Extirpated & Endangered Flora & Fauna of the Lower Hudson Estuary

by Lorna Salzman

NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection, Office of Environmental Planning, July l994

This list includes only major groups: mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, butterflies, plants and vegetative communities. It includes those species on the Federal, NY and NJ lists of Endangered and Threatened species, the NYS Natural Heritage Rare Plant and Rare Animal Status Lists with a rating of S-1 or S-2 (critically imperiled or extremely rare) or of Special Concern (all these are mostly coded R), those known from only one site, or species with fragmented, declining or severely reduced populations. Although local field naturalists can in theory find specimens in out-of-the-way places, species with no recent sightings are considered probably extirpated. Species with only one recent specimen or site or designated SH on the NYS list (historic) are considered extirpated.

There are also some species included here that have a lower rating than S-l or S-2 or SC on the NJ or NYS status lists but which have been determined to be locally extirpated or threatened in this region. Note that not all species designated Endangered, Threatened, Rare or of Special Concern are protected under state law. Also, some species listed historically occurred in NJ or occur there now but do not occur in the NYS counties in this region.

Only those species that breed in this area or depend upon it for a major part of their life functions are included. Animals that migrate through but do not winter in the area are not included. Historic extinctions such as Labrador Duck are not included, nor are extirpations prior to the turn of the century, roughly. With a few exceptions, all the species are native to the area, including repatriations.

Some groups are more represented than others (birds, plants, amphibians, reptiles) and some groups are entirely absent. This reflects greater availability of information or lack of it as well as the difficulty in obtaining historic records of occurrences or sightings. Fish are problematic because of their mobility, range and fluctuating populations. Information on insects other than butterflies was not easily obtainable nor on other life forms such as marine invertebrates. However, losses in some of the represented groups, in particular amphibians, reptiles and plants, are significant indicators of habitat degradation or loss.

The area included runs roughly from the George Washington Bridge south to Raritan Bay, Sandy Hook and Jamaica Bay. To a lesser extent, depending upon available information, it includes Bergen, Hudson, Union, Essex, Middlesex and Monmouth Counties (i.e. all NJ counties with shoreline along the Hudson River, lower NY Harbor and Raritan Bay), if a species' range is known to be in these areas, either in tidal or tributary locations. It includes all five counties in NYC but not the Long Island Sound area, central/east Bronx or central/northern Brooklyn and Queens.

For taxa not covered or incomplete, refer to the NY Bight Coastal Habitat Study- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and to the NYS Natural Heritage Program status lists. Species on NJ endangered/threatened lists are included only if they are known to be indigenous to the lower estuary region. The plant section does not, for the most part, include the valuable information in Buegler and Parisio's A Comparative Flora of Staten Island, 1879-1981, which compares plant occurrences in l879, l930 and l98l, using information compiled by Arthur Hollick, Nathaniel Lord Britton and Henry Gleason; refer directly to this publication.

X extirpated from this region
PX probably extirpated; no recent sightings
V known from only one site in region; vulnerable
R declining, severely reduced or fragmented populations; vulnerable
(NY, NJ) only known site in region
F/NY/NJ indicates Federal, NY or NJ Endangered or Threatened status or Special Concern
FB former breeder in region (birds only)


SI Staten Island
SH Sandy Hook
JB Jamaica Bay
P Palisades
NJ northern NJ counties
NY NY County
BK Brooklyn
Q Queens
BX Bronx


