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INVERTEBRATES THAT NEED US TO GET TO 350 Photo credits
Acan brain coral (Acanthastrea brevis)
Range: Indian and Indo-West Pacific
The demise of reefs would mean the extinction of a large part of the Earth’s total biodiversity — something never experienced before in human history. This species of coral is widespread but uncommon. It’s particularly susceptible to crown-of-thorns starfish predation and, as a reef-building species of coral, destruction of coral reef habitat. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Due to warming ocean temperatures, they’re already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals, including several species of acan brain coral, under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
Acan brain coral (Acanthastrea ishigakiensis)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
Brain corals are found in all the world's oceans. They’re part of a class called Anthozoa or “sea flowers.” The lifespan of the largest brain corals is 200 years, and colonies can grow up to six feet or taller. Brain corals extend their tentacles to catch food at night. During the day, they use their tentacles for protection by wrapping them over the grooves on their surface, which is hard and offers good protection from fish and hurricanes. Corals are among the species most threatened by global warming. Corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals, including several species of acan brain coral, under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
Acan brain coral (Acanthastrea regularis)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
The common name of this species, brain coral, is attributed to its spheroid shape and grooved surface, which resembles — of course — a brain. Each head of coral is formed by a colony of genetically identical polyps that secrete a hard skeleton of calcium carbonate; this makes them important reef builders. Brain corals feed on small, drifting animals and also receive nutrients from the algae that live within their tissues. Warming oceans have led to increased mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. To protect corals, scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals, including this species of brain coral, under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
Agassiz's coral (Cyphastrea agassizi)
Range: Indo-West Pacific and Western Central Pacific
Once found in massive colonies, Agassiz’s coral — also known as lesser knob coral — has become increasingly rare throughout its rather wide natural range. The Agassiz’s coral, like all corals, is threatened by climate change in the form of ocean acidification and warming waters. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 corals, including the Agassiz’s coral, under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba)
Range: Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica
Antarctic krill are the keystone species of the Antarctic marine ecosystem, providing an important food source for whales, seals, squid, ice fish, penguins, albatrosses, and many other species of birds. These shrimp-like invertebrates grow up to six centimeters long and live in large, dense schools.

Antarctic krill have declined by as much as 80 percent since the 1970s in the Atlantic region of the Southern Ocean, and the loss of sea ice due to global warming is a prime culprit. Krill graze on algae that grow underneath the sea ice, and young krill hide in crevices on the sea-ice bottom as a refuge from predators. So the loss of ice leads to the loss of krill. Another challenge is ocean acidification caused by increasing levels of CO2, which may make it more difficult for krill to build their exoskeletons. Researchers project that a 1-degree Celsius rise in sea-surface temperature in the Atlantic region of the Southern Ocean could result in a further 95-percent reduction of krill.
Aspera staghorn coral (Acropora aspera)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
Staghorn coral resembles the antlers of a deer, and is even sometimes referred to as antler coral. But it also can be found in other shapes: bushy, clustered, bottlebrush, finger, table, columnar, or plate. It’s a small polyp stony coral, and the exact species is very difficult to identify. Corals are already dying due to global warming produced mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is harming some corals ability to build building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. To protect corals, scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. Our petition seeks to protect several Acropora corals. Two Acropora species in the Caribbean — elkhorn and staghorn corals — are already protected as threatened as a result of a petition filed by the Center.
Bay checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas editha bayensis)
Range: San Francisco peninsula, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County
The Bay checkerspot was once widespread in the native grasslands of San Francisco Bay. Urban expansion and exotic plants eliminated the butterfly from Contra Costa, Alameda, and San Francisco counties, isolating it to small patches of serpentine habitat in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. Extinctions of bay checkerspot butterfly populations in the 1990s have been linked with increasing extremes in rainfall — drought and flooding — due to climate change. Bay checkerspot larvae don’t survive well in years of drought or flooding because the plants they feed on aren’t available when the larvae need them.

The Center filed suit and ultimately won more than 23,000 acres of habitat protections for the butterfly — but the Bush administration slashed that protected habitat by 23 percent in August 2008. The Center is also working to monitor and oppose harmful pesticides in the checkerspot’s habitat.
Black abalone (Haliotis cracherodii)
Range: Between Coos Bay, Oregon, and tip of Baja California, Mexico
Black abalone were once the most abundant large shellfish clinging to the rocks of intertidal zones between Baja and Oregon. A savored delicacy for sea otters and coastal peoples alike, these hard-shelled marine snails were prized for the iridescent colors and the occasional pearl found inside their shells. Black abalone have been virtually eliminated throughout most of their range and are now threatened by global warming. Warmer water will increase the deadliness of wasting disease, which plagues abalone, and will likely reduce the kelp species abalone consumed. Rising sea levels will eliminate much of the species’ intertidal habitat, while ocean acidification, caused by the ocean’s absorption of excess CO2, may stop the abalone from building its protective shell.

The Center petitioned to list the black abalone as an endangered species in 2006 and in 2009, the species was officially listed as endangered.
Branching frogspawn coral (Euphyllia paradivisa)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
Like its fellow Euphyllia corals, the branching frogspawn is known for its fleshy tentacles and the long, sweeping, stingy tentacles it uses to defend its territory. Coral of the Euphyllia genus are unique in that they’re identified solely by their polyps, and not their underlying skeleton, as the polyps are extended both during the day and partially at night — obscuring the skeleton. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 corals, including the branching frogspawn coral, under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
Branching hammer coral (Euphyllia paraancora)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
So named because of the hammer-shaped ends of its tentacles, the branching hammer coral is a large and relatively hardy coral. The branching hammer, like all Euphyllia corals, is home to a specific kind of commensal shrimp that only frequents that particular coral. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 corals, including the branching hammer coral, under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
Carson wandering skipper (Pseudocopaeodes eunus obscurus)
Range: One population in Washoe County, Nevada, and one in Lassen County, California
The dorsal side of the wings of this beautiful little butterfly are tawny orange except for a narrow uniform border and black veins near the border at the outer edge of the wing. The underside of the hindwing is pale, creamy orange with two creamy rays extending from the base of the wing. Carson wandering skipper females lay their cream-colored eggs on salt grass, which usually occurs where the water table is high enough to keep its roots saturated for most of the year. Potential changes in the water table resulting from global warming threaten this butterfly’s survival. The species is also threatened by livestock grazing, off-road vehicle activity, encroaching development, gas and geothermal development, pesticide drift, and nonnative plant invasion.

