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TMPF's Favorite Native Species

Nevada is home to an abundance of interesting native species. So this got me thinking, which native species are my coworker's favorites?! One mass email later, and the results are in! Read below to find out.

Great Basin Sagebrush. Nevada's state flower!

Great Basin Sagebrush (Artemesia Tridentada)

I'm very excited to talk about the best species ever Artemesia Tridentada a.k.a Big Sagebrush, Great Basin Sagebrush, the thing that kills people's allergies. It's always held a special place for me mostly because I love its smell and its iconic imagery in the west. It's a vital part of habitat for a bunch of native animals which is super cool as well. A lot of people don't like it because they're allergic but I couldn't imagine a world without sagebrush.

  • Matt, Communications Manager

A Bighorn sheep in the wild.

Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis sierrae)

My favorite species native to Nevada is the Bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis sierrae). The bighorn sheep earns its place as my favorite native Nevada species for its majestic demeanor amidst the state's rugged terrain, epitomizing resilience and the untamed essence of the wilderness. I've had luck spotting a few near Walker Lake and they are absolutely amazing to see in real life.

  • David, Development Manager


Bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva)

My favorite plant species in Nevada is Lewisia rediviva. They are my favorite because they are low growing and mostly grow in rocky soils, in high elevations in the mountains. After being in an area that was recently burned, surrounded by invasive species, this flower had made my day many times. Before they flower, they have these green succulent-like leaves in a basal rosette that almost seem like they disappear when they flower. They have these big flowers that are white or pink, and sometimes slightly purple. 

  • Alex, Wetland Restoration Tech

Dixie Valley Toad

Dixie Valley Toad (Anaxyrus williamsi)

My favorite native Nevadan species is the Dixie Valley Toad (Anaxyrus williamsi). This species gets to spend their whole lives doing what I wish I could do everyday, playing in and around hot springs. This toad is an endemic species to the Dixie Valley in Nevada, and relies on thermal springs found there throughout its life cycle. The springs are particularly important during the toad breeding season and during winter when the thermal temperatures prevent them from freezing.

  • Heaven, Wetland Restoration Tech

Snow Plant

Snow Plant (Sarcodes sanguinea)

My favorite native Nevadan species, the Snow Plant (or Snow Flower), interests me for several reasons, including its name, appearance, and survival strategy. According to the USDA, the Snow Plant's scientific name, Sarcodes sanguinea, roughly translates to "the bloody flesh-like thing". Such a name induces the same shock and confusion I felt upon encountering these bright red stalks popping up amidst patches of snow beneath various coniferous trees. Their unique appearance sticks out like a sore thumb, offering reassurance to a non-botanist like myself - I mean, even I can identify something resembling a discarded dragon fruit on the forest floor.

The stunning visuals of the Snow Plant also hint at its survival strategy, relying on fungi in the soil rather than photosynthesis to obtain sugars - hence its complete lack of green coloring. And while it may engage in a parasitic relationship with conifers, it contributes to the overall ecosystem by providing a rare food source for hummingbirds and other pollinators in the dark, shadowy understory. If you are lucky, you might find some while hiking in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest this spring!

For a brief introduction to this mycotrophic plant accompanied by beautiful footage, I recommend checking out this video about Snow Plants at Yosemite National Park.

  • Kevin, Community Service Manager

American Kestrel

American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)

My favorite native species is the American Kestrel (Falco sparverius). I love these birds because just look at their cute fluffy faces! Their coloring is absolutely beautiful as well. 

  • Elyssa, Visitor Center Host

Devils Hole Pupfish

Devils Hole pupfish (Cyprinodon diabolis)

My favorite species native to Nevada is the Devils Hole pupfish (Cyprinodon diabolis). They are endemic to the Devils Hole in Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge and there are less than 200 of the cute iconic fish.

  • Linsey, Donor Relations Coordinator

Bristlecone Pine

Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva)

I would say one of my favorite native species is the Bristlecone Pine. Not only is it (one of) our state trees, it is also just insanely cool. The oldest recorded living thing is a Bristlecone Pine at 4,853 years old. They also look really cool and almost like they're out of a Tim Burton movie. So cool!!

  • Elena, Nature Study Area VP

Subalpine Fir

Subalpine Fir (Abies lasiocarpa)

My favorite native species to Nevada is the Subalpine Fir (Abies lasiocarpa). It's my favorite species because most people think of Nevada as a hot desert wasteland, and the presence of the Subalpine Fir in the high mountains of northeastern Nevada (including the Jarbidge, Independence, Bull Run, and Merritt Mountains of Elko County), prove just how varied Nevada's climate is and how diverse our ecosystems are. It's awesome to me how a conifer species that's more common in the high areas of the Rocky Mountains and Cascades grows in some of our outback, an outback in which many people think is just hot desert.