Mammals Status
Least Shrew (Cryptotis parva) PX
Masked or Common Shrew (Sorex cinereus) R
Short-tailed Shrew (Blarina brevicauda) R
Meadow Jumping Mouse (Zapus hudsonius) R
Eastern Mole (Scalopus aquaticus) R
Long-tailed Weasel (Mustela frenata) PX
Mink (Mustela vison) PX
Eastern Woodrat (Neotoma floridana magister) R/NY/NJ(P)
Common Musk Turtle (Sternotherus odoratus) R(SI)
(may be introduced species)
Eastern Mud Turtle (Kinosternon subrubrum) R/NY(SH,JB) (JB repatriation)
N. Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) R/NY
Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata) R/NY(SH,JB)
(JB repatriation)
Five-lined Skink (Eumeces fasciatus) R(P)
Wood Turtle (Clemmys insculpta) R/NY/NJ
(may have been introduced in region)
Atlantic Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta) R/F/NY/NJ
Atlantic Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) R/F/NY/NJ
Atlantic Hawksbill Turtle (Eretnochelys imbricata) R/F/NY/NJ
Atlantic Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) R/F/NY/NJ
Atlantic Ridley Turtle (Lepidochelys kempii) R/F/NY/NJ
Ribbon Snake (Thamnophis sauritus) PX
Redbelly Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata) PX
Ringneck Snake (Diadophis punctatus edwardsii) R(NJ,P)
Eastern Hognose Snake (Heterodon platirhinos) PX(JB,SH)
  (JB and SH repatriation)
Worm Snake (Carphophis amoenus) PX
Smooth Green Snake (Opheodrys vernalis) PX
  (JB repatriation)
Northern Black Racer (Coluber constrictor) R
  (JB repatriation)
Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) V(NJ)
Red-spotted Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) R(SI,JB)
  (JB repatriation)
Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) R/NY
  (JB repatriation)
Marbled Salamander (Ambystoma opacum) PX
Northern Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus fuscus) V(SI)
Northern Red Salamander (Pseudotriton ruber) R
Four-toed Salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum) PX
Slimy Salamander (Plethodon glutinosus) PX
Eastern Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus holbrooki) PX
  (attempted JB repatriation)
Northern Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor) R
  (JB repatriation)
Chorus Frog (Pseudacris triseriata kalmi) PX
Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans) X/NY
Southern Leopard Frog (Rana utricularia) PX/NY
Sheepshead (Archosargus probatocephalus) PX?
Ninespine Stickleback (Pungitius [Pygosteus] pungitius) PX?
Pearl Dace (Margariscus margarita) R(NJ)
Spotfin Killifish (Fundulus luciae) PX?
Shortnose Sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) R/F/NY/NJ
Atlantic Sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrhynchus) R
(not on Federal or state lists but fishery may be closed soon)
Mud Sunfish (Acantharchus pomotis) PXNY; VNJ?
(FB: former breeder in region; may still occur in migration or winter)
Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) R
American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) FB
Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis) R
Little Blue Heron(Egretta cerulea) R
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) FB
American Wigeon (Aix penelope) FB
Blue-winged Teal (Aix discors) R
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) R
Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus) R/NY/NJ
Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) R/FB
Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) R/NY/NJ
Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) R/NY/NJ
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) R
Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) R
Clapper Rail (Rallus longirostris) R
