Species at risk classifications and rationales (May and December 2015 meetings)
Report from the Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario (COSSARO) to the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry on their May and December 2015 meetings. The report outlines the classifications and rationales for newly classified and re-classified species at risk in the province.
This is a report from a provincial advisory agency. We are posting the report on their behalf.
On this page Skip this page navigation
|Species (Common name, scientific name)||Classification under ESA||New COSSARO evaluated status|
|Eastern Wolf (Canis lupus lycaon)* Special concern||Threatened|
|Caribou (Boreal population)|
|Eastern Box Turtle|
|Special concern||Not at risk|
Esox americanus vermiculatus
|Special concern||Special concern|
|Small White Lady’s-slipper|
|Special concern||Special concern|
|Yellow-banded Bumble Bee|
N/A means the species has not been formerly assigned a status.
* Refer to genetic discussion in attached species summaries
Attachment 1: COSSARO 2015 species summaries
Algonquin Wolf (Canis sp.)
The Algonquin Wolf (Canis sp.) is an intermediate-sized canid that lives in family-based packs and feeds on prey that includes Beaver, White-tailed Deer, and Moose. The Algonquin Wolf is the result of a long history of hybridization and backcrossing among Eastern Wolf (Canis lycaon) (aka C. lupus lycaon), Gray Wolf (C. lupus), and Coyote (C. latrans). Although part of a widespread hybrid complex, the Algonquin Wolf can be differentiated from other hybrids, such as the Great Lakes-Boreal Wolf, because it forms a genetically discrete cluster of closely related individuals from which estimates of inferred ancestry can be derived. In addition, morphological data identify it as being generally larger than C. latrans-type canids, and smaller than C. lupus-type canids, although reliable identification requires genotypic data. The Algonquin Wolf is largely restricted in Ontario to Algonquin Provincial Park plus surrounding areas, some of which are protected. These include an area from Killarney Provincial Park south to Kawartha Highlands Signature Site. More distant records are relatively infrequent and likely attributable to occasional long-distance dispersal events. The total number of canids in this genetic group likely numbers between 250 and 1000 mature individuals, and therefore it has been designated as Threatened.
Black Redhorse (Moxostoma duquesnei)
The Black Redhorse (Moxostoma duquesnei) is one of six redhorse species in Ontario waters and can be distinguished from the others based on colour, lip morphology and lateral line scale count (Scott & Crossman 1998). The Black Redhorse is widely distributed in Eastern North America, but its distribution is highly disjunct with 2 large contiguous distribution areas and 5-10 smaller isolated areas, the Ontario Black Redhorse is one of the smaller disjunct distributional areas. Black Redhorse are found in Canada in tributaries to Lakes Huron, St. Clair and Erie, with most found in the Grand and Thames River drainages. Black Redhorse were historically reported in Catfish Creek and Sauble River, but are likely extirpated from those areas. Black Redhorse use moderate flow riffles, and shallow pools in large streams with cobble or gravel substrates. Mature Black Redhorse (age 2-6 years) migrate upstream for suitable spawning habitat in the spring (Reid 2006). The global distribution of the Black Redhorse is stable or declining slowly, and while there is no quantitative data on this species abundance in Ontario, capture records indicate they are likely stable or slightly declining in numbers in Ontario. Black Redhorse is most vulnerable to pollution (agricultural and urban) within their southwestern Ontario distribution; however, climate change may result in further loss of Black Redhorse spawning and rearing habitat. While dams have been identified as a threat to the Black Redhorse, recent information on their movement across dams indicate dams more likely represent a limiting factor, not a direct threat. Black Redhorse was listed as Threatened by COSEWIC in May 2015 (no change in status) and is currently listed as Threatened under the Ontario ESA.
Black Redhorse (Moxostoma duquesnei) is classified as Threatened in Ontario due to its limited distribution (nine isolated locations) and the continuing threat of pollution as well as water level variation that impacts habitat quality and availability. It meets criterion B1ab(iii) + 2ab(iii).