In 2001, the Center and partners reached an agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to help speed protection of the Carson wandering skipper and 28 other species.
Castle coral (Pachyseris rugosa)
Range: Oceans worldwide
We blush to say what this coral species resembles; suffice it to say that its colonies consist of upright irregular, usually contorted, bifacial plates. It is typically bluish-grey or brown. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 parts per million (ppm) or below to protect corals – and if we reach levels of 560 ppm or above, all corals are predicted to dissolve. The impacts of global warming on corals include frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Greenhouse gas caused ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to protect 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
Cauliflower coral (Pocillopora danae)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
This yellow and pink branching coral bears a resemblance to a certain cruciferous vegetable. Sea urchins graze on cauliflower coral, and overfishing of sea urchin predators such as lobster has thrown this link in the aquatic food chain out of balance, much to the coral’s detriment. Ocean acidification caused by the ocean’s absorption of atmospheric CO2 is hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million. When ocean temperatures increase, coral eject the algae that live in their tissues, a process known as “bleaching.” Bleaching has led to widespread coral disease and death. Even at current CO2 levels, most reefs have entered an irreversible decline, the impact of which will be catastrophic.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
Cauliflower coral (Pocillopora elegans)
Range: East Pacific and Indo-West Pacific
Brown-green, pink and cream-colored colonies of this cauliflower coral species clump together and thrive in shallow reef environments. They tend to spawn during the few days surrounding the new moon. Like other cauliflower corals, Pocillopora elegans is adversely affected by overfishing of sea urchin predators. All corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million, making corals among the species most threatened by global warming – especially alarming considering that coral reefs provide habitat for somewhere between a quarter and a third of all marine life. When ocean temperatures increase, corals can lose the algae in their tissues, a process known as “bleaching.” Corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to disease and death, and even at CO2 levels, most reefs have entered an irreversible decline.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. Our petition seeks to protect numerous Pocillopora corals, including this one.
Comal Springs dryopid beetle (Stygoparnus comalensis)
Range: Comal Springs and Fern Bank Springs in Hays County, Texas
Though the Comal Springs dryopid beetle is aquatic, it doesn’t swim, and while it has eyes, it can’t see. This small brown beetle lives in the subterranean darkness of the spring outlets and air-filled cavities associated with just two springs in central Texas, and it relies on a steady, natural spring flow for all aspects of its life history. If global warming dries up those springs while humans keep pumping vast amounts of water from the aquifer that feeds the springs, this tiny underground bug with its apparent evolutionary contradictions could be left high and dry.

The Center sued to protect the invertebrate’s home, and in 2007, critical habitat was designated — but not nearly enough. So in 2009, we filed suit again to gain adequate critical habitat for the beetle.
Conservancy fairy shrimp (Branchinecta conservatio)
Range: California
The endangered conservancy fairy shrimp’s delicate body is only about a half-inch to an inch long, but that tiny body has 11 pairs of legs used for swimming. In a wavelike motion, the legs help this crustacean glide gracefully upside down. Conservancy fairy shrimp occupy cool-water vernal pools that fill with water in the rainy season, then slowly dry up. These ephemeral wetlands are remnants of what was a pristine vernal pool ecosystem, which has been converted to primarily agricultural and urban uses. Today, global warming threatens to dry up the remaining but shrinking vernal pool ecosystems of California that the fairy shrimp needs to survive.

In 2004, the Center published Silent Spring Revisited, a report on pesticide use and endangered species; among the species highlighted: the conservancy fairy shrimp. The report concluded that the Environmental Protection Agency’s pesticide registration program must be reformed to comply with the Endangered Species Act and prevent registration and use of harmful pesticides that are jeopardizing to humans and wildlife.
Cup Coral (Turbinaria mesenterina)
Range: Oceans worldwide
This coral, which actually more closely resembles a bowl than a cup, may be the dominant coral species in shallow turbid waters but is also targeted for the aquarium trade. Colonies are usually less than three feet across but may be much larger on fringing reefs. Corals like this cup coral are among the planet’s species most threatened by rising temperatures, which has lead to frequent mass bleaching events, widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Additionally, ocean acidification caused by increased CO2 absorption by our seas is also hindering some corals from building their skeletons.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming, including this species.
Cup Coral (Turbinaria peltata)
Range: Oceans worldwide
This striking cup coral is often made of overlapping tiers that may be several meters across. Its tentacles are usually extended during the day. It is usually found in more protected areas, especially shallow rocky areas with turbid water and shallow reef slopes. Due to warming oceans, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve if we reach 560 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming, including this gem.
Delta green ground beetle (Elaphrus viridis)
Range: Solano County, California
California's great Central Valley. It’s associated with vernal pools, which are seasonally wet pools that accumulate in low areas with poor drainage. Dry in the summer, these pools fill with the onset of winter rains. The beetle’s life cycle is in synchrony with its habitat. The beetle emerges in January, breeds in February and March, and then enters a period of dormancy in May as the pools dry up. The development of the Central Valley for agriculture has eliminated much of the vernal pool habitat. Saving the beetle will require saving vernal pools, and as global warming intensifies, California’s remaining vernal pools may dry up —leaving this beetle without a place to live.
Elkhorn coral (Acropora palmate)
Range: Florida Keys, Bahamas, and Caribbean islands
Named for its many large branches resembling vibrantly colored elk antlers, elkhorn coral is one of the two coral species (along with staghorn coral) first protected under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. Increased water temperatures cause coral mortality and bleaching — a process in which stressed corals expel the algae that give them color. Meanwhile, ocean acidification depletes seawater of compounds that corals need to build their skeletons.