Virginia Rail (Rallus limicola) R
Sora (Porzano carolina) PX?
Black Rail (Laterallus jamaicensis) FB
American Coot (Fulica americana) R
Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) V/F/NY/NJ
Upland Sandpiper (Bartramia longicauda) V/NJ
American Woodcock (Scolopax minor) R
Least Tern (Sterna antillorum) R/F/NY/NJ
Roseate Tern (Sterna dougallii) R/F/NY/NJ
Eastern Screech Owl (Otus asio) R
Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) FB
Whip-poor-will (Caprimulgus carolinensis) R
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) FB
Red-headed Woodpecker(Melanerpes erythrocephalus) PX
Acadian Flycatcher (Empidonax virescens) FB/R
Least Flycatcher (Empidonax minimus) X
Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) R
Purple Martin (Progne subis) V
Northern Rough-winged Swallow (Stelgidopteryx serripennis) PX
Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia) V(NJ)
Cliff Swallow (Hirundo pyrrhonota) X
Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis) X
Eastern Bluebird (Sialis sialis) PX
Veery (Catharus fuscescens) PX?
White-eyed Vireo (Vireo griseus) PX
Yellow-throated Vireo (Vireo flavifrons) PX
Blue-winged Warbler (Vermivora pinus) PX?
Black-and-White Warbler (Mniotilta varia) PX?
American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla) PX
Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens) PX
Dickcissel (Spiza americana) X
Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus) PX
Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum) R(NY,NJ)
Henslow's Sparrow (Ammodramus henslowi) X
Sharp-tailed Sparrow (Ammodramus caudacutus) R
Seaside Sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus) R
Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) R
Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) FB
Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna) R
*list of bird species prepared by Eric Salzman; references may be found at end of report.
Insects, Butterflies
Columbine Duskywing (Erynnis lucilius) R?
Mottled Duskywing (Erynnis martialis) PX
Persius Duskywing (Erynnnis persius) PX
Leonard's Skipper (Hesperia leonardus) PX/R?
Dotted Skipper (Hesperia attalus) PX
Dion Skipper (Euphyes dion) R?
Two-spotted Skipper (Euphyes bimacula) PX
Dusted Skipper (Atrytonopsis hianna) R
Arogos(E.Beardgrass)Skipper (Atrytone a. arogos) X
Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus wyandot) PX
Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes) R?
West Virginia White (Pieris virginiensis) R
Bronze Copper (Lycaena hyllus) PX/V?
Bog Copper (Lycaena epixanthe) R?
Frosted Elfin (Callophrys irus) R?
Henry's Elfin (Callophrys [Incisalia] henrici) R?
Hoary Elfin (Callophrys polios)
Hessel's Hairstreak (Callophyrs [Mitoura] hesseli PX
Appalachian Azure (Celastrina neglectamajor) R?
Northern Metalmark (Calephelis borealis) PX
Regal Fritillary (Speyeria idalia/idaelia?) PX
American Snout (Libytheana bachmanii) R/V?
Silver-bordered Fritillary (Boloria selene) PX?
Silvery Checkerspot (Chlosyne nycteis) R/V?
Harris' Checkerspot (Chlosyne harrisii) R?
Hackberry Emperor (Asterocampa celtis) R/V?
Tawny Emperor (Asterocampa clyton) R/V?
Mitchell's Satyr (Neonympha mitchellii) PX
Northeastern Beach Tiger Beetle (Cicindela dorsalis) PX
American Burying Beetle (Nicrophorus americanus) PX
Yellow giant-hyssop (Agastache nepetoides) ?
Woodland agrimony (Agrimonia rostellata) R/NY or V?
Seabeach amaranth (Amaranthus pumilus) R/NY;V(Q)?
Fly-poison (Amianthium muscitoxicum) X
Puttyroot (Aplectrum hyemale) V(BX)
Virginia snakeroot (Aristolochia serpentaria) PX
Purple milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens) R/NY
Red milkweed (Asclepias rubra) PX
