piled by m
published by m. hill for gr 601 type systems
taught online by carolina de bartolo spring 2009
academy of art university, san francisco, ca
printing by m. hill with an hp 9500 color printer
binding by danya winterman, the key printing and
09 by m
, ca all r
CONTENTsix 1 1 3 1 5 1 6 3 90 93
survival the desert environment.
INTRODUCTIONTh e southwestern United States has a fascinating diversity of vegetation
and wildlife, much of which has evolved to survive under very hostile
environmental conditions. For the rst time visitor from a more temperate
climate, the landscape appears completely alien. Cacti, mesquite trees, and
creosote bushes are the common trees to be found. Many familiar species like
oak trees have adapted to hot dry weather with smaller structures using water
conserving systems. Th e Mojave landscape is host to a variety of dreaded,
venomous and poisonous animals that have each evolved certain specialized
defense systems for their
especially the Mojave.
A bite is a wound received from the mouth, in particular, the teeth, fangs
or sometimes the stinger of an animal, including humans. Animals often
strike or bite in self-defense, in an attempt to predate food, as well as part
of normal interactions. Other bite attacks may be apparently unprovoked.
Bites are usually distinguished by the type of creature causing the wound.
Many di erent creatures are known to bite or to strike at humans. Th e result
of this type of injury is typically survived, unless the animal that is striking
has an exceptional envenomous delivery system.
Just exactly where are these animals to be found? How dangerous are they?
How likely are you to encounter them? What should you do if you have
a bad encounter? Is everything in the Southwest considered venomous
or poisonous? How can you know what is and whats not? Encounters with
venomous or poisonous animals should be cherished and enjoyed safely
be it in the home, back yard, or when out hiking or camping. All of these
animals are an integral part of the Mojave ecosystem which is a desert
biome. The desert biome displays considerable variation,
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Th e Mojave animals live in what strikes many humans as an oppressive
environment. Th e solar energy that all green plants convert into food fuels
life here. Although in most ecosystems animals, like plants compete for food
from sunlight, here many are adapted venom use to survive as they minimize
the e ects of too much energy from the constant solar rays.
An ecosystem is de ned as biotic community together within its physical
environment, considered as an integrated unit. Implied here is the concept of
a structural and functional whole uni ed through life processes.
Th e ecosystem of the Mojave is characterized
as a distinctly viable unit of desert community
and interactive habitats with unique venomous
delivery systems. Th ese systems are hierarchical
and can be viewed as nested sets of open systems
in which physical, chemical, and biological
processes form interactive subsystems.
Awareness of how an animal is likely to behave
can take the fear out of an encounter and help to
keep everybody safe. Most importantly, learning
about venomous and poisonous animals can lead
surviving a potential deadly situation.
: Insect bites may deliver infection.
: Animal bites may transmit disease.
: A bite may cause bodily injury.
: 80% of animal bites are from unknown sources.
: Any animal with claws or teeth may bite.
: An animal bite can in ict life-long illnesses.
average annual hospitalization for wild mojave animal bites
by Mojave anim
1-1. This chart shows the average annual hospitalization for animal bite victims
Venomous bites are usually
named by the type of animal
that causes the wound such
as a bee sting or snake bite.
There are few desert variables including intense
heat, varying elevation, moisture, sand and soil
composition, exposure to ultraviolet rays and
wind patterns that create specific kinds of living
conditions for many plants and animals. Nature
and habitats dont have hard boundaries and
often overlap. Different kinds of habitats within
a short distance of each frequently occur in
the Mojave region. The vastness of the Mojave
spans the areas of lower Nevada and southern
California, Utah and the upper most part of
Arizona. The Mojave waters rarely come above
ground. Usually, the river and basin f lows can
be seen in secluded upper canyon regions. This
is prime territory for venomous animals and to
protect their rights to live, many have adapted to
develop toxins within their body systems to help
them stay and thrive in the Mojave. Many of these
animals were thought to be small in numbers
but their habitats have been revealed as hidden
and large underground territories near basin
water runoff. Here many varieties of cactus and
border on dry lakebeds. Their water conserving
habits resemble those of the animals. Spindly
shrubs and threadlike stems in plants often will
poke or prick
Ecologists use a di erent term for each type of symbiotic relationship. In the
scenario where both species bene t, the term mutualism applies. When one
species bene ts and another is una ected that is called commensalism. Parasit-
ism is the opposite, one species bene ts, the other is harmed. If neither species
bene ts then ecologists call this competition. And the fourth term, neutralism
de nes a situation where both species are una ected. In the Mojave region,
there are many examples
several states of the south west U
the mojave desert
Th e abundance of naturally
occurring caves is one the most
common geologic features
of the Mojave. Underground
living gives animals a great
advantage of energy e ciency.
1-2. This map shows
the overall region and
location of the vast
Mojave that spans
at an invader.
Some animals survive only in the Mojave Desert, these are called endemic
species. Kelso Dunes, also known as the Kelso Dune Field, is the largest
eld of eolian sand deposits in the Mojave Desert. Like many south western
dune systems, the Kelso dunes have a number of endemic animal species.
Th e list includes at least ten species of insect, such as the Kelso Dunes Giant
Sand Treader (Macrobaenetes kelsoensis, a species of camel cricket), the
Kelso Dunes Jerusalem Cricket (Ammopelmatus kelsoensis, a stenopelmatid)
a giant Mydid y (Rhaphiomidas tarsalis), and the Kelso Dunes Shieldback
Katydid (Eremopedes kelsoensis), as well as several rare and venomous native
bees and wasps, and some beetles. Although not strictly endemic, several
plant and reptile species are rare outside of these dunes. One example is the
Mojave Fringe-toed Lizard (Uma scoparia), which is specialized in its ability
to actually move as if swimming under sand.
Some animals live throughout all the southwestern desert areas and some
are merely passing through on a migratory path. Regardless, whether living
permanently in the Mojave, staying only seasonally or ying by on their
way somewhere else, adaptations to the extreme climate and lack of water
must be made even if an animal is only staying for a short while. Endemic
species usually have adapted to these conditions to the highest degree. Th at
includes sophisticated methods of defense. While defense systems are varied,
they can be narrowed to the categories of venomous and poisonous delivery
systems. Th e term for venom or poison that enters the bloodstream is called
a hemotoxin. Hemotoxins, haemotoxins or hematotoxins are toxins that
destroy red blood cells (that is, cause hemolysis), disrupt blood clotting, and
cause organ degeneration and generalized tissue damage. Hemotoxins are