Temperate Desert

Alaina Giometti

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Gila Monster

The Gila is the largest lizard native to the United States and one of the only venomous lizards. Gila's feed primarily on eggs stolen from nests and newborn mammals. In order to survive the desert heat, they bury themselves deep underground in burrows (where they spend 95% of their time) and emerge only to feed. Due to their ability to store fat in their over-sized tails, they are able to go months between meals.

Crucifixion Thorn

The crucifixion thorn is a intricate branched shrub or small tree with no leaves. Their thick, rigid, sharp branches perform photosynthesis. In spring, small pink flowers grown on the thorns of the branches. It also produces fruit which can stay on for years.
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Human Impacts

The biggest threats to temperate deserts is development. Due to the invention of air-conditioning, living in the desert has become more comfortable and led to expansion. Another threat to this biome is off-road vehicle use. Recreational vehicles may crush or kill plants and uproot soil so that it is vulnerable to wind erosion. (Fun Fact: tracks of tanks and vehicles training for battles in WWII are still visible). Global warming is a potential threat. Small changes in precipitation and temperate can have exponential effects on temperate deserts.

Sources

1. Cross J. Gila Monster [Internet]. [place unknown]: National Geographic Society; c1996 [updated 2016; cited 2016 Jan 28]. Available from: http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/reptiles/gila-monster/.

2. Crucifixion Thorn Natural Area [Internet]. CA: U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management; [cited 2016 Jan 28]. Available from: http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/elcentro/recreation/crucifixionthorn.print.html

3. Desert [Internet]. [place unknown]: Missouri Botanical Garden; c2002 [cited 2016 Jan 28]. Available from: http://www.mbgnet.net/sets/desert/whatis.htm

4. DesertUSA [Internet]. [place unknown]: Digital West Media; c1996 [updated 2016; cited 2016 Jan 28]. Available from: http://www.desertusa.com/flora.html

5. The Free Dictionary [Internet]. PA: Farlex; c2003 [updated 2016; cited 2016 Jan 28]. Available from: http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Temperate+desert

6. Holycrose A. Gila Monster [Internet]. [place unknown]: [publisher unknown]; c2008 [cited 2016 Jan 28]. Available from: http://www.reptilesofaz.org/Lizards-Subpages/h-h-suspectum.html

7. McShaffrey D. The Desert Biome(s) [Internet]. OH: Marletta College; [cited 2016 Jan 28]. Available from: http://w3.marietta.edu/~biol/biomes/desert.htm

8. Miller G, Spoolman S. Climate and Terrestrial Biodiversity. In: Living in the Environment. 16th ed. [place unknown]: Yolanda Cossio; 2009. p. 140-159.

9. S Z. Desert Animals [Internet]. [place unknown]: Bryan Schaffner; c2010 [updated 2010 Sep 23; cited 2016 Jan 28]. Available from: http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/desert_animal_page.htm