Kathryn M.

Desert Facts

Monerans: a single-celled organism with no nucleus

Calothrix crustacea

The scientific name of Calothrix is Calothrix crustacea which is a type of cyanobacteria which can be found in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. It grows on the surface of submersed rocks. The shape of this bacteria is bacilli.

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Pedomicrobium manganicum

Desert varnish is a dark coating found on exposed rock surfaces in arid environments. Desert varnish forms mostly on rocks that are relitively high resistant to weathering such as basalt, fine quartzite, and metamorphosed shales. The shape of this moneran is cocci.

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Protozoans: "animal-like" organisms with no cell wall and no chlorophyll Protists: single celled or multi-celled organisms that have a nucleus

Zoomastigophora incertae sedis

scientific name: Zoomastigophora
common name: Zooflagellates
disease: African sleeping sickness
where they live: they may be free-living or parasitic in humans, other animals, and in certain plants.

Microcoleus vaginatus

Definition: "plant like" with no cell walls or chlorophyll
Scientific name: Microcoleus vaginatus
Where it lives: it can be found in saltwater ponds in the desert

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Multi-celled, no chlorophyll, absorbs nutrients
Glomeromycota: grows on the roots of plants
Scutellospora armeniaca
Where they are found: in sand dunes of the Bledowska Desert, in Poland
Kingdom: Fungi
Phylum: Glomeromycota
Family: Gigasporaceae
Genus: Scutellospora
species: armeniaca
Scutellospora ameniaca
Scutellospora ameniaca

Ascomycota: cup shaped fungus
Psora crenata
common name: fishscale lichen
Kingdom: Fungi
Phylum: Ascomycota
class: Ascomycetes
order: Lecanorales
Genus: Psora
species: crenata
Where they are found: they grow on the soil in the Sonoran Desert
psora crenata
psora crenata

Ascomycota: cup shaped fungus
Gymnoascus reesii
Location: It's commonly found beneath desert shrubs
Kingdom: Fungi
Phylum: Ascomycota
Class: Ascomycetes
Order: Onygenales
Family: Gymnoascus
Genus: Gymnoascus
Species: reesii
Gymnoascus reesii
Gymnoascus reesii

Basidiomycota: Club- closely packed together filaments
Astraeus hygrometricus
Location: It's commonly found in the upland Sonoran Desert
Common name: Hard-skinned puffball
Kingdom: Fungi
Phylum: Basidiomycota
Class: Gastermycetes
Order: Sclerodermatales
Family: Astraeaceae
Genus: Astraeus
Species: hygrometricus
Astraeus hygrometricus
Astraeus hygrometricus


multi-celled, has cell walls, and has chlorophyll
Magnoliophyta- Angiosperms (covered seeds)
Abutilon palmeri
Palmer Indian Mallow

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Tracheophyta
class: Magnoliopsida
order: Malvales
family: Malvaceae
genus: Abutilon
species: palmeri
It can be found on the Sonoran Desert ground

Bouteloua trifida
Red Gramma Grass

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Tracheophyta
class: Liliopsida
order: Poales
genus: Bouteloua
species: trifida
common name: Red Gramma Grass
It can be found in the Sonoran Desert

Ferocactus wislizeni
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Tracheophyta
class: Magnoliopsida
Barrel Cactus

order: Caryophyllales
family: Cactaceae
genus: Ferocactus
species: wislizeni
common name: barrel cactus
It can be found in desert washes and slopes,
and can also grow along canyon walls

Pinophyta- reproduce with cones or seeds outside of plants, no fruit, evergreen
Welwitschia mirabilis

Welwitschia mirabilis
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Gnetophyta
Class: Gnetopsida
Order: Welwitchiales
Family: Welwitschiaceae
Genus: Welwitschia
species: mirabilis
It can be found in the Namib Desert and along the southwest coast of Africa

Zamia furfuracea
cardboard palm

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Cycadophyta
Class: Cycadopsida
Order: Cycadales
Family: Zamiaceae
Genus: Zamia
species: furfuracea
common name: cardboard palm
It can be found in the Sonoran Desert

Afghan Pine

Pinus brutia
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Pinus
species: brutia
common name: Afghan Pine
It can be found in deserts in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Arundo donax
Kingdom: Plantae
Arundo Grass
Arundo Grass

Phylum: Tracheophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Arundo
Species: donax
Common name: Arundo Grass
Where it lives: Grand Canyon National Park

Equisetum hyemale
Scouring Rush Horsetail
Scouring Rush Horsetail

Kindom: Plantae
Phylum: Tracheophyta
Class: Equisetophyta
Order: Equisetales
Family: Equisetaceae
Genus: Equisetum
Species: hemale
Common name: Scouring Rush Horsetail
Where it lives: Southern North America

Equisetum laevigatum
Smooth Scouring Rush
Smooth Scouring Rush

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Tracheophyta
Class: Equisetopsida
Order: Equisetales
Family: Equisetaceae
Genus: Eqisetum
Species: laevigatum
Common name: Smooth Scouring Rush
Where it lives: Typically found at an altitude of 0 to 2,647 meters

