© Bruce McNitt/Panoramic Images (Virginia)

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. 

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 8th in the U.S. for globally rare animals. The Southern Appalachians, which includes southwest Virginia, was identified as one of six biodiversity hotspots in the United States in 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.

Profiles of Virginia Animals

  • American Oystercatcher

    The American oystercatcher is a large, noisy, thick-bodied shorebird of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts whose large red bill, red eye ring, and red eyes make it easily recognizable.

    Read More

  • Appalachian Monkeyface Pearly Mussel

    The Appalachian Monkeyface Pearly Mussel is an imperiled bivalve whose remnant populations in Virginia remain in the Clinch and Powell rivers.

    Read More

  • Candy Darter

    This small but striking fish is endemic to the drainage of the New River and occupies the Valley and Ridge Province of Virginia and West Virginia and the Appalachian Plateau of West Virginia.

    Read More

  • Eastern Box Turtle

    Named for a hinged underside that enables it to completely withdraw into and close its shell, the eastern box turtle is found throughout Virginia and has been known to live longer than humans.

    Read More

  • Eastern Hellbender

    Because of its preference for clean streams and rivers, the eastern hellbender serves as an effective indicator of stream health, with the presence of young and adults synonymous with good water quality.

    Read More

  • Lee County Cave Isopod

    The Lee County cave isopod is a small freshwater crustacean discovered by John Holsinger and William Mauck in 1961. In 1992, the Lee County cave isopod was listed as endangered. The species is considered both globally and state imperiled due to its extremely small range and small population.

    Read More

  • Mole Salamander

    The range of this short, stout amphibian is limited to Charlotte, Campbell, and Appomattox counties in Virginia.

    Read More

  • Northeastern Beach Tiger Beetle

    The northeastern species of this large, attractive cream-colored beetle is considered imperiled by both federal and state agencies. Conservation efforts seek to protect it where it roams beaches along the Chesapeake Bay and parts of the Atlantic Coast.

    Read More

Go to the Map

Use the interactive map to zoom smoothly from a national view to state and local perspectives anywhere across the country.

Copyright © 2023 NatureServe. All Rights Reserved.