7 Dazzling Desert Dwellers
Virtually every part of our beautiful world teems with life, even those portions that might, at first, seem foreboding to some. The arid, desert regions of the earth are no exception to this fact. If one looks closely enough, the desert sands and scrub abound with life, scurrying in all directions. Here, in this article, we have striven to list 7 Dazzling Desert Dwellers. Though, to be fair, this numbers only scratches the surface of the various forms of life inhabiting these seemingly inhospitable zones.
DeathStalker Scorpion Facts
- The Deathstalker Scorpion, bearing the scientific name of Leiurus quinquestriatus represents a rather impressive species of scorpion in the Buthidae family.
- This remarkable arachnid also ranks as an extremely dangerous variety of scorpion. Its venom contains an incredibly powerful combination of neurotoxins.
- It remains capable of delivering a lethal sting to young children, the elderly, or the otherwise immune impaired. A healthy adult is likely to survive their sting.
- However, the sting of this particular scorpion ranks as excessively painful.
- The invertebrate currently ranks as the third most venomous scorpion on earth. Surprisingly, its venom seems to be of considerable interest to medical researchers.
- One of the unique components of Deathstalker Scorpion venom shows great promise in the treatment of brain tumors.
Deathstalker Scorpion Venom
The fascinating Deathstalker Scorpion exhibits sexual dimorphism, with the males of the species averaging roughly 3 in (7.5 cm) in length.
Yet the females average about 4 in (10 cm) in length. Despite the difference in length, both genders average roughly 2.5 grams in weight.
In color, it shows primarily a pale yellow. Yet horizontal stripes of a light gray also appear, as well as occasional random patches of orange-yellow.
It possesses two eyes on the top of its head, as well as several pairs located along the side of the head.
Uniquely, the tail commonly displays a single dark section, located just before the stinger.
Deathstalker Scorpion Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The Deathstalker Scorpion inhabits a rather specific range extending from the Middle East to Northern Africa. It also inhabits limited portions of Asia.
Within that range, it primarily inhabits extremely arid regions of the world. This includes scrubland and desert habitats. Therein, individuals most commonly live under rocks or in abandoned animal burrows.
This arthropod also evolved as primarily nocturnal in nature. As a desert carnivore, it typically preys on insects, earthworms, spiders, centipedes, and even other scorpions.
It hunts as an ambush predator, relying on the sensitivity of the hairs on its legs to detect vibrations.
Despite the toxicity of its venom, it, unfortunately, continues to be rather popular as exotic pets.
Long Eared Jerboa Facts
- The amazing looking Long Eared Jerboa ranks as a most distinctive looking animal. It also represents the only member of both its genus and subfamily.
- By nature, it lives as a primarily nocturnal creature.
- This mouse-like rodent remains renowned for its exceptionally large ears. This animal also possesses exceptional long hind legs, adapting for jumping.
- Researchers have been able to determine very little reliable information about the Long Eared Jerboa.
- However, its numbers appear to be declining. The primary suspect in this trend is a loss of natural habitat.
Long Eared Jerboa Physical Characteristics
The Long Eared Jerboa attains a maximum known head and body length of only 3.5 in (8.9 cm). The oversized tail may be also as much as 6.4 in (16.3 cm) by itself.
Typically the tail is capped by a tuft of white fur. The rather surprising creature also remains extremely light, weighing an average of roughly 1.3 oz (38 g).
The coloring of this rather astonishing animal appears to predominantly consist of a random combination of various shades of brown and white.
The oversized ears may be as much as 30% longer than the entire head.
Species: E. naso
Long Eared Jerboa Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The fascinating Long Eared Jerboa appears to be endemic to a range that ranges from southern Mongolia to regions of northwest China. For its habitat, it appears to prefer to inhabit primarily arid regions in Asia.
Consequently, its exceptional hearing, provided by the oversized ears, allows it to easily locate its prey, or detect potential predators.
The rather impressive little rodent, like other related species, possesses a carnivorous diet. Observations indicate that it usually preys on various small insects.
Aside from its rather extensive range, and apparent abundant numbers, little data can be confirmed about the animal.
However, based on its apparent numbers, the range of habitation, and the fact that much of its range includes protected areas, the IUCN lists it as a Species of Least Concern.
Coral Pink Sand Dune Beetle Facts
- Most interestingly, the Coral Pink Sand Dune Beetle inhabits an extremely limited range. They also occur only in a portion of the geologic feature known as the Coral Pink Sand Dunes, in southern Utah, in the United States.