Black-foam Lichen (Anzia colpodes)
The Black-foam Lichen (Anzia colpodes) is a relatively distinctive foliose lichen that grows in leafy rosettes up to 20 cm across. It is found on the trunks of deciduous trees, in openings within mature forests and other areas where both humidity and light levels are high. The species is confirmed only from North America, and is most common in the southern United States. In Canada, it occurs uncommonly in Nova Scotia, and has previously been reported from Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick. Throughout Canada, it appears to be declining, probably due mainly to habitat loss caused by forest harvest, development, and air pollution.
In Ontario, the Black-foam Lichen is known only from four 19th century records and/or specimens, distributed widely across eastern and central Ontario. Compared to other taxa, there have been relatively few person hours spent on targeted or general surveys by knowledgeable surveyors at previous locations. Although there have been no observations of the Black-foam Lichen from Ontario in over a century, there is probably still some suitable and unsearched habitat remaining. At this time, it is not possible to conclude with confidence that the Black-foam Lichen is extirpated from Ontario. For these reasons, the Black-foam Lichen is considered Data Deficient in Ontario.
The Ontario status differs from the national status of Threatened, because the Black-foam Lichen still occurs in Nova Scotia.
Blue Ash (Fraxinus quadrangulata)
Blue Ash (Fraxinus quadrangulata) is a medium sized tree in the olive family that attains a maximum height of 20 m and a trunk circumference of 80 cm in Ontario and may live up to 200 years. It has compound leaves typically with seven leaflets but is readily told from other ash species by its four angled twigs with corky wings. Blue Ash is monoecious unlike other ashes that are dioecious. It is restricted to five counties in extreme southwestern Ontario where it grows in three different habitats: alvars, stabilized sand beaches, and rich alluvial floodplains. A total of 56 element occurrences are known. Approximately half of the known sites have been surveyed, and these contain approximately 708 mature individuals. The numbers of mature individuals at the remaining sites are unknown but the entire population is almost certainly less than 10,000.
Blue Ash has not shown significant declines in recent decades but is susceptible to two main threats which are over-browsing by an expanding White-tailed Deer population and the Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis), a non-native beetle whose larvae burrows into ash trees. Deer are believed to be preventing regeneration at some sites. The effect of White-tailed Deer on Blue Ash recruitment is unknown at this time but suspected to be detrimental. Blue Ash has been shown to be considerably less susceptible to Emerald Ash Borer that other ash species but recently it has shown a higher incidence of infestation at some locations, possibly due to the near elimination of other ashes.
Blue Ash has been assessed by COSSARO as Threatened in Ontario due to its small population (less than 10,000 mature individuals) and very restricted range with an area of occupancy of only 272 km2. It was previously assessed as Special Concern but was given a higher designation due to new threats. Some declines have been documented and are expected to continue which makes this species vulnerable to extirpation.
Broad-banded Forestsnail (Allogona profunda)
Broad-banded Forestsnail (Allogona profunda) is a large terrestrial snail that is approximately 3 cm in diameter. It lives in deciduous forests in Ontario and now occurs only at Point Pelee National Park and on Pelee Island. There are historical records from the smaller Lake Erie islands and several mainland sites near Leamington, Oxley, and Chatham. Little information is available about the biology of the Broad-banded Forestsnail. It may reach maturity as early as one year, and can live for at least four years. It likely requires damp habitat to feed, move, and reproduce. Individuals probably move only a few metres over the course of their lives.
Broad-banded Forestsnail has not been recorded at several historical sites despite targeted searches. It may have been lost from these sites due to historic habitat loss on the mainland (i.e. forest clearing) and habitat degradation on the smaller Western Lake Erie Islands from high nesting densities of Double-breasted Cormorants.
