of this family that are smaller and have banded wings. Horse fly larvae are aquatic and hunt other immature insects. Adults feed on plant nectar and most females require a blood meal to mature their eggs. They feed on blood by using their knife-like mouthparts to slash skin, and then lap up the blood. Interesting fact, Hine’s Horse Fly (Hybomitra hinei) is the fastest known flying insect, having been clocked at 145 km/h for a brief instant as it took flight. Many species often meet at hilltops to find each other, and males perform quick acrobatic manoeuvers to catch and mate with fast flying females. They are most active on warm sunny days. Horse fly adults are eaten by birds and flying insects, but egg predators, such as parasitoid wasps, are the most important control agents. While horse flies have gained research attention due to their biting habits, much remains to be learnt about their life history, taxonomy and ecology. Their broad distribution is known in Canada but many regional gaps exist. Potential threats include the loss or degradation of wetland and forest habitats.

There are 144 known species of horse flies in Canada (Figure 27). The majority of these species are apparently secure or secure (72%). There is one species that is possibly extirpated, four species that are critically imperiled, and seven species that are imperiled. Of these 12 species, 10 have only a small part of their range in Canada (10% or less) and two are intermediary (from 11% to 74%). All species have a lower priority score. Also, there are no exotic species known at the national level. We do not have enough knowledge on 22 species to give them a rank other than NU or NNR. No species of horse flies are considered migratory.

All the horse flies were assessed in the Wild Species 2010 report. Since then, 19 species had a change in their status at the national level. A total of five species had an increased level of risk, one species had a reduced level of risk, and 11 species were changed from or to ranks U, NR, NA. Also, one species has been added to the list and one has been deleted from the list. Most of the changes (63%) are due to a procedural change.

Figure 27. General status of horse flies in Canada in 2015.
Bar graph (see long description below)
Long description for figure 27

Figure 27shows the general status of horse flies in Canada in 2015. The bar graph shows the number of horse fly species ranked presumed extirpated, possibly extirpated, critically imperiled, imperiled, vulnerable, apparently secure, secure, unrankable, unranked and not applicable in Canada, each province and territory and the 4 oceanic regions. Of the 144 species occurring in Canada, 1 was ranked as Possibly Extirpated, 4 as Critically Imperiled, 7 as Imperiled, 7 as Vulnerable, 45 as Apparently Secure, 58 as Secure, and 22 as Unrankable. Of the 29 species occurring in Yukon, 9 were ranked as Apparently Secure, 9 as Secure, and 11 as Unrankable. Of the 25 species occurring in Northwest Territories, 1 was ranked as Vulnerable, 15 as Apparently Secure, and 9 as Unrankable. Of the 25 species occurring in Nunavut, 1 was ranked as Vulnerable and 24 as Unrankable. Of the 63 species occurring in British Columbia, 4 were ranked as Imperiled, 10 as Vulnerable, 31 as Apparently Secure, 10 as Secure, and 8 as Unrankable. Of the 50 species occurring in Alberta, 17 were ranked as Vulnerable, 20 as Apparently Secure, and 13 as Unrankable. Of the 38 species occurring in Saskatchewan, 11 were ranked as Vulnerable, 18 as Apparently Secure, and 9 as Unrankable. Of the 54 species occurring in Manitoba, 10 were ranked as Vulnerable, 25 as Apparently Secure, and 19 as Unrankable. Of the 101 species occurring in Ontario, 1 was ranked as Possibly Extirpated, 4 as Critically Imperiled, 4 as Imperiled, 4 as Vulnerable, 43 as Apparently Secure, 23 as Secure, and 22 as Unrankable. All 78 species occurring in Quebec were ranked as Unranked. Of the 62 species occurring in New Brunswick, 4 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 4 as Imperiled, 1 as Vulnerable, 8 as Apparently Secure, 34 as Secure, and 11 as Unrankable. Of the 57 species occurring in Nova Scotia, 1 was ranked as Imperiled, 22 as Secure, and 34 as Unrankable. All 20 species occurring in Prince Edward Island were ranked as Unrankable. Of the 26 species occurring in Labrador, 15 were ranked as Apparently Secure and 11 as Unrankable. Of the 23 species occurring in Newfoundland, 1 was ranked as Vulnerable, 11 as Apparently Secure, and 11 as Unrankable. There were no species listed as occurring in the oceanic regions.

Bee flies

Photo of a white fuzzy Bearded Bee Fly
Photo: Bearded Bee Fly ( Anastoechus barbatus) © Jeffrey P. Gruber

Bee flies refer to the family Bombyliidae. Some species of bee flies are covered with golden hairs, and are considered as the cutest insects ever. Bee flies often produce high-pitched buzzing sounds while hovering near flowers. Adults sip nectar through their long proboscis, and the sticky hairs on their legs and bodies make them effective pollinators. Larvae feed on immature insects, and help to control agricultural pests. Females coat their eggs with sand to protect them, and deposit them near a larval food source such as an insect nest. Once the larvae find a meal, they latch on with their mouth and proceed to slowly eat their host alive. Bee flies are poorly known in Canada though conspicuous species are fairly well represented in general collections. They are the focus of ongoing taxonomic research and there is increasing interest in their role as pollinators. Bee flies are most threatened by habitat loss, pesticides, and the use of fire for prairie maintenance.
There are 116 known species of bee flies in Canada (Figure 28). Many species are apparently secure or secure (28%).

There is one species that is possibly extirpated, nine species that are critically imperiled, and six species that are imperiled. Of these 16 species, 15 have only a small part of their range in Canada (10% or less) and one is intermediary (from 11% to 74%). All species have a lower priority score. Also, there are no exotic species known at the national level. We do not have enough knowledge on 48 species to give them a rank other than NU or NNR. No species of bee flies are considered migratory.

