In The Desert
Content including photographs are Copyright © 2013 - Present - Don & Linda Gilmore
Contact us via e-mail
The most notorious of the Spider family is also the biggest; the Tarantula; a big insect in the desert. They have a body length of 2 inches and span of 3 inches or a little larger. They are aggressive looking, but that's where it ends, in looks. They can sting you but it's mild like a bee sting. They only make webs to encase the entrances to their subterranean dens.
Having one crawl on you is a little nerve racking the first time. But they are only interested in getting where they're going. If they get irritated you'll know it right away; they'll raise their hind legs and thus raise their body up in the back in a threatening posture. You'll know it when you see it. Their stomach hairs can be irritating to your skin if you try to pick them up. As with any wildlife they can bite you if they feel threatened.
The Black Widow Spider is found in a lot of places in the desert and at your home. This is one Arachnid to stay away from. If you are bitten please seek information about the anti-venom before taking it. It is reputed in many cases to cause as much damage (and death) as the original spider bite. Different people react very differently to the Black Widow bite.
The Hairy Scorpion is a very close relative to the Bark Scorpion (not shown here). The Hairy Scorpion to the left is a common Scorpion in the desert. So is the Bark Scorpion. The Bark Scorpion doesn't have the dark coloration on the top of the back and is light yellow all over. The Bark Scorpion is very poisonous where as the Hairy Scorpion shown here is not. This does not mean you should get stung by one though.
also know as--
They are in the order - Solifugae of Arachnids
This guy is over 3 inches long and is very fast. It can not sting you, but can bite you. It can be painful and can get infected! They look dangerous but are actually very helpful. We watched this one eat moths for over 20 minutes, and got so fat he could hardly move. They do have a very strong set of pincers that they use to capture another bug then cut it in half.
Giant Crab Spider
This spider was photographed near the Colorado River on the Arizona side at Martinez Lake. Approx. 2 3/4 inches wide (leg tip to leg tip - and can be up to 3 inches wide). These spiders are seen on walls or ceilings and do climb. Usually only coming out at night. Is not dangerous to humans, but it's bite is painful. See enlargement.
Identification by Gordon Snelling
Desert Recluse Spider
Desert Recluse spiders are generally yellowish-tan to tan in color. The typical violin shaped marking of the recluse spiders is not apparent on the Desert Recluse. The abdomen is a uniform color, with no markings on it.
The Desert Recluse is found in Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah. Outside the United States, the Desert Recluse is found in Mexico.
Photo Courtesy of Greg Watson
The Desert Recluse is known to have a necrotic bite. This means that the bite causes severe damage to the skin and surrounding tissue, resulting in a large open sore, called a necrotic lesion, that takes a long time to heal. In some cases, systemic effects (i.e. headache, nausea, abdominal cramps, joint stiffness, and/or fever) have been reported as well.
Other Insects in the Desert
The common Honey Bee or is it? Some people will jump right in and say it's a killer bee? Could it be? Yes it could, but it probably wasn't as it didn't seem bothered by us at all. How do you tell the difference? You can't; unless the hive attacks you. Just to see one tells you nothing. Only an expert will know and only after an examination in a laboratory.
So why all the mystery about the killer bees? Because it's on people's minds since there's been several attacks here in the desert. You have to know that your going to run into bees in the desert, because that's where a lot of them live. Like the bees shown here in this Buckhorn Cactus flower.
(Scolopendra heros)- Anthropods
They can be big, this one measured 6 1/2 inches long. This one was seen at a cave near Salome, Arizona. Surprising to all of us it could move very fast. We've since learned that they have a pretty nasty sting. Effects from the sting last from several hours to several days.
(Insecta: Coleoptera: Meloidae)
The Blister Beetle is found in the desert during the early Summer. Don't attempt to handle them; their bodies contain a toxin called (cantharadin) that can cause blisters to form on the skin. Animals, particularly horses, can ingest beetle contaminated feed and can become extremely ill and may even die. They usually arrive in swarms and feed on leaves of certain plants, especially legumes. 3/8 to 1 inch long.
also known as ---
Armored Stink Beetle
Darkling Beetle often called the Armored Stink Beetle is found throughout the world in a wide range of habitats. There is a large population of them to be found in the desert Southwest. When threatened, the Darkling Beetle assumes a defensive posture like in the photo to the left. It emits a foul smelling liquid.
Desert Spider Beetle
The Desert Spider Beetle is in the same family as the Blister Beetles. The inflated blister beetle has an inflated abdomen and a small head. Because it resembles a spider it is called the Desert Spider Beetle. The pitted back has several color variations.
This beetle lives 1 to 2 years. They are the largest beetle in North America.There are over 300 species of Rhino Beetles. Not very common, this one was photographed in Prescott AZ.
Photos Courtesy of Jc Amberly
Coral Pink Sand Dunes