The Everglades is home to a vast array of plants and animals that have adapted to a wet, subtropical environment. Some creatures such as the Florida panther, Wood Stork and West Indian manatee have become symbols of a struggling ecosystem. Other parts of this vast mosaic – most notably the sawgrass marshes, and cypress and mangrove forests – are recognized around the world as images of the region.
While some of its flora and fauna are widely recognized, theEverglades also is comprised of many hundreds, if notthousands, of lesser-known plants, animals and fishthat are part of a living, dynamic ecosystem.The River of Grass includes wetlands plants, trees and marsh vegetation; invertebrates, fresh and saltwater fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds. Some 67 species are on the federal threatened or endangered lists. Many more are rare, species of special concern, or included on state lists. A brief overview of selected Everglades’ plant and animal species follows: