Panama City, Florida is a haven for a wide variety of invertebrate species, from the oval punch to the purple nuthatch. These species can be found in the Chipola, Ochlockonee and Suwannee river systems and in the Ecofina stream. One of the most remarkable creatures is the small-toothed sawfish, a member of the elasmobranch family which includes rays, skates and sharks. This fish has a long, flat snout with teeth that looks like a saw.
Most of the invertebrates in Panama City (70%) are adapted to freshwater. This explains their success in colonizing and expanding freshwater systems. For instance, the Euryhaline Erikeet Worm (0-12 ppt) Hypania invalida (Grube, 1860) has spread across Europe through the Volga, Dnieper and Danube river basins for several decades. The quagga mussel is now present in almost all reservoirs and tributary deltas of the Dnieper River in eastern and southern Ukraine. Of all AIS invertebrates found in Panama City, 41 (45%) are eurihalines, 27 (30%) are found only in the saline adaptive zone and 23 (25%) are exclusive to the freshwater adaptive zone.
The purple nuthatch (Elliptoideus sloatianus, FT) lives in rivers with slow to moderate flows and can be found in the Ochlockonee and Apalachicola rivers. The Ochlockonee moccasin (Medionidus simpsonianus, FE) is only found in the Ochlockonee River system. Juveniles spend their first two years in estuaries and in the smallest habitats within them, such as shallow parts of bays, lagoons and rivers. The quagga mussel is more successful than its cousin, the zebra mussel, in many invaded European rivers. Furthermore, dreissenid mussels form hard substrates on soft benthos and act as ecosystem engineers by providing habitat for many different species that roost on their shells and interstices.
The Panama City crab (Procambarus econfinae, FT) is a small burrowing crab that grows up to two inches long and is only found in a small part of Bay County near Panama City. These crabs prefer shallow coastal waters and sometimes enter the lower reaches of freshwater river systems.