Figure 28. General status of bee flies in Canada in 2015.
Bar graph (see long description below)
Long description for figure 28

Figure 28 shows the general status of bee flies in Canada in 2015. The bar graph shows the number of bee fly species ranked presumed extirpated, possibly extirpated, critically imperiled, imperiled, vulnerable, apparently secure, secure, unrankable, unranked and not applicable in Canada, each province and territory and the 4 oceanic regions. Of the 116 species occurring in Canada, 1 was ranked as Possibly Extirpated, 9 as Critically Imperiled, 16 as Vulnerable, 24 as Apparently Secure, 9 as Secure, 47 as Unrankable, 1 as Unranked, and 3 as Not Applicable. Of the 12 species occurring in Yukon, 8 were ranked as Apparently Secure and 4 as Unrankable. Of the 12 species occurring in Northwest Territories, 2 were ranked as Apparently Secure and 10 as Unrankable. No species occurred in Nunavut. Of the 68 species occurring in British Columbia, 1 was ranked as Possibly Extirpated, 8 as Critically Imperiled, 4 as Imperiled, 18 as Vulnerable, 13 as Apparently Secure, 3 as Secure, and 21 as Unrankable. Of the 58 species occurring in Alberta, 20 were ranked as Vulnerable, 6 as Apparently Secure, and 32 as Unrankable. Of the 40 species occurring in Saskatchewan, 7 were ranked as Vulnerable, 2 as Apparently Secure, and 31 as Unrankable. Of the 30 species occurring in Manitoba, 5 were ranked as Vulnerable, 3 as Apparently Secure, and 22 as Unrankable. Of the 52 species occurring in Ontario, 2 were ranked as Possibly Extirpated, 3 as Critically Imperiled, 4 as Imperiled, 14 as Vulnerable, 10 as Apparently Secure, 3 as Secure, and 16 as Unrankable. All 29 species occurring in Quebec were ranked as Unranked. Of the 19 species occurring in New Brunswick, 1 was ranked as Apparently Secure, 2 as Secure, 14 as Unrankable, and 2 as Not Applicable. Of the 6 species occurring in Nova Scotia, 2 were ranked as Secure, 3 as Unrankable, and 1 as Not Applicable. All 4 species occurring in Prince Edward Island were ranked as Unrankable. The 1 species occurring in Labrador was ranked as Unrankable. All 3 species occurring in Newfoundland were ranked as Unrankable. There were no species listed as occurring in the oceanic regions.

Flower flies

Photo of a yellow stripped flower fly, on a leaf.
Photo: Xanthogramma flavipes © Tom D. Schultz

Flower flies refer to the family Syrphidae. Flower flies are colourful, conspicuous insects often found hovering near flowers. Many have yellow and black stripes, effectively mimicking bees and wasps to discourage potential predators. They do not sting however, and have two wings while bees and wasps have four. Flower flies have tremendous ecological and economic significance; the adults are important pollinators, and many larval species are voracious predators of agricultural pests like aphids. Still others are mimics in their own right, producing ant-like pheromones which allow them to live in ant colonies and feed on their hosts. While the life history, distribution and habitat requirements of some species are still poorly understood, research into their provision of environmental services has been increasing. Threats include habitat loss and alteration, pollution, insecticides, and urbanization. Species requiring specific environments such as hilltops or old-growth forest tree holes are most vulnerable.

There are 524 known species of flower flies in Canada (Figure 29). The majority of these species are apparently secure or secure (50%). There are four species that are critically imperiled, and 15 species that are imperiled. Of these 19 species, 11 have only a small part of their range in Canada (10% or less) and seven are intermediary (from 11% to 74%). However, one species has 75% or more of its range in Canada. This species is thought to be endemic to Canada: Platycheirus hispidipes. In total, three species have a high priority score (between 1 and 5). We also identified nine species that are exotic at the national level. We do not have enough knowledge on 189 species to give them a rank other than NU or NNR. No species of flower flies are considered migratory.

Figure 29. General status of flower flies in Canada in 2015.
Bar graph (see long description below)
Long description for figure 29

Figure 29 shows the general status of flower flies in Canada in 2015. The bar graph shows the number of flower fly species ranked presumed extirpated, possibly extirpated, critically imperiled, imperiled, vulnerable, apparently secure, secure, unrankable, unranked and not applicable in Canada, each province and territory and the 4 oceanic regions. Of the 524 species occurring in Canada, 4 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 15 as Imperiled, 44 as Vulnerable, 140 as Apparently Secure, 122 as Secure, 184 as Unrankable, 5 as Unranked, and 10 as Not Applicable. Of the 160 species occurring in Yukon, 1 was ranked as Imperiled, 79 as Apparently Secure, 16 as Secure, 61 as Unrankable, 1 as Unranked, and 2 as Not Applicable. Of the 136 species occurring in Northwest Territories, 4 were ranked as Vulnerable, 48 as Apparently Secure, 83 as Unrankable, and 1 as Not Applicable. Of the 35 species occurring in Nunavut, 1 was ranked as Possibly Extirpated, 11 as Vulnerable, 7 as Apparently Secure, and 16 as Unrankable. Of the 332 species occurring in British Columbia, 4 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 16 as Imperiled, 74 as Vulnerable, 123 as Apparently Secure, 5 as Secure, 101 as Unrankable, and 9 as Not Applicable. Of the 256 species occurring in Alberta, 3 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 8 as Imperiled, 65 as Vulnerable, 65 as Apparently Secure, 109 as Unrankable, and 6 as Not Applicable. Of the 124 species occurring in Saskatchewan, 1 was ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 1 as Critically Imperiled, 1 as Imperiled, 32 as Vulnerable, 23 as Apparently Secure, 61 as Unrankable, and 5 as Not Applicable. Of the 205 species occurring in Manitoba, 4 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 4 as Imperiled, 58 as Vulnerable, 45 as Apparently Secure, 89 as Unrankable, and 5 as Not Applicable. Of the 310 species occurring in Ontario, 1 was ranked as Possibly Extirpated, 2 as Critically Imperiled, 10 as Imperiled, 51 as Vulnerable, 152 as Apparently Secure, 19 as Secure, 63 as Unrankable, and 12 as Not Applicable. Of the 283 species occurring in Quebec, 276 were ranked as Unranked and 7 as Not Applicable. Of the 205 species occurring in New Brunswick, 1 was ranked as Possibly Extirpated, 25 as Apparently Secure, 12 as Secure, 161 as Unrankable, and 6 as Not Applicable. Of the 186 species occurring in Nova Scotia, 1 was ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 12 as Apparently Secure, 4 as Secure, 161 as Unrankable, and 8 as Not Applicable. Of the 42 species occurring in Prince Edward Island, 37 were ranked as Unrankable and 5 as Not Applicable. Of the 75 species occurring in Labrador, 72 were ranked as Unranked and 3 as Not Applicable. Of the 99 species occurring in Newfoundland, 93 were ranked as Unranked and 6 as Not Applicable. There were no species listed as occurring in the oceanic regions.