Broad-banded Forestsnail is assessed as Endangered because it has a very small range in southwestern Ontario occurring at only two locations (Point Pelee and Pelee Island). It has recently been lost from several locations. Although most of the known occurrences are within protected areas, there is a projected continuing decline in area, extent, and quality of habitat and number of individuals due to probably impacts of recreational activities, invasive species and the recent establishment of Wild Turkeys.
Caribou - Boreal population (Rangifer tarandus)
Two Caribou (Rangifer tarandus) ecotypes occur in Ontario - the forest-dwelling or boreal population, and the forest-tundra or migratory population. In Ontario the "Woodland Caribou, forest-dwelling boreal population, Rangifer tarandus caribou" is currently listed as Threatened. Recent taxonomic work suggests that the Woodland Caribou designation may not be appropriate, and supports recognition of Ontario’s Caribou at the species level. In order to align with COSEWIC deliberations and decisions, it is proposed that the forest-dwelling ecotype in Ontario be identified as part of the Boreal population, consistent with COSEWIC decisions on Caribou designatable units. Recent monitoring work has provided information to better refine the northern boundary of the Caribou Boreal population in Ontario. There is some geographical overlap between the boreal and migratory caribou populations in Ontario, although the ecotype distinctions appear biologically and ecologically valid.
Caribou typically occur in low densities, ranging widely over mature, conifer-dominated forests. Caribou were once the main cervid species in Ontario, occurring across northern Ontario and as far south as northern Minnesota, the north shore and islands of Lake Superior and even Manitoulin Island and the Nipissing area. The Boreal population of Caribou in Ontario has been declining for well over a century, and this northward retraction of distribution has been strongly correlated with human settlement and development. While Caribou are still continuously distributed across northern Ontario from the Quebec to the Manitoba border, the area of continuous distribution has receded northward by 40-50%. A remnant subpopulation remains along the northeastern shore of Lake Superior and adjacent islands, isolated by the rest of the area of continuous Caribou distribution by an area of discontinuous distribution. A number of factors are implicated in this decline, including direct habitat loss and change as well as habitat changes that have indirectly led to an increase in predator populations.
Considerable effort has been directed towards caribou recovery since its designation as Threatened, including development of a recovery strategy and subsequent conservation plan, expanded research and broad monitoring and satellite telemetry studies. This work has greatly increased the information available on which to assess and support recovery of caribou. The 14 Caribou ranges that have been identified in Ontario are useful references for management, monitoring and recovery efforts.
There are believed to be fewer than 5000 mature individuals in the Boreal population of Caribou in Ontario. Integrated range assessments have revealed that the average annual population trend (λ) was less than 1.0 for all assessed ranges, suggesting that Caribou subpopulations in Ontario are in short-term decline. Range condition in two ranges (15%) is considered insufficient to sustain Caribou, while in nine ranges (69%) it is uncertain if range condition is sufficient to sustain Caribou and range condition in two other ranges (15%) is considered sufficient to sustain Caribou. Population viability analyses suggest that some individual caribou ranges may not be viable in the long-term, although an analysis has not been conducted for the provincial population. Ontario’s Caribou - Boreal population (Rangifer tarandus) is considered Threatened in Ontario, based upon the small and declining number of mature individuals
Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina)
The Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina) is a small turtle with a slightly keeled, high-domed carapace. The plastron has a hinge which allows the two lobes to completely close against the underside of the carapace. This species ranges across much of eastern North America, south to Florida with disjunct subpopulations in Mexico. It is associated with open deciduous and mixed woodland habitats, as well as adjacent fields and wetlands. Nesting habitat is primarily open sandy or loamy soil patches. They typically hibernate on land in areas with loose soil and abundant leaf litter, but occasionally hibernate under water. This species is the largest animal in the world that can tolerate freezing. The species was known historically to have occurred in southern Ontario from archeological sites and sporadic observations over the past 55 years, but currently there are no known breeding populations and thus is assessed as Extirpated. The Canadian populations of this species are thought to have declined due to overharvesting and habitat loss, but the exact reasons are unknown.
