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This giant hairy scorpion was photographed in the Mojave Desert in California.
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Courtesy of Corel Photography

Desert Insects and Arachnids

You can find insects almost anywhere in the world. So it should be of no surprise that there are plenty of insects in the desert. One of the most common and destructive pests is the locust. A locust is a special type of grasshopper. They travel from place to place, eating all the plants they find. Locusts can destroy many crops in a single day.

Not all desert insects are bad, though. The yucca moth is very important to the yucca plant, because it helps pollinate it. The darkling beetle has a hard, white, wing case that reflects the Sun's energy. This allows the bug to look for food during the day.

There are also several species of ants in the desert. The harvester ants gather seeds and store them for use during the dry season. And the honeypot ants have a very weird habit. Some members of the colony eat large amounts of sugar, so much that their adomens get too large for them to move! The rest of the colony feeds off this sugar.

There are also arachnids in the desert. Spiders are the most notable arachnids, but scorpions also belong in this group. Some species of scorpions have poison in their sharp tails. They sting their predators and their prey with the piercing tip.

Last modified September 7, 2000 by Jennifer Bergman.

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