Decapods

Photo of a Virile Crayfish
Photo: Virile Crayfish ( Orconectes virilis) © Casey Swecker

Decapods refer to the order Decapoda. Decapods are a large order of crustaceans that include both marine animals (lobsters, crabs, and shrimp), and freshwater species (crayfish). They breathe using gills and have 10 pairs of legs and stalked eyes which can see in all directions. Many are omnivorous, and they use their antennae to sense food in the water. They have a jointed exoskeleton which they moult several times as they grow. Marine decapods are ecologically significant; by suppressing herbivores, they help to maintain kelp forest, marsh grass, and other crucial habitats. They also contribute enormously to Canadian fishery revenue, and commercial animals have been well studied. Canadian researchers recently developed a method to age lobsters, crabs and shrimp by counting annual growth rings on their eye stalk, one of the few body parts not lost to moulting. This information is central to stock management. Threats to marine species include overfishing, pollution, acidification and climate change, while freshwater species are impacted by habitat loss, competition from exotic species, pollution and acidification.

There are 316 known species of decapods in Canada (Figure 30). Many species are apparently secure or secure (43%). There are no species known as may be at risk at the national level. We also identified five species that are exotic at the national level. We do not have enough knowledge on 148 species to give them a rank other than NU or NNR. No species of decapods are considered migratory.

The crayfishes were assessed in the Wild Species 2010 report. Since then, no species had a change in their status at the national level.

Figure 30. General status of decapods in Canada in 2015.
Bar graph (see long description below)
Long description for figure 30

Figure 30 shows the general status of decapods in Canada in 2015. The bar graph shows the number of decapod species ranked presumed extirpated, possibly extirpated, critically imperiled, imperiled, vulnerable, apparently secure, secure, unrankable, unranked and not applicable in Canada, each province and territory and the 4 oceanic regions. Of the 316 species occurring in Canada, 9 were ranked as Vulnerable, 9 as Apparently Secure, 128 as Secure, 145 as Unrankable, 3 as Unranked, and 22 as Not Applicable. No species occurred in Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. The 1 species occurring in British Columbia was ranked as Apparently Secure. The 1 species occurring in Alberta was ranked as Unrankable. The 1 species occurring in Saskatchewan was ranked as Unrankable. Of the 3 species occurring in Manitoba, 1 was ranked as Vulnerable, 1 as Apparently Secure, and 1 as Not Applicable. Of the 12 species occurring in Ontario, 2 were ranked as Vulnerable, 5 as Apparently Secure, 1 as Unrankable, and 4 as Not Applicable. Of the 8 species occurring in Quebec, 5 were ranked as Apparently Secure and 3 as Not Applicable. Of the 3 species occurring in New Brunswick, 1 was ranked as Secure and 2 as Not Applicable. The 1 species occurring in Nova Scotia was ranked as Not Applicable. No species occurred in Prince Edward Island, Labrador, and Newfoundland. Of the 200 species occurring in the Pacific Ocean region, 6 were ranked as Vulnerable, 3 as Apparently Secure, 88 as Secure, 83 as Unrankable, and 20 as Not Applicable. All 20 species occurring in the Western Arctic Ocean region were ranked as Unrankable. Of the 42 species occurring in the Eastern Arctic Ocean region, 14 were ranked as Secure and 28 as Unrankable. Of the 112 species occurring in the Atlantic Ocean region, 1 was ranked as Vulnerable, 1 as Apparently Secure, 40 as Secure, 62 as Unrankable, 3 as Unranked, and 5 as Not Applicable.

Sea cucumbers

Photo of a White-knobbed Sea Cucumber
Photo: White-knobbed Sea Cucumber ( Apostichopus leukothele) © Neil McDaniel

Sea cucumbers refer to the class Holothuroidea. Sea cucumbers are cylindrical, soft-bodied animals that live on the ocean floor. They have limited mobility, but can move a few metres in a day while feeding, and some undertake seasonal movements to different depths. They have a mouth at one end surrounded by sticky food-gathering tentacles, and an anus at the other that excretes waste and pumps water into its respiratory tree. Most mate by broadcasting their sperm or eggs into the surrounding water to be fertilized. The young float for a few weeks before settling, and in temperate regions, take several years to mature. Ecologically, sea cucumbers are nutrient recyclers and hosts to many commensal species that live on or inside them. When threatened, some species can expel their internal organs (which are later regenerated), ensnaring their predator in a tangled mess. Sea cucumbers have received increased attention in recent decades alongside their growing economic value. Despite increased study of commercial species, many knowledge gaps exist. It is difficult to observe juveniles or to age adults, making stock assessment a challenge. Threats include overfishing, by-catch mortality, dredging, oil spills, deforestation (which increases runoff), and hydrological changes from power dams.

There are 75 known species of sea cucumbers in Canada (Figure 31). The majority of these species are apparently secure or secure (59%). There are no species known as may be at risk at the national level. There are no exotic species known at the national level. We do not have enough knowledge on 29 species to give them a rank other than NU or NNR. No species of sea cucumbers are considered migratory.

Figure 31. General status of sea cucumbers in Canada in 2015.
Bar graph (see long description below)
Long description for figure 31

Figure 31shows the general status of sea cucumbers in Canada in 2015. The bar graph shows the number of sea cucumber species ranked presumed extirpated, possibly extirpated, critically imperiled, imperiled, vulnerable, apparently secure, secure, unrankable, unranked and not applicable in Canada, each province and territory and the 4 oceanic regions. Of the 75 species occurring in Canada, 44 were ranked as Secure, 27 as Unrankable, 2 as Unranked, and 2 as Not Applicable. Of the 47 species occurring in the Pacific Ocean region, 26 were ranked as Secure, 19 as Unrankable, and 2 as Not Applicable. All 9 species occurring in the Western Arctic Ocean region were ranked as Unrankable. Of the 10 species occurring in the Eastern Arctic Ocean region, 3 were ranked as Secure and 7 as Unrankable. Of the 24 species occurring in the Atlantic Ocean region, 18 were ranked as Secure, 4 as Unrankable, and 2 as Unranked.

