Number of Native Species in United States
The United States has 21,715 species of native plants and animals. Nearly three thousand are animals, while over 18,000 species are plants.
The animal numbers include only vertebrates (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish) and not invertebrates such as insects and crustaceans, which are so plentiful they have yet to be completely identified and counted.
Flowering plants species dominate the country's diversity, amounting to three-quarters of US species. Fish are the largest group of animal species, with over one thousand counted. Birds form another numerous animal group.
|Total Vertebrate Animals||2,972|
|Flowering plants (angiosperms)||16,499|
These numbers of plants and animals native to the fifty states include recently extinct species and wild species that now only survive in captivity. The number of fish species includes all freshwater, but not all marine species.
Not included in the totals are exotic or invasive species of plants and animals introduced to America from other countries. Non-native livestock and cultivated plants are also not part of the species totals.
How Many Animal Species Live in America
A more detailed look at categories of animals shows that nearly half of American mammal species are rodents. Another 58 mammal species live in oceans. Snakes are the most diverse group of reptiles. Among amphibians, salamander species outnumber frogs and toads.
|Rabbits, Hares, Pikas||19|
|Opossum, Manatee, Armadillo||3|
|Whales, Porpoises, Dolphins||43|
|Seals, Sealions, Walrus||14|
Animal Categories Explained
- Carnivores, animals that eat meat, range from wolves to weasels. The group contains bears, wildcats, foxes, marten, otters, skunks, raccoon and wolverine.
- Hoofed mammals include caribou, elk, deer, moose, pronghorn, peccary, sheep, mountain goat, muskox and bison.
- Rodents include rats and mice, plus voles, lemmings, squirrels, chipmunks, gophers, marmots, porcupine and beaver.
NatureServe. 2009. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life. Version 7.1.