Eastern Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum)
The Eastern Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum) is tan, brown or grey and has large, black-outlined red or brown dorsal blotches. The maximum total length recorded for this species is 132 cm, although normal lengths range from 60-90 cm. The global range of the Eastern Milksnake includes southeastern Canada and eastern U.S. In Ontario, it ranges across the southern part of the province north to Lake Nipissing and Sault Ste Marie. Eastern Milksnakes are habitat generalists that occur in a variety of upland habitats but are most commonly found in open habitats, including rock outcrops, fields and meadows. They are often found in human-altered habitats including old buildings where its predominant prey (i.e. rodents) may be abundant. The snakes emerge from hibernacula in early spring, after which time mating may last several weeks. In early summer, a clutch of approximately 10 eggs are laid in piles of vegetation, rotting logs, old stumps or other suitable substrates.
Abundance estimates for the Milksnake in Ontario are unavailable, but the total adult population size is likely much greater than 10,000, and it has been recently recorded in every jurisdiction within its known Ontario range. The most significant threats to Eastern Milksnakes in Canada are habitat loss and road mortality. Other threats include intentional killing, collection for the pet trade, and predation. In Canada, the Eastern Milksnake is considered a species of 'Special Concern' under the federal Species at Risk Act. The Eastern Milksnake is also listed as a 'specially protected reptile' under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.
The Eastern Milksnake has been designated Not at Risk by COSSARO. It has exhibited declines in extreme southwestern Ontario and in the Toronto area, but these areas represent a small portion of its provincial range. There is no clear evidence of decline elsewhere and threats to this species are less severe in the part of its range on and near the Canadian Shield.
Grass Pickerel (Esox americanus vermiculatus)
The Grass Pickerel (Esox americanus vermiculatus) is a recognized subspecies of the Redfin Pickerel (Esox americanus). The taxonomic status of the subspecies (Grass Pickerel) is supported by genetic and morphometric differences. Grass Pickerel is a small form of this species, usually only 30 cm long. In Canada, it is limited to southern Ontario and a few populations in southwestern Quebec. It inhabits shallow, warm, slow-moving streams, and quiet embayments. It requires dense submergent and emergent aquatic vegetation, where it preys upon macroinvertebrates, fishes, crayfishes, and larval insects.
The Ontario population trends of Grass Pickerel are unknown. Although the species appears to be declining at several sub-populations, the magnitude of these declines have not been quantified. Declines may be due to a number of threats, especially degradation and loss of habitat due to dredging and channelization, cottage development, and invasive species. This species is assessed as Special Concern.
Lowland Toothcup (Rotala ramosior)
The Lowland Toothcup (Rotala ramosior) is a small, annual plant in the Loosestrife family. It grows in open, seasonally wet areas, such as riverbanks, exposed shorelines, pond margins, interdunal swales, and occasionally at the edges of fields. Lowland Toothcup is native to the western hemisphere, occurring from North America to Central America, and South America. In Canada, it is found only in Ontario and British Columbia, which represent the northern edge of the Lowland Toothcup’s range.
The Lowland Toothcup has never been common in Ontario. It has been reported only from three separate subpopulations, of which only two are extant. The remaining subpopulations are found along the southern edge of the Canadian Shield in Lennox and Addington County, on the shoreline of Puzzle Lake, and Sheffield – Long Lake. Surveys in 2011 estimated approximately 1400 plants at all sites. This is lower than previous counts, although it is well known that this annual species can fluctuate substantially between years depending on conditions. Census data are insufficient for a clear indication of trends. The main threats to this species are thought to be shoreline disturbance, and water level management.
In 2000, the Lowland Toothcup was designated by COSEWIC as Endangered in Canada, and has also been designated as Endangered in Ontario. A COSEWIC re-assessment in November 2014 resulted in the assessment of the Great Lakes Plains population as Threatened in Canada. The Lowland Toothcup in Ontario has been re-assessed by COSSARO as Endangered based on its very small distribution, and population abundance, combined with its sensitivity to uncertain threats. Its very small provincial range and confinement to two small adjacent lakes within a few square kilometers make it highly vulnerable to threats. Additionally, no new subpopulations have been reported in Ontario, and there is no evidence that Lowland Toothcup’s abundance or habitat quality are improving since its last assessment.