Sea urchins

Photo of several Purple Sea Urchin
Photo: Purple Sea Urchin ( Strongylocentrotus purpuratus) © Fletcher & Baylis

Sea urchins refer to the class Echinoidea. Sometimes referred to as porcupines of the sea, sea urchins are spherical invertebrate animals encased in a shell covered by spines. They move slowly over the ocean bottom using adhesive tube feet, and their downward-facing mouth has sharp teeth for scraping algae, crushing small animals, or excavating refuges in rock or coral. Females release millions of eggs for external fertilization, and the free-floating larvae need several months to complete their development before settling on the bottom and undergoing metamorphosis. Sea urchins are ecosystem engineers, capable of devastating the productivity of coastal areas by grazing kelp forests into “urchin barrens” when their populations are unchecked. Juveniles are vulnerable to predation and often shelter under the spines of their elders. Adults are more protected, though are hunted by crustaceans, fishes, and sea otters that use rocks to crack their shells. Canadian fisheries have developed for their roe (gonads). Threats to sea urchins include pollution and climate change. Some larvae are temperature-restricted, and a pathogen affecting populations in Atlantic Canada is increasing its range in conjunction with rising winter temperatures. Carbon dioxide-induced ocean acidification affects sea urchins’ ability to form shells, in turn impacting their growth, feeding, swimming, and sensitivity to water temperature.

There are 38 known species of sea urchins in Canada (Figure 32). The majority of these species are apparently secure or secure (55%). There are no species known as may be at risk at the national level. There are no exotic species known at the national level. We do not have enough knowledge on 16 species to give them a rank other than NU or NNR. No species of sea urchins are considered migratory.

Figure 32. General status of sea urchins in Canada in 2015.
Bar graph (see long description below)
Long description for figure 32

Figure 32shows the general status of sea urchins in Canada in 2015. The bar graph shows the number of sea urchin species ranked presumed extirpated, possibly extirpated, critically imperiled, imperiled, vulnerable, apparently secure, secure, unrankable, unranked and not applicable in Canada, each province and territory and the 4 oceanic regions. Of the 38 species occurring in Canada, 1 was ranked as Vulnerable, 21 as Secure, 15 as Unrankable, and 1 as Unranked. Of the 19 species occurring in the Pacific Ocean region, 1 was ranked as Vulnerable, 6 as Secure, and 12 as Unrankable. All 3 species occurring in the Western Arctic Ocean region were ranked as Unrankable. Of the 8 species occurring in the Eastern Arctic Ocean region, 6 were ranked as Secure and 2 as Unrankable. Of the 20 species occurring in the Atlantic Ocean region, 17 were ranked as Secure, 2 as Unrankable, and 1 as Unranked.

Fishes

Photo of a fish, Gadus morhua
Photo: Gadus morhua © Kelly Bentham

Fishes refer to the superclass Agnatha (jawless fishes such as lampreys), the class Chondrichthyes (cartilaginous fishes such as sharks), and the superclass Osteichthyes (bony fishes such as salmons). Fishes have evolved following multiple events from different lineages. They are ectothermic (cold-blooded) vertebrates that live underwater, breathe with gills, and usually have scales. Some species live exclusively in fresh waters, others exclusively in salt waters, and others migrate from one to the other for reproduction. Fishes generally lay eggs and provide little care for their young. They eat a variety of foods including algae, plants, invertebrates, and other fishes. Active predators such as tunas are streamlined and fast; other lie-in-wait predators ambush passing prey; and plankton-feeders like herrings filter their food with gill rakers. Significant research has been done on important commercial and recreational species; others are less well understood, particularly deep-water marine and Arctic species. Overfishing is a significant threat to marine fishes. Some species had significant declines due to fishing activities. Other concerns for Canadian fishes include habitat loss and degradation, pollution, contamination, climate change, interactions with farmed fishes, and invasive species.

There are 1379 known species of fishes in Canada (Figure 33). Many species are apparently secure or secure (31%). There are three species that are presumed extirpated, one species that is possibly extirpated, nine species that are critically imperiled, and 25 species that are imperiled. Of these 38 species, 19 have only a small part of their range in Canada (10% or less) and 15 are intermediary (from 11% to 74%). However, four species have 75% or more of their range in Canada. Among those, three species are thought to be endemic to Canada: Coregonus huntsmani, Entosphenus macrostomus, Moxostoma hubbsi. In total, seven species have a high priority score (between 1 and 5). We also identified 15 species that are exotic at the national level. We do not have enough knowledge on 521 species to give them a rank other than NU or NNR. In total, 112 species of fishes are considered migratory.

All the fishes were assessed in the Wild Species 2005 report. Since then, 729 species had a change in their status at the national level. A total of 15 species had an increased level of risk, 29 species had a reduced level of risk, and 523 species were changed from or to ranks U, NR, NA. Also, 76 species have been added to the list and 86 have been deleted from the list. Most of the changes (88%) are due to an improved knowledge of the species.

Figure 33. General status of fishes in Canada in 2015.
Bar graph (see long description below)
Long description for figure 33

