Mar 15

How many US species can you name that fly, climb, dig, swim, hop, leap, run or crawl? The upcoming National Wildlife Week in the US will help you do just that and more to encourage kids and adults alike to focus on wildlife around the country with an emphasis on how they move.

Here are a few of our favorite US species on ARKive that do much of the above, as well as some facts you might not have known about the critters that may live in your backyard.

One of the best known flying US species is the monarch butterfly whose spectacular migration from the southern breeding grounds to the wintering grounds, an approximate 3,000 mile journey, requires 5-6 generations of butterflies to complete. Essentially, the migration completed by the newest monarch butterfly was initially begun by its great great grandparent.

Photo of a Monarch butterfly in flight

The pudgy black-tailed prairie dog exhibits an extremely high degree of social organization living in enormous underground dug out colonies known as ‘towns’. The largest recorded colony spanned over 40,000 square miles housing an estimated 400 million critters.

Photo of a female black-tailed prairie dog

The horseshoe crab swims off the Atlantic coast of North America from Maine down to Florida. Not a species of crab at all, the horseshoe is most related to arachnids and are considered ‘living fossils’ having remained mostly unchanged since the Triassic period over 230 million years ago.

Photo of horseshoe crabs

The American bison is the largest mammal in the US and used to run vast distances across the great plains during their annual migrations. However, in the last few centuries, major changes in land use and depopulation have halted the migratory behavior of this species.

American bison photo

Find out more about National Wildlife Week and let us know what wildlife you discover in your backyard!

Liana Vitali, ARKive Science, Education and Outreach Officer, Wildscreen USA