Thanks to a scientific petition the Center submitted, elkhorn and staghorn corals gained federal legal protection in 2006, becoming the first species to be listed under the Endangered Species Act because of vulnerability to global warming.
Elliptical star coral (Dichocoenia stokesii)
Range: Caribbean
Often found in small, spherical forms, elliptical star coral is easily identified by its oval-shaped corallites, which conspicuously protrude above the surface. In deeper waters the corallites take on a more circular appearance. Elliptical star coral is most often a distinctive orange-brown color, and very infrequently green. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 corals, including the elliptical star coral, under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
False flower coral (Anacropora puertogalerae)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
Corals have amazing adaptation abilities, but this particular shallow reef species is considered extremely fragile. It has a low resistance to bleaching and disease and is slow to recover from both. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that CO2 must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming, including this delicate species.
False flower coral (Barabattoia laddi)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
Tens of millions of people depend on reef ecosystems, and despite degradation of so many reefs, human dependence on reefs is increasing. The values of goods and services provided by reefs have not been accurately determined, but estimates range from $172 billion to $375 billion per year. Barabattoia laddi has been recorded in shallow lagoons, foreslope, back slope, and reef flats, and is found in depths of at least 10 meters. A key identifying feature are its tubular clusters. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that CO2 must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming, including this species.
Fender’s blue butterfly (Icaricia icarioides fenderi)
Range: Willamette Valley in Oregon
The Fender’s blue is tiny — only about an inch across — and endangered, a butterfly found only in the Willamette Valley of northwestern Oregon. First noticed in the 1920s, it wasn’t scientifically documented and named until 1931. Biologist Ralph Macy named it for his friend Kenneth Fender, an entomologist and mail carrier. Later in the 1930s, the species was presumed extinct, but small populations were rediscovered in 1989. Fender’s blue butterflies are completely dependent upon the threatened Kincaid's lupine. Fender’s blues lay one egg at a time on the back of a Kincaid's lupine leaf, each egg no larger than the head of a pin. Climate change may change the availability of this butterfly’s host and nectar plants and disrupt the synchrony of the butterfly life cycle with its host plants.

In January 2000, the Fender's blue was added to the endangered species list by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; the Center secured critical habitat for the rare species in 2006.
Flowerpot coral (Alveopora allingi)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
As its common name suggests, flowerpot coral resembles a bouquet of flowers. Overexploited by the aquarium trade and rapidly losing habitat, this coral is found in American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, and other areas of the Pacific. Flowerpot coral has the highest bleaching response of any coral genus, making it extremely vulnerable to warming. Corals are among the species most threatened by global warming. Corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals, including flowerpot coral, under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
Hemprich’s brain coral (Acanthastrea hemprichii)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
This species of brain coral is named for German explorer and naturalist Wilhelm Hemprich, one of the first naturalists to study the Red Sea. Hemprich’s brain coral is mottled brown and green. It’s widespread and uncommon throughout its range. There’s no species-specific population information available for this species, but there is evidence that overall coral reef habitat has declined, and this is used as a proxy for population decline. Warming ocean temperatures have already resulted in frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals, including Hemrich’s brain coral, under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
Hermes copper butterfly (Lycaena hermes)
Range: From the vicinity of Fallbrook in northern San Diego County south to near Santo Tomás in Baja California, Mexico
The Hermes copper lays it eggs on a single host plant — the spiny redberry — and depends on this plant for survival. Unfortunately, rampant urban development in the Hermes’ habitat in San Diego County has resulted in large-scale habitat loss and the overly frequent ignition of fire in the Hermes’ coastal sage scrub and chaparral habitat, putting an end to the tenuous existence of many remaining populations. Warming temperatures and decreasing rainfall due to climate change will likely shift suitable habitat for the Hermes copper northward and upward in elevation. Due to urban development and habitat fragmentation, the Hermes copper and its host plant may not be able to shift into new areas as climate conditions change.

The Center has gone to court to challenge the federal government’s denial of protection to the Hermes copper. We’re also working against the construction of Sunrise Powerlink, a high-voltage transmission line proposed to run through Hermes copper habitat.
Hines emerald dragonfly (Somatochlora hineana)
Range: A few sites scattered in Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, and Missouri
Renowned for its aerobatic virtuosity and electrifying, enormous green eyes, the Hine’s emerald dragonfly hovers on the brink of extinction and is one of the most endangered dragonflies in North America today. In 1995, the Hine’s emerald dragonfly became the only dragonfly on the endangered species list. Temperature affects important traits in dragonflies, including their developmental rate, the timing of important events like breeding, immune function, and the production of pigment for temperature regulation. Warming temperatures caused by climate change threaten to stress the Hine’s emerald by affecting these life-history traits and shifting the locations of habitat where the dragonfly can live.

In 2009, the Center reached a settlement requiring the government to reconsider protecting 13,000 acres of habitat for the Hine’s emerald.
Humboldt squid (Dosidicus gigas)
Range: Tierra del Fuego, Argentine Patagonia, north to California
The Humboldt is an intelligent, adaptable, and highly successful predator. Normally found in very deep waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean, the Humboldt can reach lengths of up to seven feet and can weigh as much as 100 pounds. But climate change may radically alter the Humboldt’s range: As ocean waters have warmed, the squid has expanded northward and has recently been found as far north as Alaska. Making matters worse, scientists have found that rising ocean acidification will significantly depress the metabolic rates and activity levels of this jumbo squid — an effect that will only be exacerbated by higher water temperatures. Further, an increase in oxygen-depleted areas of the ocean may compress the habitable depth range of the species.
Island marble butterfly (Euchloe ausonides insulanus)
Range: San Juan Island in Washington state
Last seen in 1908 before popping up again 90 years later, this beautiful white and green butterfly was believed extinct until a small population was found on Washington state’s San Juan Islands. Scientists believe this is the only viable population of island marble butterflies in the world — one catastrophic event could wipe out the whole population. Many butterfly species have shifted their ranges or declined in response to climate change. Because much of the island marble’s habitat has been destroyed, a key danger is that the remaining isolated population may not be able to shift to new areas as climate conditions are altered. Climate change may also change the availability of this species’ host and nectar plants or disrupt the synchrony of the butterfly’s life cycle with its host plants.

In 2002, the Center and allies petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the island marble butterfly as endangered. In February 2006, the Service began a review of the butterfly’s status.
Ivory tree coral (Oculina varicosa)
Range: Western Atlantic
This Caribbean coral is a slow-growing and delicate-branching coral whose thickets provide a home to various reef fish. Ivory tree coral is considered a keystone species, meaning that its own health indicates the health of the ecosystem around it — thus, it’s telling that these corals have been decimated by destructive fishing practices such as bottom trawling, which has killed about 30 percent of the population across its range. And today, corals like the ivory tree are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. With warming ocean temperatures comes frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification harms corals’ ability to build their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming, including this species.
Karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis)
Range: Primarily Wisconsin; scattered populations throughout the Midwest and Northeast
The official state butterfly of New Hampshire, the Karner blue was first identified and named by novelist and lepidopterist Vladimir Nabokov. Its name originates from Karner, New York, where it was first discovered. This beautiful little butterfly’s lifecycle depends on the wild blue lupine flower, which itself is endangered. In 2000, the Karner blue was found to be extirpated in Canada. Rising temperatures may hurt Karner blues by increasing heat stress, influencing reproductive success, and causing the earlier die-off of its lupine host plant. In one laboratory experiment, signs of heat stress started at 96 degrees Fahrenheit for females and 98 degrees for males.
Laguna Mountains skipper (Pyrgus ruralis lagunae)
Range: High-elevation areas in Southern California‘s Cleveland National Forest
The Laguna Mountains skipper is a small, black and white checkered endangered butterfly with a fast, erratic flight pattern. It‘s found only in Southern California, at high elevations — approximately 4,000 to 6,000 feet. With a single larval host plant, Cleveland’s horkelia, the Laguna Mountains skipper has experienced a dramatic population decline mostly due to habitat destruction. Additionally, dry seasons have brought a decline in the larval host plant, leading to a parallel decline in the Laguna Mountains skipper population. Due to their small population size, their limited high-elevation habitat, and the vulnerability of their sole host plant to drought, global warming poses a grave threat to Laguna Mountains skippers.