  • Solomon, Interpretive Trail Guide


Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana)

My favorite species native to Nevada is the Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana). They are my favorite because not only are they the fastest land animal in America. They are also the only remaining ungulate species in the Americas, making them a unique and vital part of biodiversity efforts in the region.

  • Joseph, Wetland Restoration Tech

Mountain Bluebird

Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides)

My Favorite species in Nevada is the Mountain Bluebird.  I love how bright and beautiful the males look. I have never seen such a beautiful blue on an animal.  Even though the females are not as blue, they still have the beautiful blue color throughout their feathers and can usually be spotted closer to their nests.   I enjoy spotting and listening for their calls when I am out in nature and hiking.   (I actually just saw one flying at Rosewood this morning for the first time!)

  • Shanna, Office Administrator

Little Brown Bat. Close up!

Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus)

My favorite species is the little brown bat because they are adorable and spooky sky puppies. Bats in general are cool because they convergently evolved the ability of flight more recently than any other group of animals, and they do it in a completely unique way (bird and bat wings are very different!). This species is widespread across the country and plays an important role in pest control. Sadly, their populations are in decline because of environmental threats and diseases. Save the bats!

  • Deanna, Lead Naturalist Educator 

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)

As a lifelong Nevadan, my favorite native species holds a special place in my heart. The majestic Great Horned Owl is Nevada's largest nocturnal bird of prey, these mysterious creatures embody both strength and resourcefulness. They have a profound connection to our state's diverse landscapes and thrive in a variety of habitats. One thing that captivates me about Great Horned Owls is their unwavering loyalty; they mate for life, forming strong bonds with their partners. Their breeding season typically begins in late winter or early spring, and the haunting calls of these iconic birds herald the changing seasons in the Nevada wilderness. They are skilled hunters, preying upon a wide range of animals including rodents, rabbits, birds, and even larger prey like skunks. For me, the Great Horned Owl symbolizes not only the natural beauty of our state but also the enduring spirit of loyalty, wisdom, and resilience that defines our shared Nevada heritage.

  • Jennie, Wetland Outreach Coordinator

Vivid Dancer Damselfly

Vivid Dancer Damselfly (argia vivida)

My favorite native species is the state insect, the argia vivida or the Vivid Dancer Damselfly. I love their bright blue coloring! Plus, they're Nevada's state insect.

  • Trisha, Youth Recreation Coordinator

Desert Horned Lizard

Desert Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma platyrhinos)

My favorite animal is the desert horned lizard (I've always called them horny toads) because they only eat ants and they shoot blood from their eyes! I grew up catching them in the Mojave desert with my family. However, as an adult and conservationist, I recommend that you kindly observe them from afar if you spot them in the wild. One of the best places to see them around Reno is Hidden Valley Regional Park. In the summer, hike up the trails behind the dog park and you will likely spot one basking on a rock near some desert peach. Outside of Hidden Valley park, keep an eye out for harvester ant hills. Like horny toads, these ants really like alluvial fans at the base of hills and mountains. If you see harvester ants, the horny toads shouldn't be too far away.

If you want to learn more about the MOST METAL reptile TO EVER LIVE, you can do so here: 

  • Bradley, Youth Camps and Recreation Manager

Dark Kangaroo Mouse

Dark Kangaroo Mouse (Microdipodops megacephalus)

My favorite Native Nevadan species is the Dark Kangaroo Mouse. Just look at their cute little faces!! So tiny and precious.

  • Dayna, Communications Coordinator

Desert Tortoise, the one and only Peavine Pete.

Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii)

The desert tortoise is my favorite native Nevadan animal mainly because of the strong defense mechanisms they possess. Their shells are complex and serve as an effective protector from threats. When a hazard is near, tortoises are able to duck inside their shell for protection. Tortoises can live for around 80-150 years, which is longer than most humans' lifespan. Not only are their lives long, but the amount of time that they can hold their breath is exceptional because they cannot swim. Living life slowly and steadily is one takeaway humans can take from this ancient species.

  • Nyaabila, Youth Recreation Leader

And there you have it: a handful of the TMPF Team's favorite native Nevadan species. This blog was so fun to make, and I hope you had fun reading it! Comment below your favorite native species if you have one.

5 commentaires

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18 mars

I love the wide variety of species you chose!


11 mars
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Go bats!


11 mars
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Ugh. I love horned lizards! So cute!!!


11 mars
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11 mars
Noté 5 étoiles sur 5.

What a fun collection of native species!