Figure 33shows the general status of fishes in Canada in 2015. The bar graph shows the number of fish species ranked presumed extirpated, possibly extirpated, critically imperiled, imperiled, vulnerable, apparently secure, secure, unrankable, unranked and not applicable in Canada, each province and territory and the 4 oceanic regions. Of the 1379 species occurring in Canada, 3 were ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 1 as Possibly Extirpated, 9 as Critically Imperiled, 25 as Imperiled, 54 as Vulnerable, 53 as Apparently Secure, 381 as Secure, 521 as Unrankable, and 332 as Not Applicable. Of the 37 species occurring in Yukon, 1 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 7 as Vulnerable, 9 as Apparently Secure, 6 as Secure, 5 as Unrankable, 2 as Unranked, and 3 as Not Applicable. Of the 51 species occurring in Northwest Territories, 4 were ranked as Imperiled, 1 as Secure, 10 as Unrankable, and 7 as Not Applicable. Of the 28 species occurring in Nunavut, 5 were ranked as Vulnerable, 7 as Secure, 15 as Unrankable, and 1 as Not Applicable. Of the 86 species occurring in British Columbia, 3 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 9 as Imperiled, 8 as Vulnerable, 21 as Apparently Secure, 21 as Secure, 4 as Unrankable, 3 as Unranked, and 17 as Not Applicable. Of the 65 species occurring in Alberta, 3 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 9 as Imperiled, 6 as Vulnerable, 4 as Apparently Secure, 25 as Secure, 5 as Unrankable, and 13 as Not Applicable. Of the 70 species occurring in Saskatchewan, 6 were ranked as Imperiled, 17 as Vulnerable, 9 as Apparently Secure, 26 as Secure, 1 as Unrankable, and 11 as Not Applicable. Of the 93 species occurring in Manitoba, 6 were ranked as Imperiled, 4 as Vulnerable, 8 as Apparently Secure, 57 as Secure, 4 as Unrankable, and 14 as Not Applicable. Of the 154 species occurring in Ontario, 3 were ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 1 as Possibly Extirpated, 6 as Critically Imperiled, 13 as Imperiled, 14 as Vulnerable, 43 as Apparently Secure, 46 as Secure, 8 as Unrankable, and 20 as Not Applicable. Of the 116 species occurring in Quebec, 4 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 5 as Imperiled, 18 as Vulnerable, 30 as Apparently Secure, 46 as Secure, 1 as Unrankable, 1 as Unranked, and 11 as Not Applicable. Of the 52 species occurring in New Brunswick, 1 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 1 as Imperiled, 5 as Vulnerable, 10 as Apparently Secure, 26 as Secure, 1 as Unrankable, and 8 as Not Applicable. Of the 40 species occurring in Nova Scotia, 2 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 3 as Imperiled, 6 as Vulnerable, 3 as Apparently Secure, 18 as Secure, 1 as Unrankable, and 7 as Not Applicable. Of the 26 species occurring in Prince Edward Island, 4 were ranked as Imperiled, 3 as Apparently Secure, 10 as Secure, 1 as Unrankable, and 8 as Not Applicable. Of the 28 species occurring in Labrador, 4 were ranked as Vulnerable, 3 as Apparently Secure, 12 as Secure, 3 as Unrankable, and 6 as Not Applicable. Of the 19 species occurring in Newfoundland, 1 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 5 as Vulnerable, 4 as Apparently Secure, 3 as Secure, and 6 as Not Applicable. Of the 432 species occurring in the Pacific Ocean region, 4 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 3 as Imperiled, 22 as Vulnerable, 73 as Secure, 295 as Unrankable, and 35 as Not Applicable. Of the 75 species occurring in the Western Arctic Ocean region, 1 was ranked as Imperiled, 2 as Vulnerable, 3 as Apparently Secure, 9 as Secure, 56 as Unrankable, and 4 as Not Applicable. Of the 287 species occurring in the Eastern Arctic Ocean region, 4 were ranked as Imperiled, 6 as Vulnerable, 15 as Secure, 237 as Unrankable, and 25 as Not Applicable. Of the 776 species occurring in the Atlantic Ocean region, 1 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 10 as Imperiled, 19 as Vulnerable, 13 as Apparently Secure, 232 as Secure, 197 as Unrankable, and 304 as Not Applicable.

Amphibians

Photo of a Great Plains Toad
Photo: Great Plains Toad ( Anaxyrus cognatus) © Erik Enderson

Amphibians refer to the class Amphibia. Amphibians are ectothermic (cold-blooded) vertebrates with soft, moist skin. Many of Canada’s frog, toad, newt and salamander species have aquatic larvae that develop into terrestrial adults. Amphibians can breathe through their skin, which is not waterproof. This puts them at risk of dehydration, and they are often active at night to reduce water loss. The Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) has the most northerly distribution, and produce antifreeze-like cryoprotectants to protect their tissues during hibernation. These are studied by researchers investigating methods to freeze organs for transplantation. The biology, physiology, and natural history of many species in Canada are well known. Less understood are the distribution, abundance and population structure of some regional groups. Monitoring is challenging due to the small size, cryptic appearance, and secretive behaviours of many species. Habitat loss and fragmentation are major threats to amphibians; in some parts of Canada, 90% of wetlands have been lost. Other threats include road mortality, pollution, contamination, and exotic species.

There are 48 known species of amphibians in Canada (Figure 34). The majority of these species are apparently secure or secure (63%). There is one species that is presumed extirpated, two species that are critically imperiled, and five species that are imperiled. All of these eight species have only a small part of their range in Canada (10% or less) and have a lower priority score. Also, there are no exotic species known at the national level. No species are ranked NU or NNR due to a lack of knowledge. No species of amphibians are considered migratory.

All the amphibians were assessed in the Wild Species 2010 report. Since then, 10 species had a change in their status at the national level. A total of three species had an increased level of risk, and six species had a reduced level of risk. Also, one species has been added to the list. Most of the changes (50%) are due to a procedural change.

Figure 34. General status of amphibians in Canada in 2015.
Bar graph (see long description below)
Long description for figure 34

Figure 34 shows the general status of amphibians in Canada in 2015. The bar graph shows the number of amphibian species ranked presumed extirpated, possibly extirpated, critically imperiled, imperiled, vulnerable, apparently secure, secure, unrankable, unranked and not applicable in Canada, each province and territory and the 4 oceanic regions. Of the 48 species occurring in Canada, 1 was ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 2 as Critically Imperiled, 5 as Imperiled, 9 as Vulnerable, 12 as Apparently Secure, 18 as Secure, and 1 as Not Applicable. Of the 5 species occurring in Yukon, 1 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 1 as Imperiled, 1 as Vulnerable, 1 as Apparently Secure, and 1 as Secure. Of the 4 species occurring in Northwest Territories, 1 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 1 as Imperiled, 1 as Vulnerable, and 1 as Apparently Secure. All 2 species occurring in Nunavut were ranked as Unrankable. Of the 22 species occurring in British Columbia, 2 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 3 as Imperiled, 5 as Vulnerable, 9 as Apparently Secure, 1 as Secure, and 2 as Not Applicable. Of the 10 species occurring in Alberta, 2 were ranked as Imperiled, 5 as Vulnerable, 1 as Apparently Secure, and 2 as Secure. Of the 7 species occurring in Saskatchewan, 2 were ranked as Vulnerable, 3 as Apparently Secure, and 2 as Secure. Of the 20 species occurring in Manitoba, 1 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 2 as Imperiled, 4 as Vulnerable, 6 as Apparently Secure, 3 as Secure, and 4 as Not Applicable. Of the 26 species occurring in Ontario, 3 were ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 3 as Critically Imperiled, 2 as Imperiled, 8 as Apparently Secure, and 10 as Secure. Of the 21 species occurring in Quebec, 3 were ranked as Imperiled, 3 as Vulnerable, 13 as Apparently Secure, and 2 as Secure. Of the 16 species occurring in New Brunswick, 1 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 1 as Vulnerable, 2 as Apparently Secure, and 12 as Secure. Of the 13 species occurring in Nova Scotia, 1 was ranked as Vulnerable and 12 as Secure. Of the 10  species occurring in Prince Edward Island, 1 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 4 as Apparently Secure, and 5 as Secure. Of the 7 species occurring in Labrador, 1 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 2 as Vulnerable, 2 as Apparently Secure, and 2 as Secure. All 4 species occurring in Newfoundland were ranked as Not Applicable. There were no species listed as occurring in the oceanic regions.