After the Center filed suit to earn critical habitat for the Laguna Mountains skipper, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated approximately 6,242 acres for the butterfly.
Alveopora coral (Alveopora fenestrata)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
Although they occupy only 0.2 percent in area of our oceans, coral reefs are the most biodiverse marine ecosystems. Lamarck’s sheet coral has long polyps with long tentacles, making this coral’s appearance similar to a bouquet of tiny flowers. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that CO2 must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals, including this species, under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
Miami blue butterfly (Hemiargus thomasi bethunebakeri)
Range: Bahia Honda State Park on Bahia Honda Key in the Lower Florida Keys
This small, metallic blue butterfly native to south Florida experienced its first major setback in the 1980s, when coastal development exploded and Florida’s war on mosquitoes dispersed toxic chemicals throughout the butterfly’s range. After Hurricane Andrew ripped through southern Florida in 1992, the already-scarce Miami blue butterfly almost went extinct — no one recorded a single sighting for years. Finally, in 1999, a photographer discovered 35 specimens in Bahia Honda State Park in the Lower Florida Keys, which now houses the only wild population of Miami blues. Today, global warming brings additional risks to this greatly imperiled species as sea-level rise threatens to inundate much of its habitat on low-lying Bahia Honda Key, and stronger hurricanes could devastate the remaining small, isolated population.

The Center has filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service for refusing to list the species under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Mountainous star coral (Montastraea faveolata)
Range: Western Atlantic
Once considered the dominant reef-building corals of the Atlantic, more than half of these corals have disappeared in just three decades. This Caribbean coral is susceptible to bleaching, ocean acidification, pollution, and disease. Already, the decline and death of this coral is outpacing its ability to grow and build new colonies. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that CO2 must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming including, mountainous star coral.
Oceanic Hawaiian damselfly (Megalagrion oceanicum)
Range: Koolau Mountains on Oahu, Hawaii
The beautiful oceanic Hawaiian damselfly is one of 23 damselfly species on the Hawaiian Islands, endemic to the island of Oahu. Damselflies begin life as an egg, soon hatching into a predacious naiad that stalks streambanks for other aquatic invertebrates or swims after small fish, and then molts into the mature form. In this last embodiment, the falcon-like damselfly swoops down on other flying insects such as midges. Temperature affects important traits in damselflies, including their developmental rate and the timing of important events like breeding, immune function, and the production of pigment for temperature regulation. Warming temperatures from climate change threaten to stress the oceanic Hawaiian damselfly by affecting these life-history traits and shifting the places of suitable habitat where it can live.

In 2006, the Center filed a lawsuit to force an endangered species listing for the damselfly and hundreds of other species languishing on the candidate list. The damselfly has been on the candidate list for 25 years.
Ocellated coral (Cyphastrea ocellina)
Range: Indo-West Pacific and Central Pacific
Ocellated coral is very closely related to Agassiz’s coral, and is also frequently referred to as lesser knob coral. Ocellated coral has less pronounced polyps than Agassiz’s coral and comes in a wider range of colors. Both ocellated and Agassiz’s corals are particularly susceptible to bleaching and disease because of a restricted depth range. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 corals, including ocellated coral, under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
Octopus coral (Galaxea astreata)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
The octopus coral has historically proven to be particularly sensitive to high bleaching rates and subsequent mortality, as demonstrated in a 1998 bleaching event in Palau. Its densely packed and brightly colored polyps have also made it a favorite amongst aquarium hobbyists, resulting in rapid, unsustainable collection. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 corals, including the octopus coral, under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
Oyster mussel (Epioblasma capsaeformis)
Range: United States
You’ve heard of oysters. You’ve heard of mussels. Now allow us to introduce the oyster mussel, a freshwater bivalve mollusk found in rivers all over the United States. The IUCN Red List of Endangered Species lists the oyster mussel as critically endangered. Pesticide contamination of rivers and habitat loss have brought this species to the brink of extinction. Increasing drought conditions due to climate change, made worse by water withdrawals, threaten water flow in the oyster mussel’s remaining river habitat.
Packard fairy shrimp (Branchinecta packardi)
Range: Cool to cold-water habitats at high elevations in isolated wetlands of northern and west-central New Mexico
Tiny and unusual, fairy shrimp are often found swimming in ephemeral pools of water in arid regions – an appropriately fleeting habitat for a creature with an average life span measured in weeks, if not days. Extremely rare, even for notoriously scarce fairy shrimp, Packard fairy shrimp are only found in a handful of short-lived, isolated wetlands at high elevations in northern and west-central New Mexico. This aquatic invertebrate is an important link in the food web and an indicator of the health of its ephemeral wetland home.

Increasingly frequent and severe drought projected for the Southwest threatens to dry up the short-lived wetlands that the Packard fairy shrimp needs to survive.
Peck’s Cave Amphipod (Stygobromus pecki)
Range: Edwards Aquifer in Central Texas
This elusive, hardy, and tiny crustacean may not be as glamorous as a polar bear or an orca, but it deserves just as much of a chance. Known to exist in only two springs of the central Texas Edward’s Aquifer, this amphipod, along with several of its close relatives, have contended with manmade environmental destruction for years. Now climate change threatens to tip the scales irrevocably. The main threat to the survival of the Peck’s cave amphipod is decreased spring flow due to increased use of groundwater resources throughout the Edwards Aquifer region, which may prove fatal to the species when coupled with increased drought.

