Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Species - Plants & Animals

The Wildlife and Heritage Service Natural Heritage Program tracks the status of over 1,250 native plants and animals that are among the rarest in Maryland and most in need of conservation efforts as elements of our State's natural diversity. Of these species, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources officially recognizes 566 species and subspecies as endangered, threatened, in need of conservation, or endangered extirpated. Only 39, or 7% of the total tracked species, are listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as nationally endangered or threatened.

Northern groshawk chicks
Northern goshawk chicks

The primary Maryland law (enacted in 1975) that governs the legal listing of threatened and endangered species is the Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act (Annotated Code of Maryland 10-2A-01). The Act is supported by regulations (Code of Maryland Regulations, COMAR 08.03.08) that define listing criteria for endangered, threatened, in need of conservation, and endangered extirpated species; lists the species included in each category; establishes the purpose and intent of research and collection permits; and lists prohibited activities. Maryland regulations may be found online at: https://dsd.maryland.gov/Pages/COMARHome.aspx

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Fisheries and Boating Service maintains an official list of game and commercial fish species that are legally designated as endangered, threatened, or in need of conservation in Maryland.  The list of Endangered and Threatened Fish Species (COMAR 08.02.12) can be obtained by contacting the Fisheries Service, Department of Natural Resources, Tawes State Office Building, Annapolis, MD 21401 or by visiting their website at:dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/Pages/endangered.aspx.

The following pages include publications with complete listings of the Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Plants of Maryland and the Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Animals of Maryland.These lists contain the most recent conservation status rank and State legal status revisions and is the result of more than 40 years of effort to gather, research, and analyze data from numerous sources, such as museums, herbaria, scientific literature, unpublished documents, reports from botanists, zoologists and amateur naturalists, and extensive field work conducted by scientists from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Summary of Federal Listed Species

Category Plants Animals

Summary of State Listed Species*

Category Plants Animals
In Need of Conservationn/a36
Endangered Extirpated6732

* Summary of State Listed Species only includes species listed in COMAR 08.03.08.

Puritan Tiger Beetle Mitigation Fund

Photo of Puritan Tiger Beetle courtesy of Tom Schultz

The Puritan tiger beetle is listed by both the State and federal government as a threatened and endangered species. Permits are required to alter habitat supporting this species. If incidental take occurs, mitigation for that loss is required in order to obtain a permit. The DNR has established the Puritan Tiger Beetle Habitat Conservation Program to receive mitigation funds for the incidental take of this species.

Reporting Rare Species

If you know of the location of a rare animal or rare plant in Maryland, we would like to know about it. Our assessment of the health of Maryland's populations of vanishing species and natural communities depends on knowing how many places they still exist. Please take a moment to fill out the Rare Species Reporting Form, mark the location on a copy of an ADC County map, U.S.G.S. topographic quadrangle map, or similar map, and mail it in to the address provided on the form.


For more information, please contact:

Lynn Davidson MD DNR - Wildlife and Heritage Service
Tawes State Office Building, E-1
580 Taylor Ave.
Annapolis, MD 21401
E-Mail: lynn.davidson@maryland.gov