Virginia
© Bruce McNitt/Panoramic Images (Virginia)

Species 101 | LandScope Virginia

Virginia supports a rich diversity of plants, animals and natural communities. As of 2004, 2,546 species of vascular plants and 737 species of vertebrates had been identified as native to the state. While there is no accurate count of invertebrates, one conservative estimate places the number at 30,000 terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates species.

The exact number of natural communities is also unknown but the Virginia Natural Heritage Program has defined 120 broad ecological community groups, which are composed of several hundred community types. To comprehend the significance of this great biodiversity it is useful to see how Virginia compares with the rest of the nation and to understand some of the different ways of classifying rarity. 

Virginia Compared with the Nation

When compared with other states in the U. S., Virginia is a clear standout for biodiversity. For overall native species diversity, the Commonwealth ranks 10th for vertebrates and 13th for vascular plants. Virginia ranks 8th in the U.S. for globally rare animals and 14th for globally rare plants. 

The Southern Appalachians, which includes southwest Virginia, was identified as one of six biodiversity hotspots in the United States by The Nature Conservancy and NatureServe in their joint publication, Precious Heritage: The Status of Biodiversity in the United States (2000). The nation's leading hotspot of aquatic diversity is Virginia's Clinch and Powell rivers, and Virginia is ranked second in the U. S. for dragonfly diversity.

Featured Virginia Plants and Animals

  • Featured Animals in Virginia

    Virginia supports a rich diversity of animals -- some 737 species of vertebrates had been identified as occuring in the state. While there is no accurate count of invertebrates, one conservative estimate places the number at 30,000 terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates species. We profile a few notable members here.

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  • Featured Plants in Virgina

    Learn about some of the Old Dominion's most distinctive flora, courtesy of the Virginia Natural Heritage Program and its partners.

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  • Virginia Species Lists

    Access lists of various classes of plants and animals in the Commonwealth -- federally listed species, endemics limited to the state's borders and others.

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Quick Facts

Virginia DCR - Natural Heritage Program
600 East Main Street; 24th Floor
Richmond, VA 23219

Contact Information

Phone: (804) 786-7951
Fax: (804) 371-2674
Email:
Website

History

Founded in: 1986

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