- Due to the combination of such limited range and small numbers, this insect now lists as Critically Endangered by the IUCN. Estimates place their total current population at less than 2,000 individuals.
- They spend the entirety of their lives in one tiny area, typically on the same individual sand dune. The majority of individuals venture less than 1,000 ft (300 m) from the spot where they hatched from their eggs.
Coral Pink Sand Dune Beetle Description
Much as with many insects, the Coral Pink Sand Dune Beetle displays sexual dimorphism, with females typically larger in size than males.
However, both genders remain tiny. An overall average body length is slightly less than 0.5 in (12 mm).
Though small, their coloring is rather striking. Also, the body is generally brown or bronze. Furthermore, the upper thorax possesses a metallic sheen. While the wing cases are usually concealed, they are a brilliant white.
Their eyes are rather large in comparison to other beetles of their size. In addition, the legs are relatively long, to keep the body away from the hot sand.
Their most noteworthy feature is the presence of numerous bright white hairs lining much of the body and legs.
Coral Pink Sand Dune Beetle Habitat and Ecology
The Coral Pink Sand Dune Beetle is endemic to Utah, United States. They only inhabit the Coral Pink Sand Dunes geologic feature, hence the name. The color of the sand dunes is unique and is the reason they have evolved their own distinctive coloring.
Mating occurs in the spring, and the larvae reach adulthood the following spring.
They are carnivorous, and adults primarily prey upon flies and other small arthropods they can catch on the dunes.
Larvae remain in small burrows and feed on any small arthropod that wanders by.
The primary threats to their existence have been habitat loss due to climate change and the use of recreational vehicles such as buggies on the dunes.
Golden Armadillo Lizard Facts
- The remarkable Golden Armadillo Lizard represents a species of lizard endemic to certain desert regions. It also remains a unique species of animal.
- Its rather fascinating defense mechanism constitutes rolling into a tight ball, which makes it appear larger to would-be predators.
- This action also presents would-be attackers with its thick, armored exterior. This defensive technique usually protects it from most predators.
- The IUCN previously listed it as Vulnerable but recently downgraded that status to Least Concern. This occurred due to a virtual cessation in the pet trade.
Golden Armadillo Lizard Physical Description
The fascinating Golden Armadillo Lizard remains a moderately sized reptile. Yet that does not diminish its rather fascinating nature.
Its colors range from a light brown to a dark brown on top. Yet the underbelly of the Golden Armadillo Lizard appears yellow, with a black pattern.
Individuals range in size from 6.5-8.5 in (16-21 cm) in length, with no discernible sexual dimorphism. Its bite measures so powerful for a creature of its size that it can literally break its own jaws when it bites.
Golden Armadillo Lizard Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The lizard prefers scrub brush and rocky areas for its habitat. Despite the heat of this habitat, it remains a diurnal creature, being active during the day and sleeping at night.
The Armadillo Lizard also typically lives in social groups which can number as many as 60 individuals but is usually closer to 30 individuals.
Its diet consists primarily of small invertebrates such as insects and spiders. The remarkable animal also has an average lifespan of approximately 10 years.
Individuals typically make their home in cracks in boulders, or crevices.
Tiger Rattlesnake Facts
- The most noteworthy fact about a Tiger Rattlesnake is that the animal is the most dangerous species of all rattlesnake.
- The quantity of venom injected with a bite is less than that of similar species. Yet, the venom contains a powerful mix of neurotoxins and mycotoxins which often leads to muscle death.
- The endemic range of the species is rather restricted. Furthermore, even within that range, their habitat requirements restrict their population to very specific regions.
- Finally, despite inhabiting such a restricted range, their numbers appear to be stable. As a result, the IUCN lists this snake as a Species of Least Concern.
Tiger Rattlesnake Physical Characteristics
Physically, the Tiger Rattlesnake is a small type of pit viper.
In addition, sexual dimorphism is present, with males usually larger than females. The snakes reach a maximum recorded length of only 36 in (91 cm) and are also quite light, rarely weighing more than 1 lb (0.45 kg).
Their basic coloring also varies greatly among individuals. Most are either an orange-brown or bluish gray. Black bars show across the body, hence the name “Tiger Rattlesnake.”
