Hey, so the actual word find square and the list of words are two separate images, because the word find took up the entire page all by itself. Just keep that in mind if you decide to download this or print it out, so that you don’t forget your word list!

These are all invertebrates that are listed as either threatened or endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. They tend to be overlooked in favor of charismatic megafauna like the grizzly bear and California condor, and if these smaller creatures are the only endangered species in their immediate area, they may have less of a chance of getting support for protection of their habitat. Even when conservationists try to invoke the protection that the ESA affords smaller creatures, some people may scoff about why such a seemingly insignificant species should be the reason that a dam or other development can’t happen (see what happened with the snail darter, a small fish, or the infamous northern spotted owl.) And if small vertebrates are seen as being so worthless by many, imagine how much resistance there is whenever we try to save a species of clam!

Yet these animals deserve as much protection as the rest, and I wanted to use this word find to help you learn their names, so you know they exist. I challenge you to pick one of these species, learn about it and what is threatening its existence. Then see if any organizations are working to protect its habitat, and find out how you can help; a great example and overall starting point is the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. Every little bit counts, and every little animal counts, too!