Endangered Species of the Smokies

Along with all the great reasons to visit the Great Smoky Mountains are just as many reasons to take care of the species that call them home. They play a role in a larger food chain and ecosystem, making even the smallest of plants crucial to maintaining a balanced environment. Since mostly human interaction with this environment caused these species to suffer, we owe them the space they need to rebound. So when you visit the Park, remember to take out everything that you take in and be especially careful on behalf of the fragile inhabitants.

The color blue denotes endangered species of the Smokies; plants and animals whose numbers are dangerously close to extinction.

Unfortunately, it is too late for extripated species listed in red, meaning that they no longer exist in the wild in this particular region, although there are some in captivity and elsewhere.

There is still hope for the species listed in green. Their numbers have dwindled (not as significantly as the endangered or extripated species), which places them on the Federal Species of Concern list.

Plants:

  • Spreading avens (gerum radiatum)
  • Virgina spiraea (spiraea virginana)
  • Rock gnome lichen (gymnoderma lineare)
  • Fraser fir (abies fraeri)
  • Cain’s reed-bent grass (Calamagrostis cainii)
  • Mountain Bittercress (Cardamine clematitis)
  • Smoky Mountain Mana Grass (Glyceria nubigena)
  • Blue Ridge Catchfly (Silene ovata)
  • Olive Darter (Percina squamata)
  • Tennessee Dace (Phoxinus tennesseensis)

Mammals:

  • Indiana Bat (Myotis Sodalis)
  • Carolina Northern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus coloratus)
  • Grey Wolf (Canis lupus)
  • Red Wolf (Canis rufus)
  • Eastern Puma/Cougar (Felis concolor couguar)
  • Eastern Small-footed Bat (Myotis leibii)
  • Water Shrew (Sorex palustris)
  • Appalachian Cottontail (Sylvilagus obscurus)

Amphibians

  • Eastern Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis)
  • Seepage salamander (Desmognathus aeneus)
  • Red-cheeked Salamander (Eurycea junaluska)

Birds

  • Red-cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis)
  • Henslow’s Sparrow (Ammodramus henslowii)
  • Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi
  • Cerulean Warbler (Dendroica cerulean)
  • Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra)
  • Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)
  • Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius)
  • Golden-winged Warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera)

Arachnids

  • Spruce-fir Moss Spider (Microhexura montivaga)

Fish

  • Spotfin Chub (Erimonax monachus)
  • Duskytail Darter (Etheostoma percnurum)
  • Smoky Madtom (Noturus baileyi)
  • Yellowfin Madtom (Noturus flavipinnis)

Because these plants and animals may be new to you, bring a photo guide on your hike to help identify them and avoid damage or interference. After seeing these species and others in their natural habitat, you will learn how beautifully fragile the ecosystem of the Smokies is and the importance of preserving it.

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