White milkweed (Asclepias variegata) PX
Green milkweed (Asclepias viridiflora) R/NY
Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) (usually considered V(SI) naturalized but may be native here)
Rush aster (Aster borealis) PX
Silvery aster (Aster concolor) PX
Large-leaf aster (Aster schreberi) V(Q or BX)
Flax-leaf whitetop (Aster solidagineus) PX
Small white aster (Aster vimineus) V/?
Estuary beggar-ticks (Bidens bidentoides) V/NJ?
Smooth bur-marigold (Bidens laevis) V/SI?
Thicket sedge (Carex abscondita) V/?
Barratt's sedge (Carex barrattii) PX
Brown bog sedge (Carex buxbaumii) PX
Hirsute sedge (Carex caroliniana) PX
Collins sedge (Carex collinsii) PX
Sedge (Carex flaccosperma v. glaucodea) V/?
Sedge (Carex hormathodes) PX
Mead sedge (Carex meadii) PX
Variable sedge (Carex polymorpha) PX
Schweinitz sedge (Carex schweinitzii) PX
Bent sedge (Carex styloflexa) PX
Cat-tail sedge (Carex typhina) PX
Slender spikegrass (Chasmanthium laxum) PX
Wooly lip-fern (Cheilanthes lanosa) PX
Goosefoot? (Chenopodium album) ? XSI?
Red pigweed (Chenopodium rubrum) PX
Goosefoot (Chenopodium standleyanum) PX
Tall thistle (Cirsium altissimum) PX
Curly-heads (Clematis ochroleuca) X
Butterfly-pea (Clitoria mariana) X
Slender dayflower (Commelina erecta) X?
Field dodder (Cuscuta pentagona) PX
Smartweed dodder (Cuscuta polygonorum) V(Q)
Wild comfrey (Cynoglossum virginianum v. virginianum) PX
Globose flatsedge (Cyperus echinatus) R
Coast flatsedge (Cyperus polystachyos) R
Red-rooted flatsedge (Cyperus erythrorhizos) V?
Cyperus (Cyperus flavescens v.poaeformis) PX or V(SI)
Cyperus (Cyperus flavescens v. flavescens) PX?
Rusty flatsedge (Cyperus odoratus) PX
Retrorse flatsedge (Cyperus retrorsus) PX
Schweinitz flatsedge (Cyperus schweinitzii PXNJ; V(JB)
Lowland fragile fern (Cystopteris protrusa) V(SI)
Tick-trefoil (Desmodium ciliare) PX
Trailing tick-trefoil (Desmodium humifusum) X
Smooth tick-clover (Desmodium laevigatum) PX
Nuttall's tick-clover (Desmodium nuttalli) PX
Bleeding-heart (Dicentra eximia) PXNJ; V(SI)
Slender crabgrass (Digitaria filiformis) PX
Little buttonweed (Diodia teres) PX
Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) R
Carolina whitlow-grass (Draba reptans) R
Blunt spikerush (Eleocharis obtusa v. ovata) X?; V(SI)?
Long-tubercled spikerush (Eleocharis tuberculosa) PX
White boneset (Eupatorium leucolepis) V(SI)
Pine barrens boneset (Eupatorium resinosum) PX
Round-leaf boneset (Eupatorium rotundifolium v. ovatum) V(Q)
Downy milk-pea (Galactia volubilis) PX
Soapwort gentian (Gentiana saponaria) R
Purple everlasting (Gnaphalium purpureum) R
Swamp sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius) PX
Swamp pink (Helonias bullata) PX; V(SI,NJ)?
Featherfoil (Hottonia inflata) PX
Slender blue flag (Iris prismatica) R
Thinleaf flatsedge (Kyllingia pumila) PX
Downy lettuce (Lactuca hirsuta) PX
Pale duckweed (Lemna valdiviana) PX
Minute duckweed (Lemna perpusilla) PX
Lespedeza (Lespedeza stuevei) V(SI)
New England blazing-star (Liatris scariosa v. novae-angliae) R
False-pimpernel (Lindernia dubia v. inundata)? V(SI)?
Southern yellow flax (Linum medium v. texanum) PX
Large twayblade (Liparis lilifolia)? PX?; V(SI)?
Gypsy-wort (Lycoopus rubellus) PX
Lance-leaved loosestrife (Lysimachia hybrida) RNY; PXNJ
Loosestrife (Lythrum hyssopifolia) V(SI); PXNJ
Sweet-bay (Magnolia virginiana) NY
Virginia bunchflower (Melanthium virginicum) PX
Micranthemum (Micranthemum micranthemoides) X
Green parrot's feather (Myriophyllum pinnatum) PX
Cut-leaved evening-primrose (Oenothera laciniata) PX
Evening primrose (Oenothera oakesiana) R?V?
Virginia fals gromwell (Onosmodium virginianum) PX
Stiff cowbane (Oxypolis rigidior) PX
