Northwest Florida Environmental Conservancy
Home | The Extraordinary Florida Panhandle | NWFLEC - Major Areas of Concentration | NORTHWEST FLORIDA NATURE CENTER | NWFLEC Charter, Board, Officers & Advisors | Karl R. Studenroth Jr. | Upcoming Events & News | NWFLEC Membership, Donations & Contact Us | NWFLEC Members Appreciation Page! | NWFLEC TV & Media Coverage, Newspaper Articles & Past Public Programs & Events | Old News & Archives | NWFLEC WISHLIST | Links
The Extraordinary Florida Panhandle


(Above) Gulf Islands National Seashore


The unique and extraordinary natural history of the Florida Panhandle and adjacent areas of Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi and the northern Gulf Coast has remained a mystery and is unknown by many people!  Simply, more species of native plants and animals are found within this region than any other comparable region within the United States.  For decades the incredible species richness and biodiversity of this region has been overlooked. 

   Several other regions within the U.S. have a high array of species and biodiversity such as areas of the southern Appalachian Mountains, the Everglades and the Southwest (particularly areas of California), but they only reach about 75% of the number of species of the northern Gulf Coast.  It is not until you reach areas of tropical, southern Mexico that you find a greater number of species that inhabit the northern Gulf Coast region.  The highest biodiversity of U.S. species are found specifically within the central Florida Panhandle, along the Apalachicola River.  This number of species remains high, but declines as you move east, to about the Suwannee river and westward to about the Pascagoula river.  Over 788 native vertebrate species and 2,000+ native plants inhabit the Florida Panhandle, from the Perdido River, eastward to the Suwannee River.
   The Table below lists the numbers and different types of vertebrate species, and all native plants found within northwest Florida.  This high number of species does not include adjacent regions of Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi where quite a number of additional and unique species are found.  Additionally, invertebrate, fungus and mushroom species are not included.  The addition of invertebrate and fungus species to the list of northern Gulf Coast plants and animals, would easily double or triple the total species list number!


Native Vertebrate and Plant Species of the Florida Panhandle:

Vertebrate Species

Number of Species


200 + species (freshwater & estuarine)

Amphibians & Reptiles

131 total species


57 species


400 + species

Total Vertebrate Species

788 + species


Native Plants

2000+ species

(Below) Cash Creek - Franklin Co, FL


Pg. 3 NWFLEC - Major Areas of Concentration