Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

National Atlas Biology

UPDATE 10/5/2014 – The National Atlas ceased to be updated as of 9/30/2014. A copy from 9/24/2014 lives on in the Internet Archive.

National Atlas Biology – https://wayback.archive-it.org/4416/20140919123143/http://nationalatlas.gov/biology.html

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • Where are bats found in the United States?
  • Are there forests in Northern Alaska?


The Biology section of the National Atlas actually covers animals as well as plants. Like other sections of the National Atlas, it has overview articles and links to Map Maker samples. The overview articles include information about zebra mussels and africanized honey bees (aka killer bees.)

Clicking on one of the Map Maker samples, such as “Forest Cover Types”, allows you to access a number of other map layers including:

  • Amphibian Distributions (by type)
  • Bat Range (by type)
  • Breeding Bird Survey Routes
  • Butterfly Distributions (overall and by species)
  • Ecoregions
  • Forest Cover Types
  • Invasive species
  • Moth Distribution (overall and by species)
  • Wildland/Urban interface (under National Fire Plan)
  • Vegetation growth (average and peak)
  • Wildlife mortality

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