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South Florida Aquatic Environments

Freshwater Marshes



THREATENED AND ENDANGERED SPECIES


Everglades Snail Kite
courtesy Robb Bennett, U.S. Geological Survey

Everglades Snail Kite


Freshwater marshes include:

Threatened and Endangered Species

  • Everglades snail kite, American alligator, eastern indigo snake, wood stork, and Florida panther are among the threatened and endangered species found in freshwater marsh habitats

Threatened wildlife includes species, subspecies, or isolated populations that are likely to become endangered in the near future unless steps are taken to protect and manage the species and/or its habitat for its survival. A species, subspecies, or isolated population is considered endangered that is, or soon may be, in immediate danger of extinction unless the species or its habitat is fully protected.

The survival of the Everglades snail kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis plumbeus) is dependent upon the survival of its prey, the apple snail. This bird feeds almost exclusively on this snail with a hooked beak specially adapted for removing the snail from its shell. However, the loss of freshwater marshes has greatly decreased habitat available for the apple snail and the Everglades snail kite. In 1967 this kite was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act with little hope for recovery without restoration of the natural flow of water within the Everglades region. It is one the rarest birds in this country, with only a few hundred left in Florida.

American Alligator
courtesy NASA
American Alligator

The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is also found in the freshwater marshes of the Everglades. It was first listed as endangered in 1966 in accordance with the Endangered Species Act. However, populations quickly recovered resulting in delisting as an endangered species except for purposes of its similarity of appearance to the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) where the two species share habitat .

Eastern Indigo Snake
courtesy US Fish and Wildlife Service
Eastern Indigo Snake

The eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi) is federally listed as a threatened species. This snake lives in a variety of habitats with the Everglades including freshwater marshes.

Wood Stork
courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Wood Stork

The endangered wood stork (Mycteria americana) can be found wading in the waters of freshwater marshes, snatching small fish, tadpoles, and crayfish with its bill.


Florida Panther
courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Florida Panther


Another federally listed mammal that frequents marshlands is the Florida panther (Felis concolor coryi).