Mammals of Lake Worth Lagoon

For the past decade we have been fascinated by the unique nature of Lake Worth Lagoon (LWL), in particular the area at and adjacent to Blue Heron Bridge, and so have documented the diversity of the fishes by maintaining a working list of species documented from the waters of LWL. Because we are first and foremost naturalists, our attention often wanders to other biota and we are tempted to produce similar lists for other local faunal groups. As collection-based biologists we have been taught, of course, to demand tangible proof of occurrence, either through curated museum specimens or by photographs. Even records from scientific papers are looked at with scrutiny because, believe it or not, not all biologists are great at identification. Thus, we are kind of persnickety in wanting to personally verify identifications.

estuaries, bottlenose dolphin

Bottlenose dolphin. Photo © Tobey Curtis

To get the ball rolling I have produced a "no brainer" list of expected species from the area with the realization that there will be others added. The development of a "potential species" list is intended to foster interest in "filling in the holes" on what is now an all but clean slate. I have included a couple of land mammals that frequent the shoreline, the raccoon and the introduced brown rat, and others can be added as we build the list. Hopefully the expanded list will prove useful to photographers as it also will serve as a defacto "life list" for each photographer shooting in the area. Because we are always happy to see (and post, if given permission) photos, especially those documenting different sexes, color phases, size classes, and behaviors, and there's always a "better shot," please don't feel disinclined to forward your shots just because others have already "checked off" the species. I'd love to see everyone's initials after each species! We'll update this list periodically - thanks for all your contributions.

The list is presented in taxonomic order, the standard scientific format, as a learning tool for more casual viewers - from this order one can appreciate evolutionary relationships. Species occurring in LWL verified by photographs forwarded to the Florida Museum of Natural History are notes as 'verified'. Contributing photographers are credited for each species they have documented using the following acronyms:

SM = Suzanne Meldonian

George Burgess, 1 June 2013

This page is continuously being updated. If you would like to submit a photo to be added to our list, please email Monica Clerio at

OrderFamilyTaxonomic nameCommon namePhotographerCommentsVerified
Carnivora Procyonidae Procyon lotor raccoon      
Cetacea Delphinidae Tursiops truncatus common bottlenose dolphin      
Sirenia Trichechidae Trichechus manatus West Indian manatee SM   x
Rodentia Muridae Rattus norwegicus brown rat