Faunal Inventory

MS Gulf Coast Faunal Inventory
faunal_squareMississippi is one of the first states to catalogue its marine animals (fauna) and to provide a mechanism for storing, updating, and maintaining the inventory. Such an inventory is essential for scientists to correctly monitor and study the Gulf Coast region.  The creation of an inventory of marine/estuarine fauna of the State of Mississippi began in 2002 with funding from the Coastal Impact Assistance Program administered through the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. 

Contact Harriet Perry

Download the Faunal Inventory PDF.


This inventory was made possible only through the efforts of the following individuals: 
Kirsten Larsen
NOAA Fisheries Service
1315 East West Hwy (F)
Silver Spring, MD  20910 

Harriet Perry
Cindy Gavins
Darice Dennis
Lisa Hendon
Gulf Coast Research Laboratory
P.O. Box 7000
University of Southern Mississippi
Ocean Springs, MS 39566-7000 

Tom Van Devender
Mississippi Department of Marine Resources
1141 Bayview Avenue
Biloxi, MS 39530

As taxonomy is ever changing and new species are always being found, this inventory is by no means complete. Its creators hope that the scientific and academic community in Mississippi will update the inventory as new or overlooked species come to light. We welcome your comments and suggestions. Additions or corrections to the list can be made by emailing the coordinator. All references used in the inventory are on file at the Gunter Library, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory.

Inventory Parameters
Physical boundaries

  • North: Interstate 10
  • South: Approximately 3 miles south of the barrier islands
  • East: Mississippi/Alabama border
  • West: Mississippi/Louisiana border (Pearl River)

The study area comprises 4 estuarine systems: Pearl River, St. Louis Bay, Biloxi Bay, and Pascagoula River. Defining the inshore boundaries of the study area-using the upper limits of saltwater intrusion-was not practical because of the seasonal and annual shifts in the degree of saltwater penetration. The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks and the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources both use Interstate 10 as the jurisdictional boundary separating fresh and marine waters, and so this dividing line was used to define the northern boundary of the study. The seaward boundary extended from the Mississippi-Louisiana state line west of the South Spit of Cat Island to the Mississippi-Alabama state line near the eastern tip of Petit Bois Island; state territorial waters extend approximately 3 miles south of the barrier islands or 12 miles south of the main coastline. 


The base inventory was compiled from two primary long-term data sets:  the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory Fisheries Assessment and Monitoring (FAM) database along with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program (SEAMAP) database. All FAM stations are located within state territorial boundaries. To determine SEAMAP stations within Mississippi territorial waters, the NMFS used GPS software to include only those stations within the three mile boundary south of the barrier islands. Other resources used include published scientific articles, research project reports, theses, and dissertations. Journal searches were carried out using both online sources (e.g., BIOSIS) and hand sorting through the library stacks of journal titles that are known to publish research of the Gulf of Mexico. If species from the FAM and SEAMAP databases were listed in a published paper, the published article was listed as the primary source, and then the GCRL or NMFS database was listed as the secondary record.  


The Right Name
The compilers of this inventory worked hard to correctly classify and name each animal in the inventory. Species name changes were tracked through Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) and follow the most recent ITIS entry for the species. The ITIS listing is not always the same name found in the reference material, therefore, the taxonomic name originally published is listed with its source. Synonymies are provided where practical; for species with multiple synonymies, the reader is referred to the  ITIS website. Incorrect spellings in published accounts were corrected. For easy reference, the taxonomic serial number (TSN) is listed for those species in the ITIS database. The ITIS database is updated monthly and we encourage users of this inventory to consult this valuable source of information to track future taxonomic changes. The listing of phyla follows the listings of Brusca and Brusca (2003). The phylogenetic listing of classes follows McLaughlin and Camp (2005) for Crustacea, Cairns (1991) for Cnidaria and Ctenophora, Turgeon (1998) for Mollusca, Nelson (2004) for fishes, and Brusca and Brusca (2003) for all others. Orders, families, and genera are listed alphabetically by class for straight forward use.



  • Brusca, R. and G. Brusca. 2003. Invertebrates, 2nd Edition. Sinauer Associates, Inc., Sunderland, Massachusetts.
  • Cairns, S. D. (chair). 1991. Common and Scientific Names of Aquatic Invertebrates from the United States and Canada: Cnidaria and Ctenophora. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 22. 
  • McLaughlin, P. and D. Camp (chairs). 2005. Common and Scientific Names of Aquatic Invertebrates from the United States and Canada: Crustaceans. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 31. 
  • Nelson, J. (chair). 2004. Common and Scientific Names of Fishes from the United States, Canada, and Mexico, 6th Edition. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 29. 
  • Turgeon, D. (chair). 1998. Common and Scientific Names of Aquatic Invertebrates from the United States and Canada: Mollusks. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 26. 

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