By Michael A. Mares
For many people the be aware "desert" evokes photographs of barren barren region, tremendous, dry stretches inimical to lifestyles. yet for a very good array of creatures, even perhaps extra abundant than those that inhabit tropical rainforests, the barren region is a haven and a house. trip with Michael Mares into the deserts of Argentina, Iran, Egypt, and the yank Southwest and you may come across a wealthy and noteworthy number of those small, tenacious animals, lots of them first came across by way of Mares in components by no means ahead of studied. Accompanying Mares on his forays into those adverse habitats, we discover the impressive behavioral, physiological, and ecological variations that experience allowed such little-known species of rodents, bats, and different small mammals to persist in an arid international. even as, we see firsthand the perils and pitfalls that look forward to biologists who enterprise into the sector to enquire new habitats, notice new species, and upload to our wisdom of the variety of lifestyles. packed with the seductions and trials that such adventures entail, A wilderness Calling provides an intimate realizing of the biologist's vocation. As he astonishes us with the variety and diversity of information to be bought during the decided research of little-known habitats, Mares opens a window on his personal unusual existence, in addition to at the unusual lifetime of the distant and mysterious corners of our planet. (20020401)
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Additional info for A Desert Calling: Life in a Forbidding Landscape
The water temperature of pupﬁsh pools may reach 113°F and the salt concentration may be four times that of sea water. The mammal fauna of the Mojave in many ways parallels the fauna of the other deserts of North America. Among the larger mammals are the desert bighorn (Ovis canadensis), the puma (Puma concolor), the coyote (Canis latrans), the kit fox (Vulpes velox), the mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), and the bobcat (Lynx rufus). Small mammals are also diverse. The heteromyid rodents (kangaroo rats and pocket mice, members of the family Heteromyidae) include an array of kangaroo rats—the desert kangaroo rat (Dipodomys deserti), Merriam’s kangaroo rat (Dipodomys merriami), the chisel-toothed kangaroo rat (Dipodomys microps), the Panamint kangaroo rat (Dipodomys panamintinus)—pocket mice—the little pocket mouse (Perognathus longimembris), the desert pocket mouse (Chaetodipus penicillatus), the spiny pocket mouse (Chaetodipus spinatus), and the longtail pocket mouse (Chaetodipus formosus)—and the pale kangaroo mouse (Microdipodops pallidus).
To put museum collections in perspective, think of all the major mammal collections in the world, the result of centuries of effort by thousands of collectors and scientists who explored the world to chronicle its mammals. Consider the British Museum of Natural History in London—a museum at the forefront of exploration and collecting for more than two centuries, the 14 T H E I M M O R TA L A N I M A L S Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris, the Smithsonian Institution, the American Museum of Natural History, the Carnegie Museum, the Field Museum, the Academy of National Sciences of Philadelphia, and the national museums of Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Russia, South Africa, and a host of other nations.
The Sonoran is home to paloverde trees (Cercidium), yellow-green or bluish-green trees that carry on photosynthesis within their green bark, put 32 E L F I N FA R M E R S A N D C A C T O P H Y L I C C A R P E N T E R S forth yellow ﬂowers in the spring, and have tiny leaves that minimize water loss. The desert also supports the odd ocotillo plant (Fouquieria splendens), which resembles a bundle of thin dead sticks for most of the year. It produces thick green leaves when rains fall, only to lose them again as the drought returns, until the next rain brings forth another crop of leaves.
A Desert Calling: Life in a Forbidding Landscape by Michael A. Mares