Also known as the big-eye or branch herring, the alewife is a thin, silver fish with a single dark shoulder spot located behind its head.
The American eel is a smooth, snake-like fish with a greenish, yellowish-brown or blackish body. It lives in rivers, streams and other freshwater areas throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Also known as longleaf pondweed, American pondweed is a rooted, perennial herb that has both submerged and floating leaves.
Also known as white shad, the American shad is a thin river herring with a metallic body and dark spots on its shoulder. It visits the Chesapeake Bay each spring to spawn in freshwater rivers and streams.
Arrow arum is a native perennial plant with large, arrowhead-shaped leaves. It grows in shallow, tidal fresh waters throughout the Chesapeake Bay region.
The Atlantic sturgeon is a bony, ancient-looking fish that visits the Chesapeake Bay in spring to spawn in Virginia’s James and York rivers. It was once found throughout the Bay and its freshwater rivers, but is now very rare.
The beaver is a large, brown, semi-aquatic mammal with a distinctive flattened, paddle-like tail. It lives in lakes, streams and forested wetlands throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The belted kingfisher is a stocky, powder blue bird that can be found in the Chesapeake region year-round.
Black-Fingered Mud Crab
Also known as the Atlantic mud crab, the black-fingered mud crab is muddy brown in color with stout, black-tipped claws. It can be found on oyster reefs and along the muddy bottoms of marshes.
The bluegill is a colorful sunfish with an olive green, saucer-shaped body. It lives in lakes, ponds, streams and other freshwater bodies throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Similar to hydrilla in appearance and growth, Brazilian waterweed is recognizable by its stem and whorls of two to six small leaves. Generally, it can be found drifting or rooted at depths of 20 feet or less.
The brook trout is a brilliantly colored fish that lives in clear, cold freshwater streams and rivers in undeveloped areas throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The brown bullhead is a smooth-skinned catfish with a mottled, brownish body and whisker-like barbels around the mouth. It lives in slow-moving ponds, streams and rivers throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The channel catfish is a large, smooth-skinned fish with a bluish- or greenish-gray body and whisker-like barbels around the mouth. It lives in fresh and brackish rivers throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Chinese Mitten Crab
The Chinese mitten crab is a light brown crustacean with a distinct pair of hairy, white-tipped claws. Native to East Asia, the invasive species has been reported in small numbers in the Chesapeake Bay.
The carp is a large, sturdy fish with thick scales. Native to Europe, the carp was introduced to the Chesapeake region in the late 1800s and can now be found throughout the rivers, lakes and ponds of the watershed.
Common waterweed is a bay grass that grows in slow-moving fresh waters throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Coontail is a bushy-looking bay grass with whorls of stiff, forked leaves along densely branched stems. It grows mostly in quiet freshwater areas such as the upper Chesapeake Bay and rivers, streams, lakes and ponds throughout the Bay watershed.
Curly pondweed is a bay grass with broad, curly leaves along flat, branched stems. It grows in fresh non-tidal to slightly brackish tidal waters throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The devil crayfish is a brownish red crustacean that resembles a miniature lobster. They typically have red-tipped claws. They can be found burrowing in forested areas where the water table is near the surface.
Didymo is a type of algae that forms dense mats at the bottom of freshwater streams. It is an invasive species.
The eastern elliptio is a freshwater mussel that can be found throughout the Chesapeake watershed.
Eurasian watermilfoil is a bay grass with whorls of feathery leaves along long, branching stems. It grows in quiet fresh and slightly brackish waters throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Hellbenders are large aquatic salamanders that can grow more than two feet in length. They live in freshwater streams in parts of New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
The hickory shad is a river herring with a thin, grayish-green body and several spots on the shoulder. It visits the Chesapeake Bay each spring to spawn in freshwater rivers.
Horned pondweed is a bay grass with long, thread-like leaves and distinctive horned seeds in spring. It grows in fresh and medium-salinity tidal waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers.
Hydrilla is an invasive bay grass that grows in freshwater portions of the Chesapeake Bay and most of its tributaries.
Also known as the green bass, the largemouth bass has a lower jaw that extends well past its eye and is considered one of the most popular sport fishes in the United States.
The longnose gar is a primitive-looking fish with a long, spotted body and a slender, beak-like snout. It lives in quiet, fresh- and brackish-water tributaries throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The muskrat is a semi-aquatic mammal with brownish fur and a long, rudder-like tail. It is found in marshes and other shallow-water areas throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Naiads are bay grasses with short, narrow leaves along slender, branching stems. They grow in non-tidal fresh waters and fresh and brackish tidal portions of the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers.