Pinus edulis
Rockey Mountain Pinyon Pine
Rockey Mountain Pinyon Pine

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Tracheophyta
Class: Piopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Pinus
Species: edulis
Common name: Rockey Mountain Pinyon Pine
Where it lives: Are commonly found in the Southwestern United States Pinyon

Ginkgo biloba
Maiden hair Tree
Maiden hair Tree

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Tracheophyta
Class: Ginkgoopsida
Order: Ginkgoales
Family: Ginkgoaceae
Genus: Ginkgo
Species: biloba
Common name: Maiden hair Tree
Where it lives: Typically found at an altitude of 0 to 2,311 meters

Cyathea australis
Kingdom: Plantae
Rough Tree Fern
Rough Tree Fern

Phylum: Tracheophyta
Class: Polypodiopsida
Order: Cyatheales
Family: Cyatheaceae
Genus: Cyathea
Species: australis
Common name: Rough Tree Fern
Where it lives: Are commonly found in Australia


multi-, digests food inside body

Arthropods-mutiple body segments, jointed appendages, exoskeleton
Aida Leafwing

Anaea aida
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Nymphalida
Genus: Anaea
species: aida
common name: Aida Leafwing
If can be found in the Sonoran Desert

Platyhelminthes- parasites, one opening for food and waste, simple nervous system
Dolichoplana striata
Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Platyhelminthes
Class: Turbellaria
Order: Tridada
Family: Rhynchodemidae
Genus: Dolichoplana
species: striata
common name: Flatworm
Can be found in the soil

Nemata- one opening for food and waste, straight digestive tube, some are parasites, others live in water or soil
Caenorhabditis elegans
Phylum: Nemata
Class: Secernentea

Order: Rhabditida
Family: Rhabditidae
Genus: Caenorhabditis
species: elegans
common name: Roundworm
Can be found in the desert

Mammalia- advanced nervous system and brain, lungs, feed young with milk, most birth live young, Endotherms
Lepus californicus
Black-Tailed Jackrabbit

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Lagomorpha
Family: Leporidae
Genus: Lepus
species: californicus
common name: known as Black-Tailed Jackrabbit or Desert Hare
It can be found in southwestern United States and Mexico Deserts

Reptilia- 2 pairs of legs, lay eggs, plates or scales, lungs, Ectotherms
Coleonyx variegatus
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Banded Gecko

Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Gekkonidae
Genus: Coleonyx
species: variegatus
common name: Banded Gecko
Lives in North American Deserts

Actinopterygii- fins supported by bones, upper jaw, bones slide forward when opened
Rhinecanthus assasi
Arabian Picassofish

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordat
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Tetradontiformes
Family: Balistidea
Genus: Rhinecanthus
species: assasi
common name: Arabian picassofish
It can be found in the Red Sea, which is off the coast of the Eastern Desert

Mollusca- soft bodied, well developed organ system, some with hard shells
Helix aspersa
Brown Gardensnail
Brown Gardensnail

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
Order: Pulmonata
Family: Helicidea
Genus: Helix
Species: aspersa
Common name: Brown Gardensnail
Where it lives: This species can be found in northern South America

Acanthocephala- One opening for food/waste, curvy spines on proboscis
Corynosoma anatarium
Corynosoma anatarium
Corynosoma anatarium

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Acanthocephala
Class: Palaeacanthocephala
Order: Polymorphida
Family: Polymorphidae
Genus: Corynosoma
Species: anatarium
Common name: N/A
Where it lives: It's commonly found in Mexico

Arthropoda- Two openings for food/waste, jointed appendages, exoskeleton
Icaricia acmon
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Lycaenidae
Genus: Icaricia
Species: acmon
Common name: Acmon Blue
Where it lives: Sonoran Desert

Aves- hollow bones, enlarged lungs, lay eggs, scaly legs,feathers, clawed toes, Endotherms
Riparia riparia
Bank Swallow
Bank Swallow

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: N/A
Genus: Riparia
Species: riparia
Common name: Bank Swallow
Where it lives: Southern United States

Reptillia- Two pairs of legs, lay eggs, covered by plates or scales, lungs, Ectotherms
Simoselaps australis
Australian coral snake
Australian coral snake

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordonia
Class: Reptillia
Order: Squamata
Family: Hydrophiidae
Genus: Simoselaps
Species: australis
Common name: Australian coral snake
Where it lives: It's found in Australia

Amphibia- part of life in water, part of life on land, two pairs of legs, smooth skin, Ectotherms
Ambystoma tigrinum
Easter Tiger Salamander
Easter Tiger Salamander

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Caudata
Family: Ambystomatidae
Genus: Ambystoma
Species: tigrinum
Common name: Easter Tiger Salamander
Where it lives: Is commonly found in Tuscon, Arizona

Desert Facts

Desert Fiction

Desert Food Web

Desert Conservation

Desert Bibliography