Proud Globelet (Patera pennsylvanica)
Proud Globelet (Patera pennsylvanica) is a pulmonate (air-breathing), terrestrial snail. Like others of its genus, it has an imperforate umbilicus (hole in the centre of the underside of the shell). Unique to the Proud Globelet is the lack of a parietal tooth-like protuberance on the aperture wall (main opening of the shell). No live individuals of this species have ever been documented in Ontario. However, dead shells were collected in the City of Windsor in 1992 and 1996. Extensive, targeted searches for this species in 2013 revealed shells that had been dead for 5-15 years at two sites in Windsor. Despite widespread searches in other parts of southwestern Ontario, no other evidence of this species has been documented. Because of this species' very limited range in Ontario (less than 4km2), coupled with many threats that have, or are likely to, compromise habitat quality, this species is assessed as Endangered in Ontario based on criterion B1ab(v)+2ab(v).
Red Mulberry (Morus rubra)
Red Mulberry (Morus rubra) is a small tree that grows to 6-20 m in height. Mature trees have bark with loose, greyish-tan elongated plates. Leaves are alternate, entire or 1-3 lobed, 9-24 cm long, and nearly as wide, with long tapered tips, coarsely toothed margins, with a rough, dull upper surface and milky sap. Trees are typically unisexual and flowers occur in yellowish-green clusters, appearing as the leaves are expanding in the spring. Red Mulberry produces edible, sweet, red to dark purple fruits that are 2-3 cm long.
Red Mulberry is restricted to the Carolinian Zone (7E) of southern Ontario. It occurs in small moist forest remnants near Windsor, the sand spits of Point Pelee and Rondeau, alvar woodlands on the Western Lake Erie Islands; and on limestone-based, loamy soils on the Niagara Peninsula and in southern Halton.
The number of mature individuals and locations has declined since the last COSEWIC assessment in 2000. Only 217 total individuals are known to occur in Ontario, and only 105 of these are considered to be of reproductive age. Only four sites have more than five reproductive individuals. The greatest threat to Red Mulberry is hybridization with the non-native White Mulberry (Morus alba). Effects of twig canker diseases also contribute to declines. At two sites on the Western Lake Erie Islands, nesting by Double-crested Cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) poses a significant threat.
Red Mulberry is Endangered in Ontario because only 105 mature individuals still exist in less than five locations. There has been an observed decline in the number of trees and locations over the last 15 years. Red Mulberry is threatened with extirpation from Ontario because of continued hybridization with the non-native White Mulberry and its long-term persistence will be depend on continued management.
Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus)
Red-necked Phalaropes (Phalaropus lobatus) are small shorebirds that breed in Arctic and Sub-Arctic coastal areas. They prefer breeding areas dominated by graminoid or emergent aquatic vegetation and tend to avoid sparsely vegetated or shrubby habitats. In Ontario, they breed along the coast of Hudson Bay and James Bay. Population declines for this species in migratory and breeding areas outside Ontario are reported, but not well understood. Population data and trends are not available for Ontario. Climate change may be a threat to the species, but specific negative effects on habitat and prey are poorly understood and may be countered by warmer temperatures that improve juvenile survival. Habitat degradation resulting from foraging activity by rapidly increasing Lesser Snow Geese populations in Ontario was reported in areas overlapping with the Red-necked Phalarope’s range in the province. More information is required to determine the extent of habitat degradation and what effect it has had on breeding populations of Red-necked Phalaropes in Ontario. Overall, much more information on population size, extent, trends, threats, and habitat quality is required; however, documented habitat loss from Lesser Snow Geese foraging activity and observed declines associated with similar habitat degradation outside the province make this a Special Concern species in Ontario.