The Center has been instrumental in saving several Edward’s Aquifer residents, including this particular amphipod, by suing to force federal officials to designate critical habitat.
Pillar coral (Dendrogyra cylindrus)
Range: Caribbean
Pillar corals grow in distinct groups of tall columns that occasionally reach more than six feet in height. Unlike most hard corals, the polyps are active in daytime, granting the pillar coral a soft, fuzzy appearance. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 corals, including pillar coral, under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
Puget Oregonian (Cryptomastix devia)
Range: Southwestern British Columbia south to the Oregon side of the Columbia Gorge
The Puget Oregonian is a small snail that inhabits the Pacific Northwest and southwestern Canada. Little is known for sure about this rare and reclusive snail, which is only found in small, scattered populations. It is believed to be slow to mature and long lived, but the species faces a host of threats including habitat destruction and fragmentation, competition from introduced species, and increasingly, climate change.

This snail prefers moist valleys, ravines, gorges, or talus sites near permanent or persistent water in areas not subject to frequent flooding. Because it depends on moist microhabitat, the Puget Oregonian is likely to be detrimentally affected by changes in ground temperature and drier soil conditions as global warming increases temperatures and drought.
Purple bean (Villosa perpurpurea)
Range: Northeastern Tennessee and southwestern Virginia
The purple bean is a freshwater mussel endemic to the United Sates. It is found in scattered populations throughout the upper Tennessee River system, with a fragmented distribution that makes it extremely vulnerable to extinction via one catastrophic event.

Increasing drought conditions due to climate change, compounded by heavier water withdrawals by humans, threaten water flow in this mussel’s remaining river habitat.
Quino checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas editha quino)
Range: Riverside and San Diego counties, California, and scattered areas in Baja California, Mexico
Once one of the most common California butterflies, historically the Quino checkerspot butterfly numbered in the millions and could be found throughout California and Mexico. Habitat destruction and rapid climate change together have severely reduced this butterfly’s numbers. With increasing temperatures and drier conditions, the butterfly’s range has undergone a large-scale shift northward and upward in elevation, as populations have gone extinct in the southern 100 miles of the species’ range. Warmer temperatures and increasing drought conditions reduce butterfly growth rates and negatively affect host plants — lowering their density and their seasonal availability to butterflies.

The Quino checkerspot butterfly was listed as an endangered species in 1997 in response to a petition and lawsuit by the Center. In response to another Center lawsuit, 171,605 acres of critical habitat were designated for the butterfly in Riverside and San Diego counties in 2002. We’re also working to protect Quino checkerspot habitat on public lands in Southern California’s national forests.
Riverside fairy shrimp (Streptocephalus woottoni)
Range: California’s Ventura, Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange, and San Diego counties; and Baja California, Mexico
Though tiny and delicate looking, Riverside fairy shrimp are spectacularly adapted to living in seasonal vernal pool habitats, able to hatch, grow, breed, and lay eggs in a single wet season — usually only three to four months long. The Riverside fairy shrimp now remains in only 25 scattered, small populations thanks to human encroachment and development, and climate change threatens to irrevocably tip the scales against this hardy crustacean. Relatively small changes in the timing or amount of precipitation can affect fairy shrimp population dynamics. Drought-induced decreases in water depth and the period of flooding of vernal pools can increase the frequency at which pools dry before shrimp have completed their life cycle. Warming temperatures and low water levels can cause pool temperatures to more often exceed temperatures suitable for hatching and persistence of the species.

The Center filed suit in 1999 to force the Service to designate critical habitat for this invertebrate. In early 2009, we filed suit against the Bush administration over its appalling reduction in the fairy shrimp’s critical habitat.
Sacramento Mountains checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas anicia cloudcrofti)
Range: Endemic to Sacramento Mountains, New Mexico
The Sacramento Mountains checkerspot butterfly is a year-round resident of New Mexico’s Sacaramento Mountains’ high meadows. With only eight square miles of suitable habitat, the checkerspot is entirely dependent on the integrity of its ecosystem, an integrity that climate change threatens to permanently disrupt. As conditions become warmer and drier, the butterfly’s habitat may shift upward in elevation, threatening to leave the animal without any place to go. Climatic changes that lower the abundance of its host plant, the New Mexico penstemon, or alter the synchrony of the butterfly life cycle with these plants can have dire consequences.

Originally denied consideration for protection because under New Mexico state law insects are not recognized as wildlife, the Center is still working to secure formal protection and designation for the checkerspot after nearly 10 years of litigation.
Sand Mountain blue butterfly (Euphilotes pallescens arenamontana)
Range: Sand Mountain Recreation Area in Churchill County, Nevada
The Sand Mountain blue butterfly is a beautiful and rare species, living in only one place on Earth: the “singing” Sand Mountain dunes of Nevada. The butterfly is highly dependent on just one plant — the Kearney buckwheat, whose leaves and petals are munched on by larvae while adults sip the nectar. Sand Mountain blue butterflies often remain within 200 feet of their host plant for their entire life cycle. This restricted range, and the butterfly’s dependence on just one plant, make it extremely vulnerable to climate change, because climatic changes lower the abundance of the Kearney buckwheat and alter the synchrony of the butterfly’s life cycle with these plants — and that can have dire consequences.

The Center petitioned to protect the Sand Mountain blue under the Endangered Species Act in 2004, subsequently filing suit to compel a response, but the butterfly was denied protection. We continue our work to address the host of threats that face the species, including habitat destruction from off-road vehicles and global warming.
Schaus swallowtail butterfly (Heraclides aristodemus ponceanus)
Range: Upper Florida Keys, from Key Biscayne Park to northern Key Largo and Upper Matecumbe Key
The Schaus’ swallowtail butterfly historically occurred in tropical hardwood hammock from south Miami to Lower Matecumbe Key, Florida. Originally listed as a threatened species because of habitat destruction and impacts from mosquito-control practices, it’s now listed as endangered because its numbers and range have declined dramatically. The butterfly is further threatened by sea-level rise and increasing hurricane intensity. Rising ocean waters will lead to the loss of the butterfly’s upland hardwood hammock and pine rockland habitat to more salt-tolerant plants. Major hurricanes, like Hurricane Andrew, cause widespread mortality of butterfly adults and destroy or damage host plants like torchwood and wild lime that house butterfly larvae.
Sea butterfly (pteropod; Clione antarctica)
Range: Antarctic and sub-antarctic waters
This tiny, nonshelled marine snail of Antarctic waters spends its entire life at temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius. Propelling itself with paddle-like wings, Clione antarctica feeds almost exclusively on the shelled pteropod Limacina helicina. In a remarkable relationship, the amphipod Hyperiella dilatata appears to use Clione antarctica as protection from predation by antarctic fish. The amphipod grasps C. antarctica from the water and mounts its back, where the chemically defended pteropod serves to prevent the amphipod from being munched. This species is now gravely threatened by ocean acidification. Ocean acidification depletes seawater of the mineral aragonite that many marine organisms need to build shells and skeletons. Ocean acidification will not only impair Clione antarctica larvae from building their protective shell armor, but also threaten the ability of its prey — the shelled pteropod Limacina helicina — to survive.

