Invertebrate animals listed as Endangered, Threatened, or of Special Concern in Massachusetts include species of moths and butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies, beetles, crustaceans (shrimps and amphipods), freshwater mussels, snails, worms, and a sponge.
These species are all rare, and most of them need a very specific type of habitat in which to live. For example, many of the listed moths and butterflies inhabit pitch pine-scrub oak barrens that have an open vegetation structure due to past fire or other disturbance. Aquatic species, including dragonflies and damselflies, crustaceans, mussels, and snails, live in clean, unpolluted waters. Invertebrate conservation is achieved by protecting the habitats in which these species live, not only from outright destruction, but also from threats including exclusion of natural disturbance, invasive exotic plants, and introduced exotic parasitoids (wasps and flies) that prey on a wide variety of host species.
Please view our Rare Species Fact Sheets for species-specific status and life history information.