Small White Lady’s-slipper (Cypripedium candidum)
The Small White Lady’s-slipper (Cypripedium candidum) is a small perennial orchid with small white flowers that occurs in isolated patches of remnant native prairie and rich calcareous fen habitat in Ontario. It typically grows in clumps with several stems. The species is rare and declining throughout its global range in northeastern North America. It was apparently never common in Ontario, at one time occurring in 11 known subpopulations. Several of these populations are now either extirpated or historical (possibly extirpated). It is now considered to be extant in only two or three "locations" - a small subpopulation in Hastings County north of Lake Ontario and six subpopulations on Walpole Island in extreme southwestern Ontario. Recent (>2003) population information for Walpole Island is not available. The Small-flowered Lady’s-slipper is faced with a number of documented threats, with the primary threats considered to be encroachment by woody vegetation and thatch accumulation, alteration of hydrology, and infrastructure and residential development. Several sites in Ontario have been designated as extirpated or historical since the latter part of the 20th century (1980s and 1990s), and there are no data to suggest a population increase or range expansion. The species has a very restricted range, with an index of area of occupancy of less than 20 km2, and an estimated extent of occurrence of 2500 km2 in Ontario. There were approximately 536 mature individuals (flowering individuals) in the Hastings County subpopulation in 2011 (248 in 2003), but the current size of the much larger subpopulations on Walpole Island is unknown.
Small White Lady’s-slipper was previously assessed as Endangered in Ontario in 1999. In 2000, it was designated by COSEWIC as Endangered in Canada, but a re-assessment in November 2014 resulted in a down-listing to Threatened, primarily due to the discovery of 11 additional subpopulations in Manitoba as a result of increased search effort. No new subpopulations have been recorded in Ontario since 1979, the range has contracted since that time, and there are no data to suggest improved status of Ontario subpopulations. The Small White Lady’s-slipper in Ontario has been designated as Endangered based upon small distribution, range and decline.
Spotted Sucker (Minytrema melanops)
The Spotted Sucker (Minytrema melanops) is taxonomically well defined (morphometrically and genetically), and can be identified by parallel rows of black spots along its sides. The Spotted Sucker is usually found in low flow areas (pools or backwaters) in rivers, and is generally not found in large numbers. The Canadian range of the Spotted Sucker is restricted to southwestern Ontario which represents less than 5% of its global range. Population sizes of Spotted Sucker in Canada are unknown; however, there has been a decline in their area of occurrence, and a decline in the number of sites of capture (subpopulations; N = 12). Known or suspected threats to the Spotted Sucker include habitat degradation, pollution and water turbidity/siltation. A rescue effect from Michigan and Ohio is possible through Lake Erie and the Huron-Erie corridor. These fish are susceptible to further habitat degradation and given that they are rare and they are likely to lose additional habitat (reduced area of occupancy), but do not meet the criteria for Threatened or Endangered yet, they qualify for Special Concern status.
Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata)
The Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata) is a small (carapace length 9-13 cm) freshwater turtle, characterized by a black shell with a smattering of distinctive yellow spots. It lives in a variety of wetland types including marshes, bogs and thicket swamps. It is distributed across southern Ontario north to the north end of Georgian Bay but occurs in often isolated widely scattered populations. Spotted Turtle is a long-lived turtle, reaching sexual maturity at age 11-15. Females lay an average of 4-5 eggs and those in the northern part of the range typically breed only every second year. The turtles are most active in early spring and many individuals are dormant through much of the summer.
Spotted Turtle was reported to be abundant in southwestern Ontario in the early 1900s but is now significantly reduced. It has shown a continual decline at most sites and no turtles have been reported in at least 20 years at about 75% of known locations. It has been extirpated from at least four locations. The main causes for the decline are road mortality, habitat loss from development, habitat degradation by invasive plant species (in particular from Common Reed) and collection of wild specimens for the pet trade or traditional medicine trade. Thus, it has been assessed as Endangered by COSSARO.