Reptiles

Photo of a Wood Turtle
Photo: Wood Turtle ( Glyptemys insculpta) © John Mosesso Jr.

Reptiles refer to the class Reptilia. Reptiles are vertebrates with scaly skin or bony shells. Most of our snakes, lizards, and turtles reach their northern limit in southern Canada. They are ectothermic (cold-blooded), and will bask in the sun or hide in the shade to regulate their temperature, and hibernate to escape the long cold winters. Reptiles generally lay soft, leathery eggs, but a few species give birth to live young, further protecting them from temperature extremes and predation. Some reptiles have additional sense organs: many snakes “smell” chemicals with their tongues, pit vipers sense the heat of warm-blooded prey, and sea turtles use magnetic fields to navigate thousands of kilometres to their tropical nesting beaches. While solitary, secretive species are not well researched, others, like the Common Gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis) which hibernate in communal dens of up to 10,000, are among the world’s best-studied snakes. Threats to terrestrial and freshwater reptiles include habitat fragmentation and destruction, road mortality, collection as pets, predators, pollution, invasive species, disease, and human persecution. Sea turtles are threatened by egg harvesting, loss and alteration of nesting beaches, pollution, consumption of garbage mistaken for prey, and injury from fishing equipment.

There are 49 known species of reptiles in Canada (Figure 35). Many species are apparently secure or secure (29%). There are four species that are presumed extirpated, five species that are critically imperiled, and six species that are imperiled. Of these 15 species, 13 have only a small part of their range in Canada (10% or less) and two are intermediary (from 11% to 74%). All species have a lower priority score. We also identified two species that are exotic at the national level. We do not have enough knowledge on two species to give them a rank other than NU or NNR. In total, four species of reptiles are considered migratory.

All the reptiles were assessed in the Wild Species 2010 report. Since then, 17 species had a change in their status at the national level. A total of two species had an increased level of risk, 11 species had a reduced level of risk, and three species were changed from or to ranks U, NR, NA. Also, one species has been added to the list. Most of the changes (47%) are due to an improved knowledge of the species.

Figure 35. General status of reptiles in Canada in 2015.
Bar graph (see long description below)
Long description for figure 35

Figure 35 shows the general status of reptiles in Canada in 2015. The bar graph shows the number of reptile species ranked presumed extirpated, possibly extirpated, critically imperiled, imperiled, vulnerable, apparently secure, secure, unrankable, unranked and not applicable in Canada, each province and territory and the 4 oceanic regions. Of the 49 species occurring in Canada, 4 were ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 5 as Critically Imperiled, 6 as Imperiled, 15 as Vulnerable, 5 as Apparently Secure, 9 as Secure, 2 as Unrankable, and 3 as Not Applicable. No species occurred in Yukon. The 1 species occurring in Northwest Territories was ranked as Imperiled. No species occurred in Nunavut. Of the 16 species occurring in British Columbia, 2 were ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 2 as Critically Imperiled, 1 as Imperiled, 4 as Vulnerable, 3 as Apparently Secure, 2 as Secure, and 2 as Not Applicable. Of the 9 species occurring in Alberta, 3 were ranked as Imperiled, 2 as Vulnerable, 3 as Apparently Secure, and 1 as Unrankable. Of the 12 species occurring in Saskatchewan, 1 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 2 as Imperiled, 3 as Vulnerable, 4 as Apparently Secure, 1 as Secure, and 1 as Unrankable. Of the 11 species occurring in Manitoba, 2 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 3 as Vulnerable, 3 as Apparently Secure, and 3 as Not Applicable. Of the 27 species occurring in Ontario, 2 were ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 1 as Critically Imperiled, 5 as Imperiled, 11 as Vulnerable, 3 as Apparently Secure, 4 as Secure, and 1 as Not Applicable. Of the 17 species occurring in Quebec, 1 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 4 as Imperiled, 4 as Vulnerable, 5 as Apparently Secure, 1 as Secure, and 2 as Unrankable. Of the 7 species occurring in New Brunswick, 1 was ranked as Imperiled, 1 as Vulnerable, 3 as Apparently Secure, and 2 as Secure. Of the 10 species occurring in Nova Scotia, 1 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 2 as Imperiled, 1 as Vulnerable, 3 as Secure, and 1 as Not Applicable. Of the 3 species occurring in Prince Edward Island, 1 was ranked as Imperiled, 1 as Apparently Secure, and 1 as Secure. No species occurred in Labrador. The 1 species occurring in Newfoundland was ranked as Not Applicable. Of the 4 species occurring in the Pacific Ocean region, 1 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 1 as Unrankable, and 2 as Not Applicable. No species occurred in the Western Arctic Ocean region and Eastern Arctic Ocean region. Of the 4 species occurring in the Atlantic Ocean region, 2 were ranked as Critically Imperiled and 2 as Unrankable.

Birds

Photo of a Red Knot
Photo: Red Knot ( Calidris canutus) © Raymond Belhumeur

Birds refer to the class Aves. Birds are endothermic (warm-blooded) vertebrates that lay eggs and have feathers, wings, and a beak. Their ability to fly allows them greater access to habitats and resources. Most species of birds are migratory, reproducing in Canada during the summer and overwintering in southern countries. The Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea) is doing one of the longest migrations from the Arctic to the Antarctic. However, other species do not migrate and stay year-round in Canada. Bird courtship is fascinating, and includes complex songs and displays, provision of food to potential mates, or the building of multiple nests. Courtship study has led to many advances in the areas of evolution and sexual selection. Birds are well-studied because they are relatively easy to observe, and popular with scientists and the public. Long-term surveys allow estimations of population sizes and trends in Canada, though knowledge is limited for species that breed in the north and for those whose populations vary with cycles in their food supply. Threats, which can impact birds in Canada or at their wintering grounds, include habitat loss and fragmentation, pollution, contamination, predation (particularly by cats), parasitism, disease, over-exploitation, competition from invasive species, climate change, and collisions.

There are 678 known species of birds in Canada (Figure 36). The majority of these species are apparently secure or secure (51%). There are four species that are presumed extirpated, 26 species that are critically imperiled, and 14 species that are imperiled. Of these 44 species, 30 have only a small part of their range in Canada (10% or less) and 13 are intermediary (from 11% to 74%). However, one species had 75% or more of its range in Canada. In total, eight species have a high priority score (between 1 and 5). We also identified 10 species that are exotic at the national level. We do not have enough knowledge on 17 species to give them a rank other than NU or NNR. In total, 412 species of birds are considered migratory.

