Harelip Sucker (Lagochila lacera). Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago. FMNH no. 1847. Conservation status: extinct. In 2004 this species was renamed Moxostoma lacerum. The last specimen was collected in 1893 and by the 1970's it was considered extinct. It is the fish species lost from the largest number of American states. Its decline is likely due to siltation of its habitat in clear, swift gravel bottom streams in the eastern United States during the early 1800's as forests were felled and replaced by agriculture.
As biologists describe new species and add to our understanding of the interrelated nature of life on Earth, a species becomes extinct every 20 minutes (100 to 1000 times the background extinction rate as seen in the fossil record). Collections in natural history museums play important roles in conservation, education and research. Most of that work and the associated specimens are not on public display in museumsÃ¢€š typically, less than five percent of specimens are exhibited.