The term "protected species" is used here to encompass any plant or animal that is legally protected because it is endangered, threatened to become endangered, or one of special concern. Legal protection may be at the federal, state or local level. When the federal and state governments' designated status of a species differs, the state's designation is indicated in the listings here.
While some species are being removed from the federal listing, they still remain on the state's list. Habitat loss remains a serious threat, particularly in Florida.
There are also other laws that protect wildlife and plants. Just because a particular species is not listed here does not mean it is legal to disturb it in any way. For instance, all native and nongame migratory birds, except blackbirds, grackles, cowbirds, and crows causing damage to trees, crops, livestock, or wildlife, are protected. Established exotic birds (English Sparrow, European Starling, Rock Dove (common pigeon), Muscovy Duck) are not protected. Unprotected mammals include armadillos, coyotes, Black and Norway Rats, and House Mice. Please check with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission for current information and details.
An endangered species
is one that is in danger of extinction or extirpiration (will disappear from Florida but still exist elsewhere). Either due to very low population numbers or habitat degradation, these species will not survive without active assistance.
A threatened species
is one that is likely to become endangered in the near future. These species' populations are decreasing or dangerously low.
A species of special concern
is one that is apparently in danger but there isn't much known about it or one whose status has an impact on an endangered or threatened species.
The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission publishes the list of species designated endangered, threatened, or of special concern by the federal and state governments.
The list of plants includes those that are commercially exploited as well as those that are endangered or threatened. That list is maintained by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Listings on this site, many with links to information about the species, include: amphibians