All the birds were assessed in the Wild Species 2010 report. Since then, 122 species had a change in their status at the national level. A total of 18 species had an increased level of risk, 38 species had a reduced level of risk, and 24 species were changed from or to ranks U, NR, NA. Also, 28 species have been added to the list and 14 have been deleted from the list. Most of the changes (37%) are due to a procedural change.

Figure 36. General status of birds in Canada in 2015.
Bar graph (see long description below)
Long description for figure 36

Figure 36shows the general status of birds in Canada in 2015. The bar graph shows the number of bird species ranked presumed extirpated, possibly extirpated, critically imperiled, imperiled, vulnerable, apparently secure, secure, unrankable, unranked and not applicable in Canada, each province and territory and the 4 oceanic regions. Of the 678 species occurring in Canada, 4 were ranked as presumed Extirpated, 26 as Critically Imperiled, 14 as Imperiled, 48 as Vulnerable, 71 as Apparently Secure, 276 as Secure, 16 as Unrankable, 1 as Unranked, and 222 as Not Applicable. Of the 326 species occurring in Yukon, 31 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 10 as Imperiled, 48 as Vulnerable, 75 as Apparently Secure, 52 as Secure, 12 as Unrankable, 1 as Unranked, and 97 as Not Applicable. Of the 285 species occurring in Northwest Territories, 5 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 7 as Imperiled, 31 as Vulnerable, 53 as Apparently Secure, 98 as Secure, 43 as Unrankable, and 48 as Not Applicable. Of the 278 species occurring in Nunavut, 1 was ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 3 as Critically Imperiled, 3 as Imperiled, 22 as Vulnerable, 19 as Apparently Secure, 26 as Secure, 75 as Unrankable, 2 as Unranked, and 127 as Not Applicable. Of the 492 species occurring in British Columbia, 3 were ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 19 as Critically Imperiled, 18 as Imperiled, 41 as Vulnerable, 103 as Apparently Secure, 134 as Secure, 22 as Unrankable, 3 as Unranked, and 149 as Not Applicable. Of the 420 species occurring in Alberta, 3 were ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 5 as Critically Imperiled, 11 as Imperiled, 48 as Vulnerable, 75 as Apparently Secure, 122 as Secure, 39 as Unrankable, and 117 as Not Applicable. Of the 438 species occurring in Saskatchewan, 4 were ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 11 as Critically Imperiled, 15 as Imperiled, 27 as Vulnerable, 87 as Apparently Secure, 147 as Secure, 3 as Unrankable, and 144 as Not Applicable. Of the 431 species occurring in Manitoba, 5 were ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 14 as Critically Imperiled, 9 as Imperiled, 34 as Vulnerable, 89 as Apparently Secure, 122 as Secure, 10 as Unrankable, and 148 as Not Applicable. Of the 487 species occurring in Ontario, 3 were ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 3 as Possibly Extirpated, 12 as Critically Imperiled, 11 as Imperiled, 22 as Vulnerable, 150 as Apparently Secure, 81 as Secure, 3 as Unrankable, 1 as Unranked, and 201 as Not Applicable. Of the 447 species occurring in Quebec, 4 were ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 12 as Critically Imperiled, 12 as Imperiled, 91 as Vulnerable, 106 as Apparently Secure, 77 as Secure, and 145 as Not Applicable. Of the 398 species occurring in New Brunswick, 4 were ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 1 as Possibly Extirpated, 40 as Critically Imperiled, 34 as Imperiled, 35 as Vulnerable, 57 as Apparently Secure, 68 as Secure, 6 as Unrankable, 2 as Unranked, and 151 as Not Applicable. Of the 444 species occurring in Nova Scotia, 5 were ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 6 as Possibly Extirpated, 29 as Critically Imperiled, 33 as Imperiled, 51 as Vulnerable, 40 as Apparently Secure, 58 as Secure, 11 as Unrankable, 2 as Unranked, and 209 as Not Applicable. Of the 341 species occurring in Prince Edward Island, 2 were ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 5 as Possibly Extirpated, 29 as Critically Imperiled, 27 as Imperiled, 24 as Vulnerable, 34 as Apparently Secure, 58 as Secure, 21 as Unrankable, 1 as Unranked, and 140 as Not Applicable. Of the 269 species occurring in Labrador, 1 was ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 1 as Possibly Extirpated, 14 as Critically Imperiled, 28 as Imperiled, 51 as Vulnerable, 36 as Apparently Secure, 39 as Secure, 6 as Unrankable, 1 as Unranked, and 92 as Not Applicable. Of the 389 species occurring in Newfoundland, 1 was ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 1 as Possibly Extirpated, 17 as Critically Imperiled, 26 as Imperiled, 42 as Vulnerable, 45 as Apparently Secure, 45 as Secure, 1 as Unrankable, 5 as Unranked, and 206 as Not Applicable. Of the 146 species occurring in the Pacific Ocean region, 3 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 4 as Imperiled, 19 as Vulnerable, 27 as Apparently Secure, 17 as Secure, 23 as Unrankable, 2 as Unranked, and 35 as Not Applicable. Of the 10 species occurring in the Western Arctic Ocean region, 1 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 1 as Vulnerable, 2 as Apparently Secure, 1 as Secure, 3 as Unrankable, 1 as Unranked, and 1 as Not Applicable. Of the 13 species occurring in the Eastern Arctic Ocean region, 1 was ranked as Critically Imperiled, 1 as Imperiled, 2 as Vulnerable, 2 as Apparently Secure, 2 as Secure, 4 as Unrankable, and 1 as Unranked. Of the 103 species occurring in the Atlantic Ocean region, 2 were ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 4 as Critically Imperiled, 1 as Imperiled, 6 as Vulnerable, 6 as Apparently Secure, 28 as Secure, 15 as Unrankable, and 41 as Not Applicable.

Mammals

Photo of a male Moose
Photo: Moose ( Alces americanus) © Colin Pacitti

Mammals refer to the class Mammalia. Mammals are hairy, endothermic (warm-blooded) vertebrates that produce milk to feed their young. Since the disappearance of the dinosaurs, about 65 million years ago, mammals have spread and diversified to reach their present, global distribution. Arctic mammals are especially distinct, with adaptations to the cold that include thick fur coats (e.g. Arctic Fox, Vulpes lagopus); large, compact forms (e.g. Muskox, Ovibos moschatus); and specialized blood circulation (e.g. Caribou, Rangifer tarandus). Other mammals live in the Canadian oceans, such as whales and dolphins. Their biology, physiology, distribution and ecology are generally well understood, particularly for large species. Other smaller species are increasingly appreciated. For example, bats can help to control insect populations by consuming a large part of their body weight in a single night. Threats faced by mammals include habitat alteration, overexploitation, disease (such as the white-nose syndrome affecting bats), exotic species, hybridization and climate change. Threats specifically for marine species include fishing gear entanglement, boat collisions, seismic activity, noise pollution, and a relatively high vulnerability to contamination.

