Animals

Behavioural Adaptations of Desert Animals by Prof. Dr. Giovanni Costa (auth.)

By Prof. Dr. Giovanni Costa (auth.)

After a short survey of biotopic and vegetational beneficial properties and an account of the most teams of wilderness animals, the main strange styles of the behaviour of the xerophilous fauna are tested. the significance of the thermohygric rules and self-protective and locomotor mechanisms to the survival of arid-adapted animals is emphasised and numerous diversifications within the alimentary, reproductive and social spheres are analyzed.
The transparent and fluent remedy will wake up the curiosity of the interpreting public, from the beginner naturalists to investigate scientists.

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Sexpunctatus is able to tolerate phenolics produced by the Welwitschia Fig. 12. Adults of the Welwitschia bug (Odontopodus sexpunctatus), the most common inhabitant of Welwitschia mirabilis 32 Desert Zoocoenosis plants as protection against herbivores. The bug may even utilize these chemicals to make it unpalatable to predators, however, there is a reduviid bug which preys regularly upon it (Seely 1987). Several neuropteran families are represented in non-polar deserts. In sandy arid environments, myrmeleontids (ant lions) are the most common neuropterans; their larvae ('demons of the dust') are well known for their ambush technique of predation: they stay buried at the bottom of cone-shaped pitfall traps waiting for their unfortunate prey (Wheeler 1930).

The number of known species of insects is at present about 30 Desert Zoocoenosis 750000; however, this is probably only a quarter of all eXlstmg species. Species number and diversity are proof of the evolutionary success of these animals, which have been able to colonize all terrestrial environments and can also invade aquatic habitats. Several factors have contributed to their success; however, a fundamental advantage is their ability to fly. The arid and semi-arid ecosystems support a surprising quantity of insect species.

One species, mentioned above, is the North American gila woodpecker (Sect. 5). Among the Cuculiformes, there is the interesting case of the North American cuckoo or roadrunner Geococcyx californianus. Calder (1968) studied its diurnal activity, while Calder and Schmidt-Nielsen (1967) analyzed its thermoregulation. An arid land species, belonging to the Psittaciformes, is the Australian budgerigar M elopsittacus undulatus (Cade and Dybas 1962). Well-known Strigiformes of arid North American environments are the screech owl Strix fiammea and the elf owl Micrathene whitneyi (Sutton and Sutton 1966; Ligon 1968).

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