The Center has petitioned eight coastal states to declare ocean waters impaired under the Clean Water Act due to ocean acidification; we also petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to impose stricter pH standards for ocean water quality and publish guidance to help states protect U.S. waters from acidification.
Sea butterfly (pteropod; Clione limacina)
Range: Northern Hemisphere in polar and cold temperate water
Though tiny — growing to about 25 millimeters in length — the nonshelled pteropod Clione limacina is a fierce predator. It feeds almost exclusively on shelled pteropods, grabbing its prey’s shell with six tentacles and extracting the animal inside with large hooks. After about 30 minutes of eating, it drops its prey’s empty shell and “flies” off through the water on the wing-like flaps it uses to propel itself. This species, though relatively common, is now gravely threatened by ocean acidification. Ocean acidification depletes seawater of the mineral aragonite that organisms need to build shells and skeletons. Ocean acidification will impair Clione limacina larvae from building their protective, thimble-shaped shell armor. Without its shelled prey, Clione limacine won’t survive, either.

The Center has petitioned eight coastal states to declare ocean waters impaired under the Clean Water Act due to ocean acidification; we also petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to impose stricter pH standards for ocean water quality and publish guidance to help states protect U.S. waters from acidification.
Sea butterfly (pteropod; Limacina helicina)
Range: Arctic and Southern oceans
These tiny shelled marine snails are called “sea butterflies” by some due to their elegant swimming style, and “potato chips of the sea” by others because they’re a key part of the marine food web in the polar oceans. Limacina helicina captures its prey by casting a web of mucus that traps tiny plankton. Pteropods are among the marine creatures most vulnerable to ocean acidification, global warming’s “evil twin.” Ocean acidification lowers the availability of the mineral aragonite that this pteropod uses to form its shell, hindering this snail from building its protective armor. Scientists project that acidic ocean conditions may be lethal for Limacina helicina in the Southern Ocean as early as 2030. The loss of these key organisms would be catastrophic for the marine food web.

The Center has petitioned eight coastal states to declare ocean waters impaired under the Clean Water Act due to ocean acidification; we also petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to impose stricter pH standards for ocean water quality and publish guidance to help states protect U.S. waters from acidification.
Small alpine xenica (Oreixenica latialis latialis)
Current distribution: Endemic to Australian Alps
The small alpine xenica is a butterfly found only in the Australian Alps – Australia’s highest mountain range. A little more than an inch long, the small alpine xenica definitely lives up to its name as a diminutive insect. While currently found in plentiful numbers, the projected disappearance of permanent snow cover and increased temperatures caused by climate change could result in the disappearance of the alpine habitat the xenica calls home.
Smith's blue butterfly (Euphilotes enoptes smithi)
Range: Monterey, San Mateo, and Santa Cruz counties, California
A highly specialized creature, the Smith’s blue butterfly spends its entire life on or near coastal dunes within a few hundred yards of the seacliff and coast buckwheat — the host plant on which it lays its eggs. The Smith’s blue’s restricted range and dependence on just a few plants make it extremely vulnerable to climate change. Climatic changes that lower the abundance of its host plants or alter the synchrony of the butterfly life cycle with these plants can have dire consequences.

The Center has worked tirelessly to rectify severe mismanagement of this species, lobbying particularly effectively for protections of Los Padres National Forest – key blue butterfly habitat. Since 2001, we’ve filed numerous appeals and threatened legal action to rein in illegal livestock grazing on public land in Big Sur, forcing the Forest Service to suspend grazing on thousands of acres and refrain from increasing grazing on eight federal allotments in Smith’s blue habitat.
Spring Mountains springsnail (Pyrgulopsis deaconi)
Range: Spring Mountains, Nevada
Dotting the vast, arid expanses of the Great Basin and Mojave deserts are precious springs housing rare forms of life that, while small, play a huge role in their ecosystems. Springsnails — tiny and inconspicuous freshwater mollusks such as the Spring Mountains springsnail — help make life possible for countless other species, converting algae, microorganisms, and decaying matter into edibles for other invertebrates, fish, birds, turtles, amphibians, and small mammals. Their presence shapes water chemistry, nutrient cycling, and rates of productivity and breakdown. Without them, food chains would unravel and wetland living conditions could fall fatally out of whack. Global warming is already altering springs’ water-flow, and with their limited mobility and restricted distribution, these sensitive springsnails can’t move or adapt quickly enough to survive.

Accordingly, in February 2009 the Center filed a scientific petition to grant Endangered Species Act protection and designate critical habitat for 42 imperiled springsnails of the Great Basin and Mojave, including the Spring Moutains springsnail.
Spruce-fir moss spider (Microhexura montivaga)
Range: Highest mountain peaks in the southern Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee
The spruce-fir moss spider is a miniature tarantula-like, endangered spider found at high elevations in the southern Appalachian Mountains. First identified in 1923, it’s so named because it lives in moss that grows on rocks underneath the forest canopy. The spruce-fir moss spider is small, measuring only three to four millimeters. It constructs tube-shaped webs — apparently for shelter, since there are no records of prey being found in the webs. The widespread death of Fraser fir trees has destroyed much of this spider’s habitat, and it was listed as endangered in 1995. In two locations in North Carolina, there was only one spider found in each in recent years.

