Twenty-eight plant and 65 vertebrate species listed as endangered, threatened, species of special
concern, or Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI)�designated, potentially inhabit Mosquito
Lagoon Aquatic Preserve (MLAP) or surrounding areas. These species may spend some portion of
their time in the uplands, beaches, islands, waters or associated wetlands of Mosquito Lagoon.
Florida has more threatened and endangered native species than any state except California and
Hawaii. Species such as the state and federally-endangered green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)
and Atlantic saltmarsh snake (Nerodia clarkia taeniata) found within Mosquito Lagoon have
been impacted by habitat destruction and alteration, as well as other man made impacts. Loss of
seagrass and algal beds affect food supplies for juvenile green sea turtles. In addition to sea
turtles foraging in the lagoon, three sea turtle species nest on the adjacent Canaveral National
Seashore ocean beaches and surrounding municipal beaches.
The Atlantic saltmarsh snake is listed because extensive drainage and development within the
coastal zone has reduced the available habitat of this species. Continued filling of coastal
wetlands will further limit the range of this already restricted reptile. There is also a concern
that habitat disturbance within these regions may have broken down natural isolating mechanisms
between the Atlantic salt marsh snake and the adjacent freshwater snake (Nerodia fasciata
pictiventris), resulting in hybridization between these species.
Loss of breeding and feeding habitat to urban development of saltmarsh and freshwater wetlands
has stressed recovering colonial waterbird species: wood stork (Mycteria americana),
little blue heron (Egretta caerulea), reddish egret (Egretta rufescens), snowy
egret (Egretta thula) and white ibis (Eudocimus albus). Current recreation on and
around islands and shoals in the MLAP and surrounding areas continue to negatively impact