Also known as the American pike or northern pickerel, the northern pike’s range extends farther than that of any other freshwater gamefish.
Northern Red Salamander
Pseudotriton ruber ruber
The northern red salamander is a small, reddish amphibian with black, irregularly shaped spots covering its back. It lives in cool freshwater streams and adjacent wooded areas throughout most of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The northern snakehead is a large, long fish with a mottled, snake-like pattern. It was originally found in the Potomac River and its local creeks and streams, but has also moved to places like the Rappahannock River system. It is an invasive species.
Northern Water Snake
Nerodia sipedon sipedon
The northern water snake is a non-venomous aquatic snake that lives in lakes, swamps, streams and other waterways throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The pumpkinseed is a bright, beautiful sunfish with a saucer-shaped body that is mottled orange, blue and green. It lives in freshwater lakes, ponds and streams throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The raccoon is a grayish mammal with a distinctive long, ringed tail and black “mask” over its eyes. It lives in nearly every part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, from cities and suburbs to swamps and marshes.
Farancia erytrogramma erytrogramma
The rainbow snake is a beautifully colored, non-venomous snake that lives in streams, swamps and marshes in southern Maryland and eastern Virginia.
Rainbow trout are common and widespread, in the U.S and across the world. U.S. Federal government, however, recognizes certain local populations of rainbow trout over their native range to be endangered. Such populations have become endangered due to impacts of river damming and sediment runoff.
The red-bellied cooter is an aquatic turtle with a dark, highly domed shell and a distinctive red belly. It can be found basking along the edge of ponds, streams and rivers throughout the Potomac River and in coastal portions of Maryland and Virginia.
Redhead grass is a bay grass with flat, oval leaves that wrap around the base of straight, slender stems. It grows in fresh to moderately brackish tidal waters in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
This perennial submerged aquatic grass can be found in slow-flowing waters that are 3 to 7 feet deep. Its buoyant leaves are identifiable by their light-colored center stripe. It produces small, green-brown flowers.
The rusty crayfish is an invasive species that can be found in some rivers and streams in Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. It has a spot on either side of its back that is rusty in color.
Sago pondweed is a bay grass with bushy clusters of thread-like leaves that grow alternately along slender, branching stems. It grows in fresh to moderately brackish waters throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The shortnose sturgeon is a bony, ancient-looking fish that lives mostly in the Potomac and Susquehanna rivers. It is an endangered species.
Slender pondweed is a bay grass with long, thin, grass-like leaves along slender, branching stems. It grows in quiet, fresh to slightly brackish creeks, rivers and other tidal tributaries throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Also known as the black bass, the smallmouth bass has a pale brown or olive green body and is common in Chesapeake Bay tributaries north of the Rappahannock River.
The spotted sandpiper is a medium-sized shorebird that can be found throughout the Chesapeake region during the summer.
The tessellated darter is a small, sprightly relative of the yellow perch whose rapid movement along stream bottoms gives it its common name. It is a frequent find in the tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay.
Water chestnut is an invasive aquatic plant with rosettes of triangular leaves that float on the water’s surface. It grows in the Bird and Sassafras rivers, which are tributaries of the upper Chesapeake Bay.
Water stargrass is a bay grass with long, grass-like leaves and distinctive yellow, star-like flowers along freely branching stems. It grows in the fresh waters of the upper Chesapeake Bay and tributaries throughout the Bay watershed.
Water starwort is a bay grass with bright green, egg-shaped leaves that float on the surface of the water. It grows in quiet fresh waters throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
White perch is a small, silvery fish with a dark, highly domed back. It lives in fresh and brackish waters throughout the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries.
Widgeon grass is a bay grass with delicate, thread-like leaves that grow alternately along slender, branching stems. It ranges from slightly brackish upper and middle Chesapeake Bay rivers to the saltier lower Bay.
Wild celery is a bay grass with long, ribbon-like leaves that have a light green stripe running down the center. It grows in fresh and slightly brackish waters throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The yellow perch is a bright yellow fish with dark, vertical bars on its sides. It lives year-round in the Chesapeake Bay’s rivers.
The zebra mussel is a tiny bivalve with zebra-like stripes on its triangular shell. It lives in freshwater lakes, rivers, streams and reservoirs in parts of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. It is a non-native and invasive species.