Panic grass (Panicum oligosanthes v.oligosanthes) PX(Q)?
Velvet panic grass (Panicum scoparium) PX?V?
Swamp lousewort (Pedicularis lanceolata) PX?V?
Ground-cherry (Physalis pubescens v.integrifolia PX?V(SI)?
Virginia ground-cherry (Physalis virginiana) X
Virginia pine (Pinus virginiana) V(SI)
Dwarf plantain (Plantago pusilla) PX
Orange fringed orchis (Platanthera ciliaris) R
Crested fringed orchis (Platanthera cristata) V(NY)
Pink milkwort (Polygala incarnata) X
Yellow milkwort (Polygala lutea) PX
Smartweed (Polygonum careyi) X
Seabeach knotweed (Polygonum glaucum) R
Opelousa smartweed (Polygonum opelousanum) X
Slender knotweed (Polygonum tenue) R
Glaucous rattlesnake-root (Prenanthes racemosa) X
Wafer-ash (Ptelea trifoliata) R
Torrey's mountain-mint (Pycnanthemum torrei) PX
Whorled mountain-mint (Pycnanthemum verticillatum v. verticillatum) V(SI)
Blackjack oak (Quercus marilandica) R
Willow oak (Quercus phellos) V(SI)
Spearwort (Ranunculus pusillus) X
Seaside crowfoot (Ranunculus cymbalaria) RNY;PXNJ
Meadow-beauty (Rhexia mariana) X
Golden dock (Rumex maritimus v. fueginus) PX
Rose-pink (Sabatia angularis) R?
Sea-pink (Sabatia dodecandra) PX
Pearlwort (Sagina decumbens) X
Pitcher plant (Saracenia purpurea) X?
Saltmarsh bulrush (Scirpus cylindricus) PX
Seaside bulrush (Scirpus maritimus) R
Fewflower nutrush (Scleria pauciflora v. caroliniana) V(Q)?
Hyssop-skullcap (Scutellaria integrifolia) PX
Jacob's-ladder (Smilax pulverulenta) R
Coastal goldenrod (Solidago elliottii) PX
Stiff-leaved goldenrod (Solidago rigida) X?VNY?
Pink wild bean (Strophostyles umbellata) X
Pencil-flower (Stylosanthes biflora) X
Roland sea-blite (Suaeda rolandii) X
Purple meadow-parsnip (Thaspium trifoliatum v. flavum) X
Ohio spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis) R
Virginia spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana) V(SI)
Tiny blue-curls (Trichostema setaceum) X
Nodding pogonia (Triphora trianthophora) V(SI)
Gamma grass (Tripsacum dactyloides) R
Wingstem (Verbesina alternifolia) R?VBXSI?
Spreading globeflower (Trollius laxus ssp.laxus) XNJ;RNY
Neckweed (Veronica peregrina ssp.xalapensis) SI var.?
Southern arrowwood (Viburnum dentatum v.venosum) V(BX)?R?
Primrose-leaved violet (Viola primulifolia) X?V(SI)?
False camus (Zigadenus leimanthoides) V(NJ)?
Vegetative communities
Brooklyn-Queens barrens X
Serpentine barrens V(SI)
Hempstead Plains grassland X
Maritime shrubland R
Maritime grassland V(Q)
Maritime heathland R
Maritime dunes V(Q)?
Maritime forest V(Q)?
Maritime interdunal swales X?
Maritime oak-holly forest X
Maritime red cedar forest X
Successional maritime forest R
Chestnut oak forest X
Beech-maple mesic forest R
Brackish intertidal mudflats V
Brackish tidal marsh V
Coastal plain stream X?
Coastal plain pond X?
Coastal plain Atlantic White Cedar swamps X
Coastal fresh marshes X
Flood plain forest R
Swamp forest V
Red maple-hardwood swamp R
Vernal pools R
Marine eelgrass meadow X?V(Q)?


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Special thanks to Chris Aquila, Tom Baudanza, Tom Breden, Brooklyn Botanical Gardens Library, Rick Cech, Steven Clemants, Nicholas Conrad, Bob Cook, John Cryan, Bob Daniels, Peter Dunne, Mike Feller, Jeff Glassberg, Andrew Greller, Hudson River Foundation (Josephine D'Amico), Ed Johnson, Richard Kane, Dave Kuntsler, Eric Lamont, Ray Matarazzo, Todd Miller, Andrew Milliken, Richard Mitchell, Don Riepe, Eric Salzman, Dave Strayer, Guy Tudor, Peter Warny, Andy Willner and John Yrizarry for providing me with contacts and resources as well as the benefits of their knowledge and field observations.

© 2002 Lorna Salzman. All rights reserved. Material may be quoted with permission.