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.

Number of native plant and vertebrate animal species in United States.
Category Species Totals
Vertebrate Animals
Mammals 428
Birds 784
Reptiles 311
Amphibians 295
Fishes 1,154
Total Vertebrate Animals 2,972
Flowering plants (angiosperms) 16,499
Conifers (gymnosperms) 122
Ferns 658
Mosses 1,024
Liverworts 440
Total Plants 18,743

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.

Number of animal species native to United States.
Category Species
Carnivores 39
Hoofed Mammals 12
Bats 45
Rabbits, Hares, Pikas 19
Rodents 207
Shrews, Moles 46
Opossum, Manatee, Armadillo 3
Whales, Porpoises, Dolphins 43
Seals, Sealions, Walrus 14
Lizards 111
Snakes 142
Turtles 56
Frogs, Toads 104
Salamanders 191

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.

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