Climate change is one factor that has been linked to the widespread declines of the high-elevation spruce-fir forests of the Southeast that this spider calls home.
Staghorn coral (Acropora aculeus)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
Staghorn coral are the most abundant corals on the majority of the reefs in the Indo-Pacific. Throughout its range, this coral can be found on any stretch of reef. However, this species is extremely sensitive to bleaching and disease, and it’s slow to recover. Corals like the staghorn are among the species most threatened by climate change. They’re already suffering from mass bleaching events that lead to death and disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. To protect corals, scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming, including several Acropora corals found in Hawaii and the greater Pacific. Two Acropora species in the Caribbean — elkhorn and staghorn corals — are already protected as threatened as a result of a petition filed by the Center.
Staghorn coral (Acropora dendrum)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
The genus name, Acropora, comes from the combination of the words akron (“extremity” in Greek) plus porous (“pore” in Latin), meaning that this species’ calcium skeleton is porous at the extremities or tips of each branch. This species can be found to a depth of 20 meters. Corals are facing extinction if we do not curb global warming. Mass bleaching events lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. To protect corals, scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. Our petition seeks to protect several Acropora corals found in Hawaii and the greater Pacific. Two Acropora species in the Caribbean — elkhorn and staghorn corals — are already protected as threatened as a result of a petition filed by the Center.
Staghorn coral (Acropora donei)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
Acropora corals are among the fastest-growing corals on a reef and are responsible for the majority of reef formations. This species, Acropora donei, is restricted to shallow fringing reefs and upper reef slopes where Acropora species diversity is high. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. To protect corals, scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming, including Acropora corals found in Hawaii and the greater Pacific. Two Acropora species in the Caribbean — elkhorn and staghorn corals — are already protected as threatened as a result of a petition filed by the Center.
Staghorn coral (Acropora globiceps)
Range: Western central Pacific
Acropora globiceps likely spawns annually in October in French Polynesia. It’s found to a depth of eight meters. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming, including several Acropora corals found in Hawaii and the greater Pacific. Two Acropora species in the Caribbean — elkhorn and staghorn corals — are already protected as threatened as a result of a petition filed by the Center.
Staghorn coral (Acropora horrida)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
Corals provide us with key examples of complex species interdependencies. For example, Acropora corals host symbiotic algae, zooxanthellae. The interdependence of coral with other species is one of the reasons why the crisis facing corals from global warming is so significant. Due to warming oceans, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming and two Acropora species in the Caribbean — elkhorn and staghorn corals — are already protected as threatened as a result of a petition filed by the Center.
Staghorn coral (Acropora jacquelineae)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
This uncommon coral is made up of colonies of flat plates that are uniform in color, either gray-brown or pinkish, and measuring up to one meter across. Viewed from above, the plates are covered with a mass of very fine, delicate curved axial corallites, giving it an almost moss-like appearance. Corals like this one are among the species most threatened by rising temperatures, which have lead to frequent mass bleaching events, widespread coral death, and higher risk of disease. Additionally, ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. Our petition seeks to protect numerous Acropora corals found in Hawaii and the greater Pacific. Two Acropora species in the Caribbean — elkhorn and staghorn corals — are already protected as a result of a petition filed by the Center.
Staghorn coral (Acropora listeri)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
This coral is cream or brown colored. Its colonies are comprised of irregular clumps with thick branches that vary widely in length and shape. Some of this irregularity is a result of branches being tapered in wave-washed habitats. In less-exposed habitats, branches are conical, dome-shaped, or globular. Due to warming oceans, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve if we reach an atmospheric CO2 level of 560 parts per million.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. Our petition seeks to protect numerous Acropora corals found in Hawaii and the greater Pacific. Elkhorn and staghorn corals, two Acropora species in the Caribbean, are already protected as threatened as a result of a petition filed by the Center.
Staghorn coral (Acropora lokani)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
Corals are marine organisms that exist as small, sea anemone-like polyps. They’re typically found in colonies of many identical individuals. This species’ colonies are composed of robust horizontal main branches, which usually diverge, and short upright branches, which diverge from main branches. The species is cream, brown, or blue but sometimes photographs as pink. Corals are already feeling the impacts of global warming: frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease, as well as ocean acidification that’s already hindering some corals from building their skeletons. All corals are predicted to dissolve at atmospheric CO2 levels of 560 parts per million.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. Our petition seeks to protect numerous Acropora corals found in Hawaii and the greater Pacific, including this one.
Staghorn coral (Acropora microclados)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
This species’ colonies are formed of plates up to about three feet across, with short, uniform, evenly spaced, tapered branches. The species is typically a distinctive pale pinkish-brown, but it’s occasionally other colors. Scientists have said that CO2 levels must be reduced to 350 parts per million or below to protect corals, and if we reach levels of 560 ppm or above, all corals are predicted to dissolve. The impacts of greenhouse gas pollution on corals include frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to protect 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. Our petition includes numerous Acropora corals found in Hawaii and the greater Pacific, including Acropora microclados.
Staghorn coral (cropora pharaonis)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
Staghorn coral is a branching coral with cylindrical branches ranging from a few centimeters to more than two meters in length and height. Colonies of this gray-brown coral are made up of large tables or irregular clusters of horizontal or upright interlinked contorted branches that have pale tips. Corals are already suffering grave impacts from warming ocean temperatures: Mass bleaching events have led to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease, ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. Our petition seeks to protect numerous Acropora corals found in Hawaii and the greater Pacific. Two Acropora species in the Caribbean — elkhorn and staghorn corals — are protected as threatened as a result of a petition filed by the Center.
Staghorn coral (Acropora polystoma)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
The dominant mode of reproduction for staghorn corals is asexual, with new colonies forming when branches break off and reattach. This method allows for rapid population recovery from physical disturbances like storms. However, it makes recovery from disease or bleaching episodes — where entire colonies or even entire stands are killed — very difficult. Thus, corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution, with warming ocean temperatures leading to mass bleaching events, coral death, and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. Our petition seeks to protect numerous Acropora corals found in Hawaii and the greater Pacific, including the Acropora polystoma.
Staghorn coral (Acropora retusa)
Range: Indo-West Pacific and western central Pacific
While the dominant mode of reproduction for staghorn coral is asexual, sexual reproduction does occur. Gametes (cells that fuse with another cell during fertilization) travel into the water column once each year in August or September. Individual colonies are both male and female and will release millions of gametes. The coral larvae live in the plankton for several days until finding a suitable area to settle; unfortunately, very few larvae survive to settle and metamorphose into new colonies. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. Our petition seeks to protect numerous Acropora corals, including this species.
Staghorn coral (Acropora speciosa)
Range: Indo-West Pacific and western central Pacific
If this species of staghorn coral had a more specific common name, it might be called bottlebrush coral, since its colonies form thick cushions and bottlebrush branches. It’s a vibrant cream color with delicate corallite tips. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. Our petition seeks to protect numerous Acropora corals found in Hawaii and the greater Pacific, including the Acropora speciosa. Two Acropora species in the Caribbean — elkhorn and staghorn corals — are already protected as threatened as a result of a petition filed by the Center.
Staghorn coral (Acropora striata)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
Since 1980, populations of staghorn coral have collapsed throughout their ranges from disease outbreaks, with losses compounded locally by hurricanes, increased predation, bleaching, and other factors. The colonies of this species of staghorn coral consist of dense thickets of short, cylindrical branches that may form extensive stands. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that CO2 must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming, including numerous Acropora corals.
Staghorn coral (Acropora tenella)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
Staghorn coral faces many threats. It’s particularly susceptible to damage from sedimentation. It’s sensitive to temperature and salinity variation. This sensitivity has resulted in population declines of up to 98 percent throughout its range, with localized extirpations. This staghorn coral is comprised of cream branches with white or blue ends. Coral’s sensitivity to temperature means that it’s among the species most threatened by global warming. With ocean temperatures rising, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals, including Acropora tenella, under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. Two Acropora species in the Caribbean are already protected as threatened as a result of a petition filed by the Center.
Staghorn coral (Acropora vaughani)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
Colonies of this staghorn coral are usually open branched, becoming bushy on upper reef slopes and in shallow lagoons. Main branches may have compact branchlets, giving colonies a bushy appearance. This species is cream, pale brown, or blue but may photograph as pink. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals, including this one, under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. Two Acropora species are already protected as threatened as a result of a petition filed by the Center.
Staghorn coral (Acropora verweyi)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
This uncommon staghorn species of resembles thorns. It’s dark greenish-brown, gray, or chocolate, sometimes with white oral cones and/or tentacle tips. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. Our petition seeks to protect numerous Acropora corals and two Acropora species in the Caribbean — elkhorn and staghorn corals — are already protected as threatened as a result of a petition filed by the Center.
Starflower coral (Astreopora cucullata)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
More than 100 countries have coastlines with coral reefs, and almost 500 million people — 8 percent of the world’s population — live within 100 kilometers of a reef. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that CO2 must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming, including this species.
Thorne's hairstreak butterfly (Callophrys [Mitoura] thornei)
Range: Otay Mountain in southern San Diego County, California
Originally described as a unique species in 1983, the Thorne’s hairstreak butterfly has hovered precariously close to extinction ever since then. The hairstreak lives in chaparral ecosystems of Southern California and northern Baja California, which are vulnerable to overly frequent wildfires caused by people. It’s estimated that one unlucky fire could extinguish the species forever. Butterflies are particularly sensitive to small changes in moisture and temperature; warming temperatures and reduced rainfall in its range could disrupt the synchrony of the butterfly’s lifecycle with its host plant. Climate change may also increase fire risk in chaparral habitats.