The head is triangular in shape and small. In fact, relative to body size, it has the smallest head of any known rattlesnake, yet the distinctive rattle is quite large, again relative to body size.
Like all pit vipers, they possess heat-sensing organs on each side of the head.
Species: C. tigris
Tiger Rattlesnake Habitat and Ecology
The Tiger Rattlesnake is endemic to portions of Arizona and southern Mexico. Within that range, the snakes roam at altitudes ranging from sea level to 4,806 ft (1,465 m).
They inhabit regions of rocky desert canyons, bajadas, and foothills. This species is primarily terrestrial, yet will occasionally perch in low vegetation. Their periods of activity also vary according to the seasons.
The rattlesnake primarily preys on a variety of small mammals. Interestingly, unlike most snakes, they hunt by both ambush and active stalking equally.
Their own predators are few but include hawks and eagles. The Tiger Rattlesnake is easily annoyed and is quite aggressive. The major threat they face is human expansion into their endemic territory – just like many other species do.
Grasshopper Mouse Facts
- The Grasshopper Mouse serves as the collective name for all of three separate and distinct, and rather surprising, species of mice.
- This fascinating small rodent prefers to inhabit the abandoned burrows of other animals, such as prairie dogs or kangaroo rats.
- The creature will, however, construct its own burrows if forced to do so because it cannot find an abandoned one from a prior resident.
- Though the three varieties of this animal strongly resemble the common household mouse, genetically, the relationship remains quite distant.
Grasshopper Mouse Physical Description
The startling Grasshopper Mouse represents a roughly average size rodent. This particular species displays no apparent signs of sexual dimorphism.
Individuals average roughly 5 in (13 cm) in body length, though exceptional specimens may grow to a somewhat greater body length.
In addition, the tail of this rodent, which grows rather thin, often reaches lengths equal to or even slightly greater than that of the body itself.
An average weight equals only 1.7 oz (49 grams). In color, it typically displays gray to reddish brown on top and white on the underbelly.
Grasshopper Mouse Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The Grasshopper Mouse either evolved or adapted to arid and semi-arid habitats within North America. As a result, its territory extends from portions of central Mexico to central Canada, and it typically prefers dry grasslands and desert regions.
All three varieties of this small animal live as terrestrial and nocturnal in nature.
It remains predominantly carnivorous in its diet, yet individuals do consume smaller quantities of seeds on occasion, to supplement the diet. Its principal prey consists of beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, and scorpions.
The animal also actually evolved an immunity to the venom of many poisonous prey and predators alike. The Grasshopper Mouse also has a highly aggressive and territorial personality.
Unique among small rodents, it actually vocalizes, with a small howl. It uses this to communicate and it is actually audible to humans. Many who hear it compare it to a low pitched coyote howl.
Blue Death Feigning Beetle Facts
- Though the name of the Blue Death Feigning Beetle remains rather unique, it also serves as perfectly descriptive.
- Scientists do not yet know much about this insect.
- The common name derives from the combination of its distinctive coloring and its behavior.
- When threatened, it reacts in a way the name implies.
- It quickly rolls over on its back and becomes extremely rigid. Once the perceived danger passes, it resumes moving.
Blue Death Feigning Beetle Physical Description
First of all, the remarkable Blue Death Feigning Beetle is actually black in color. The blue comes from a chemical coating that it secretes from its body at will.
Such a rather interesting adaptation serves a fully functional purpose, however. This coating serves to protect it from the harmful effects of sunlight.
This rather fascinating invertebrate remains quite small in size. A total overall length averages between 0.7 – 0.8 in (18 – 21 mm). The species does display sexual dimorphism, but only to a very small degree.
Males average about 0.5 mm smaller in size.
Blue Death Feigning Beetle Habitat and Diet
The remarkable Blue Death Feigning Beetle also appears to be extremely long-lived and can live for as long as ten years.
It evolved as endemic to the desert regions of North America, in the northwest section of the continental United States. Typically, people see it crawling either on or around sand dunes.
7 Dazzling Desert Dwellers
We hope that you have enjoyed our choices for 7 Dazzling Desert Dwellers. As always, such lists remain entirely subjective. What we consider dazzling some of you may not, and that is quite natural. But we hope that you find these choices illuminating, in that they represent a cross-section of the varied and numerous forms of life inhabiting the desert regions of our world. Such environs remain highly vulnerable, however, especially to the depredations of climate change. We urge everyone to take care to help preserve these, and other regions, of our earth.