Tri-colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus)
The Tri-colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus) is one of the smallest bats in eastern North America. Approximately 10% of its global range is in Canada (Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia), and it is considered rare in much of its Canadian range. In Ontario it is considered uncommon, although population sizes are not well known. Tri-colored Bats feed on insects, and foraging occurs over water and along waterways and forest edges; large open fields or clear cuts are generally avoided. In autumn, bats return to hibernacula, which may be hundreds of kilometres from their summer sites, swarm near the entrance, mate, and then enter that hibernaculum, or travel to different hibernacula to overwinter. Females produce one-two pups a year after one year of age, and the maximum recorded longevity is 15 years. The main threat to Tri-colored Bats is a disease known as White-nose Syndrome (WNS), which is caused by the introduced fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans. WNS infects bats as they overwinter in hibernacula, and causes high mortality rates. For the three-generation period for this species (15-21 years) since the arrival of WNS in Ontario, declines are inferred from monitoring in other northeastern North American jurisdictions where WNS also occurs to exceed 50%. Due to the confirmed and increasing presence of WNS across Ontario and the high rates of decline of Tri-colored Bat in other jurisdictions where WNS occurs, Tri-colored Bat is classified as Endangered in Ontario.
Yellow-banded Bumble Bee (Bombus terricola)
The Yellow-banded Bumble Bee (Bombus terricola) is a medium-sized bee with a short tongue relative to other bumble bee species. It has distinctive yellow and black banding which is consistent throughout its range. It is an early emerging species, making it likely an important pollinator of early blooming wild flowering plants (e.g. wild blueberry) and agricultural crops (e.g. apple). This species is a forage and habitat generalist. Nest sites are mostly abandoned rodent burrows. It has a large global range throughout much of Canada, including most of Ontario as well as parts of the United States. While the northern parts of its range have not been adequately surveyed in Ontario, this species shows declines and even extirpation at sampled sites throughout the southern portion of its range. In southern Ontario, it is still observed but is less common than it was historically. This species is closely-related to the Endangered Rusty-patched Bumble Bee (Bombus affinis) as they are both members of the subgenus Bombus sensu stricto and share certain life history traits which may make it particularly vulnerable to stressors.
In December 2015, COSSARO assessed the Yellow-banded Bumble Bee as Special Concern based on observed steep declines in southern Ontario, inferred declines from elsewhere in Ontario and continuing threats throughout its range. It has not been previously assessed provincially.
Warmouth (Lepomis gulosus)
The Warmouth (Lepomis gulosus) is a small sunfish, one of six species in the genus Lepomis in Ontario. Warmouth have not been genetically assessed, but they are morphologically distinct from related species and are likely native to Ontario. Warmouth are widely distributed across eastern North America, but in Canada are only known to exist in the Lake Erie drainage. The Warmouth is a warm water species and is found in vegetated habitat, generally in shallow bays and wetlands or slow moving streams. While little is known of the Warmouth in Canada, studies in the U.S. have shown they mature at 2-3 years of age and have a maximum age of 8 years. Canadian Warmouth are found in 3 locations (Point Pelee National Park, Long Point Bay and Rondeau Bay), and while population size is not known, capture records indicate the Ontario populations are likely stable. The three locations are separated by more than 50 km with substantial unsuitable habitat, making dispersal among the locations unlikely. Inferred threats include loss of suitable habitat due to vegetation removal (including invasive plants), pollution and possibly climate change. Specific threats are not known for this species. Warmouth are globally secure, but in Canada critically imperiled nationally (N1). Warmouth are currently listed as Special Concern under both the Species at Risk Act and the Endangered Species Act; however, they have been recently re-assessed as Endangered by COSEWIC (May 2015).
Warmouth has been assessed as Endangered by COSSARO based on its limited distribution (only three isolated locations) and continuing habitat quality decline due to invasive species, aquatic vegetation removal and pollution. It meets criterion B1ab(iii) + 2ab(iii).