Recommended Citation: Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation (Xerces) and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation Mussel Project (CTUIR). [Year Accessed]. Western Freshwater Mussel Database. Available at https://www.xerces.org/endangered-species/freshwater-mussels/database. List of contributors available at: https://xerces.org/endangered-species/freshwater-mussels/database/contributors.
Have you observed freshwater mussels in western North America? Are you looking for information on western freshwater mussel distribution or occurrence in your area? The Xerces Society and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation have compiled a database of occurrence records to support research and conservation of freshwater mussels.
The Xerces Society produces dozens of publications each year to share the latest science-based conservation information; guide conservation efforts; and support farmers, gardeners, and other invertebrate enthusiasts in creating healthy habitat for the "little things that run the world."
The pollinator resources found on this page support habitat restoration throughout the mainland United States and Canada.
To ensure healthy ecosystems, the Xerces Society’s endangered species team conserves at-risk species and their habitats through research, advocacy, education, conservation planning, and restoration. Our team of conservation biologists holds degrees in entomology, ecology, biology, and environmental science, and has decades of experience working with rare and at-risk terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates. We share a passion for conserving invertebrates that are imperiled with extinction.
Beetles comprise the most diverse group of organisms in the world. Approximately one of every four species (including plants, animals, bacteria, and fungi) that has been described is a type of beetle. As might be expected in such a large group, beetles are quite diverse in color, shape, and ecological role.
Thus far, most of the Xerces Society’s conservation work on beetles has focused on fireflies and tiger beetles:
The Xerces Society works across a diversity of landscapes and with a broad array of species. From the Delhi Sands flower-loving fly, to the Oregon giant earth worm, you can learn more about these assorted at-risk species by scrolling down, or using the search tools.
Butterflies and moths make up the order Lepidoptera, the fourth largest order of insects. These animals are beautiful to observe and make valuable contributions to ecosystems.
Bees are undoubtedly the most abundant pollinators of flowering plants in our environment. The service that bees and other pollinators provide allows nearly 70% of all flowering plants to reproduce; the fruits and seeds from insect pollinated plants account for over 30% of the foods and beverages that humans consume.
While all pollinators are facing significant threats, an analysis led by the Xerces Society, and coordinated with the IUCN North American Bumble Bee Specialist Group, indicates that more than one-quarter of North American bumble bees are facing some degree of extinction risk. Read the profiles below to learn more about these important, and imperiled, pollinators.
Bees are the most important group of pollinators. With the exception of a few species of wasps, only bees deliberately gather pollen to bring back to their nests for their offspring. Bees also exhibit a behavior called flower constancy, meaning that they repeatedly visit one particular plant species on any given foraging trip.
What is the annual timeline for the DeWind award?
The proposal period is open for approximately two months each year, from the beginning of November to the end of December. Proposals are usually due by December 31. The DeWind committee will then assess each proposal and assign scores, which are used to arrive at a final decision. Decisions are made no later than March 31, with awards usually paid out by the end of May. All applicants will be notified of the results by email. For this year's timeline, please see the main DeWind page.
Although North America is a biodiversity hotspot for freshwater mussels, only 2% are native to areas west of the Rocky Mountains. These species—belonging to three groups—occur or once occurred from northern Mexico all the way to Alaska and from the Pacific Coast inland to Wyoming, Montana, and Arizona.
All bumble bees belong to the genus Bombus within the family Apidae. The family Apidae includes the well-known honey bees and bumble bees, as well as carpenter bees, cuckoo bees, digger bees, stingless bees, and orchid bees. Bumble bees are important pollinators of wild flowering plants and crops. As generalist foragers, they do not depend on any one flower type. However, some plants do rely on bumble bees to achieve pollination. Loss of bumble bees can have far ranging ecological impacts due to their role as pollinators.
Since the 1980s, the Xerces Society has worked to protect monarch butterflies—including the western population of monarchs that overwinters in forested groves along the California coast. We help facilitate the Western Monarch Thanksgiving and New Year’s Counts, community science projects in which volunteers track the size of the monarch population at overwintering sites annually.
Our roads and highways present unique opportunities for creating corridors to support monarchs and other pollinators. In some areas, roadsides may be the only places where milkweed and nectar plants may be available. When managed with pollinators in mind, roadsides have the potential to add miles and miles of high-quality habitat while reducing maintenance costs. Learn more about how roadsides can be managed to reduce costs and protect pollinators.
In the 1990s, nearly 700 million monarchs made the epic flight each fall from the northern plains of the U.S. and Canada to sites in the oyamel fir forests north of Mexico City, and more than one million monarchs overwintered in forested groves on the California Coast.
A crucial step towards protecting invertebrates is to identify the species in greatest need of conservation attention—a process that requires the methodical collection of data, and then spreading the word to raise awareness about their plights. To that end, we are producing detailed species profiles for a variety of invertebrate groups, which can be found here. Click on a species group below to begin learning about the vital creatures that Xerces is working to protect!
Beetles are in the order Coleoptera and represent the greatest diversity of any group of animals. There are more than 340,000 described species worldwide, including nearly 30,000 species in North America alone making it the largest order of insects. Beetles are distinguished from other insect groups by a pair of forewings that are usually hard and rigid, are never used for flight, and serve as a protective covering for the delicate flight wings and the upper surface of the abdomen.
Milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) are the required host plants for caterpillars of the monarch butterfly and thus play a critical role in the monarch’s life cycle. The loss of milkweed plants in the monarch’s spring and summer breeding areas across the United States is believed to be a significant factor contributing to the reduced number of monarchs recorded in overwintering sites in California and Mexico.
The Xerces Society partners with the native seed industry to produce wildflower seed mixes meeting Xerces specifications, to provide foraging and nesting resources for a diversity of pollinators. For details about species composition, recommended seeding rate, and how to contact the producer, please download the specification sheet for each seed mix.
Monarchs are in decline across their range in North America. Loss of milkweed host plants due to extensive herbicide use has been identified as a major contributing factor, and loss or degradation of nectar-rich habitat from other causes, natural disease and predation, climate change, and widespread insecticide use are probably also contributing to declines.
Successful pollinator habitat provides resources for the entire life-cycle. While pollen and nectar sources support adult bees and butterflies, you need to also provide adequate nesting habitat if you want pollinators to live in your landscape rather than just pass through. There are many ways to provide nesting resources through natural and man-made features or simply by changing land management practices. Below is an overview of the nesting needs of bees and butterflies.
Neonicotinoid insecticides are now the most widely used class of insecticides in the world. While they were initially introduced as less harmful than older insecticides, research has now shown their devastating ecological impacts. Neonicotinoids are very toxic to pollinators, beneficial insects, and aquatic invertebrates. Their widespread use, combined with their water solubility, means that they are now often found in water and soil samples throughout the country. The Xerces Society is working to reduce the use of neonicotinoids in both agricultural and urban areas.