There are 222 known species of mammals in Canada (Figure 37). The majority of these species are apparently secure or secure (61%). There is one species that is presumed extirpated, one species that is possibly extirpated, 11 species that are critically imperiled, and 10 species that are imperiled. Of these 23 species, 16 have only a small part of their range in Canada (10% or less) and five are intermediary (from 11% to 74%). However, two species have 75% or more of their range in Canada. These two species are thought to be endemic to Canada: Ogilvie Mountains Collared Lemming (Dicrostonyx nunatakensis), Vancouver Marmot (Marmota vancouverensis). In total, four species have a high priority score (between 1 and 5). We also identified 12 species that are exotic at the national level. We do not have enough knowledge on eight species to give them a rank other than NU or NNR. In total, 30 species of mammals are considered migratory.

All the mammals were assessed in the Wild Species 2010 report. Since then, 35 species had a change in their status at the national level. A total of 11 species had an increased level of risk, eight species had a reduced level of risk, and four species were changed from or to ranks U, NR, NA. Also, eight species have been added to the list and four have been deleted from the list. Most of the changes (37%) are due to an improved knowledge of the species.

Figure 37. General status of mammals in Canada in 2015.
Bar graph (see long description below)
Long description for figure 37

Figure 37 shows the general status of mammals in Canada in 2015. The bar graph shows the number of mammal species ranked presumed extirpated, possibly extirpated, critically imperiled, imperiled, vulnerable, apparently secure, secure, unrankable, unranked and not applicable in Canada, each province and territory and the 4 oceanic regions. Of the 222 species occurring in Canada, 1 was ranked as presumed Extirpated, 1 Possibly Extirpated, 11 as Critically Imperiled, 10 as Imperiled, 31 as Vulnerable, 24 as Apparently Secure, 112 as Secure, 8 as Unrankable, and 24 as Not Applicable. Of the 71 species occurring in Yukon, 3 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 7 as Imperiled, 11 as Vulnerable, 14 as Apparently Secure, 24 as Secure, 7 as Unrankable, and 5 as Not Applicable. Of the 71 species occurring in Northwest Territories, 3 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 4 as Imperiled, 6 as Vulnerable, 5 as Apparently Secure, 35 as Secure, 16 as Unrankable, and 2 as Not Applicable. Of the 34 species occurring in Nunavut, 4 were ranked as Vulnerable, 4 as Apparently Secure, 20 as Secure, and 6 as Unrankable. Of the 121 species occurring in British Columbia, 1 was ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 5 as Critically Imperiled, 6 as Imperiled, 20 as Vulnerable, 26 as Apparently Secure, 52 as Secure, 2 as Unrankable, and 9 as Not Applicable. Of the 96 species occurring in Alberta, 1 was ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 1 as Possibly Extirpated, 5 as Critically Imperiled, 7 as Imperiled, 13 as Vulnerable, 21 as Apparently Secure, 35 as Secure, 2 as Unrankable, and 11 as Not Applicable. Of the 85 species occurring in Saskatchewan, 2 were ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 1 as Possibly Extirpated, 8 as Imperiled, 7 as Vulnerable, 26 as Apparently Secure, 30 as Secure, 2 as Unrankable, and 9 as Not Applicable. Of the 86 species occurring in Manitoba, 5 were ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 1 as Possibly Extirpated, 3 as Imperiled, 21 as Vulnerable, 6 as Apparently Secure, 43 as Secure, 1 as Unranked, and 6 as Not Applicable. Of the 83 species occurring in Ontario, 1 was ranked as Possibly Extirpated, 4 as Critically Imperiled, 6 as Imperiled, 5 as Vulnerable, 15 as Apparently Secure, 37 as Secure, 2 as Unrankable, and 13 as Not Applicable. Of the 74 species occurring in Quebec, 1 was ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 1 as Possibly Extirpated, 7 as Critically Imperiled, 3 as Imperiled, 9 as Vulnerable, 9 as Apparently Secure, 40 as Secure, and 4 as Not Applicable. Of the 57 species occurring in New Brunswick, 3 were ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 4 as Critically Imperiled, 2 as Imperiled, 4 as Vulnerable, 2 as Apparently Secure, 34 as Secure, 4 as Unrankable, and 4 as Not Applicable. Of the 59 species occurring in Nova Scotia, 2 were ranked as presumed Extirpated, 6 as Critically Imperiled, 3 as Imperiled, 4 as Vulnerable, 1 as Apparently Secure, 30 as Secure, 4 as Unrankable, and 9 as Not Applicable. Of the 35 species occurring in Prince Edward Island, 5 were ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 3 as Critically Imperiled, 1 as Imperiled, 2 as Apparently Secure, and 7 as Not Applicable. Of the 44 species occurring in Labrador, 1 was ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 4 as Critically Imperiled, 3 as Imperiled, 3 as Vulnerable, 5 as Apparently Secure, 21 as Secure, 2 as Unrankable, and 5 as Not Applicable. Of the 34 species occurring in Newfoundland, 2 were ranked as Imperiled, 4 as Vulnerable, 5 as Apparently Secure, 5 as Secure, and 18 as Not Applicable. Of the 31 species occurring in the Pacific Ocean region, 3 were ranked as Critically Imperiled, 3 as Imperiled, 5 as Vulnerable, 9 as Secure, 5 as Unrankable, and 6 as Not Applicable. Of the 13 species occurring in the Western Arctic Ocean region, 1 was ranked as Apparently Secure, 2 as Secure, 2 as Unrankable, and 8 as Not Applicable. Of the 21 species occurring in the Eastern Arctic Ocean region, 3 were ranked as Vulnerable, 1 as Apparently Secure, 5 as Secure, 1 as Unrankable, and 11 as Not Applicable. Of the 32 species occurring in the Atlantic Ocean region, 1 was ranked as Presumed Extirpated, 3 as Critically Imperiled, 6 as Vulnerable, 6 as Apparently Secure, 14 as Secure, 2 as Unrankable, and 6 as Not Applicable.

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