Despite clear evidence that hairstreak populations have been declining for decades, federal authorities have continuously refused to grant the species federal protection. The Center has petitioned and filed two lawsuits in an effort to gain protection for the Thorne’s hairstreak, and we’re currently involved in litigation to put it on the endangered species list.
Trumpet coral (Caulastrea echinulata)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
A relatively hardy coral, the trumpet coral features densely packed polyps shaped like the horn of a trumpet. It varies in color but is most often grayish green, with stripes running outward along each polyp’s edge. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 corals, including the trumpet coral, under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
Vernal pool fairy shrimp (Branchinecta lynchi)
Range: California and Agate Desert of southern Oregon
Though tiny and delicate looking, fairy shrimp are spectacularly adapted to living in vernal pool habitats. But what happens when the fairy shrimp’s unique home turf is paved over, farmed on, or churned up by vehicles’ wheels? Now, with just 25 suitable vernal pool complexes left on the planet, even this tough little crustacean can’t withstand human impacts much longer. With the looming threat of climate change and decreased rainfall, not only the shrimp but a suite of rare vernal pool species — as well as vernal pools themselves — could slip into extinction. Relatively small changes in the timing or amount of precipitation can affect fairy shrimp population dynamics. Drought-induced decreases in water depth and the period of inundation of vernal pools can increase the frequency at which pools dry before shrimp have completed their life cycle. Warming temperatures and low water levels can cause pool temperatures to more often exceed temperatures suitable for hatching and the persistence of the species.

The Center has been working to save the Riverside fairy shrimp since 1997, when we and allies stopped a massive development planned for one of Los Angeles’ last remaining wetlands. We also filed suit in 1999 to force the Service to designate critical habitat. And in early 2009, we filed suit against the Bush administration over its appalling reduction in the fairy shrimp’s critical habitat.
Vernal pool tadpole shrimp (Lepidurus packardi)
Range: Vernal pools of central California, notably Sacramento
This tadpole shrimp depends on vernal pool ecosystems throughout California’s central valley. The alien-like crustacean is perfectly adapted to temporary pools that form as water collects after seasonal rains or snow melts, completing its life cycle in less than six months. The tadpole shrimp already contends with several manmade threats, including habitat destruction and extreme population fragmentation as a result of urban growth.

Warming temperatures and precipitation changes reduce the period of inundation that supports vernal pools, in turn threaten the tadpole shrimp and other species that depend on this ephemeral habitat for periods long enough to complete their life cycle.
White abalone (Haliotis sorenseni)
Range: California’s Channel Islands
Despite being the first marine invertebrate listed as an endangered species, the white abalone has never recovered from its early overexploitation. The scattered individuals remaining are threatened by warming ocean temperatures and ocean acidification. Warmer water temperatures enhance the spread and virulence of a deadly abalone disease called withering syndrome, and may decrease the growth of kelp, a major food source for adults. Increasing ocean acidification and the upwelling of corrosive waters along the West Coast of the United States threaten to hinder the abalone in building its protective shell.

The white abalone was first listed under the Endangered Species Act thanks to a Center petition. We hope our efforts to stem climate change and ocean acidification will help preserve the remaining few specimens.
White grape coral (Euphyllia cristata)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
White grape coral is a rare but conspicuous coral whose natural stock has been seriously depleted by the aquarium trade industry. The long, tubular tentacles of each polyp end in distinctly colored knobs, making the white grape an exceptionally attractive coral. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 corals, including the white grape coral, under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
Yellow scroll coral (Turbinaria reniformis)
Range: Oceans worldwide
This coral takes its name from its color and intricate design. It is typically a beautiful yellow-green with distinctly colored margins. Because yellow scroll coral has a restricted depth range, it is more susceptible to bleaching and disease. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming, including this species.