Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Under dry Cow patties

Spring is close here in the Sonoran Desert, but this year, there are hardly any flowers or fresh leaves yet. But by now I get desperate for small critters to photograph. So I turn over old, dried-out cow dung. There is very little wood on the ground and rocks are neatly embedded into the loose desert sand. So old cow pies is where everybody is hiding!
Today I found spiders and scorpions, centipedes, termites, some few caterpillars, true bugs, weevils and ground beetles. Once last year I found a really rare Oil beetle.

Today's nice surprise was a vertebrate: A Western Banded Gecko. He was very patient with me exposing him to the sun for a few pictures and a video. Usually they just scuttle away into the darkest corner they can find. This one was big enough to be fully grown, but like many of his kind in southeastern Arizona, he had retained the juvenile banded pattern. Western Arizona relatives sport rows of spots rather than bands.


I uploaded the videos to flickr, because I got the impression that the quality is better than if I load it directly to the blog. It's still just one click away, enjoy!


  1. What wonderful finds! NW Missouri is finally warming up, it was nearly 70 today and 75 is predicted for tomorrow. I hope it continues to warm up and finally bring back the flowers and insects. It has been a long hard winter and I have cabin fever! I love the little gecko, very cute. I had a leopard gecko for almost 10 years before it finally died a few months ago :o(

  2. The thrill of a discovery always lifts one's spirit.

  3. These are all such awesome finds! Maybe I'll have to copy your strategy for finding critters.

    We used to have a thin sheet of wood in the side yard when I was a kid. I never let my mom throw it out, because I was guaranteed a critter find ever time I lifted it.

  4. Cool ~ I love our native gecko. It's so much more colorful and elegant than the introduced Mediterranean Geckos that swarm around my porch light here in Tucson.

  5. Nice post! Great photos of great specimens. Keep up the posts, I'm a big fan of your work on harvesting Dynastes Granti (they are quite interesting).

    Would you mind checkin' out my blog?