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DESERT LIFE

Life in the desert can be a challenge for people and other living creatures. So, what is a desert? A desert can be a hot, arid place with little water. It can be a dry region covered with sand dunes and cacti, and many hot deserts are in the subtropical zones. The desert of Arizona has those characteristics and even more. Scientists say a desert is a place where more water would be lost through evaporation than is gained from rain. This means that deserts are dry places, but they may not always be hot. The Arizona desert is cool in the winter months and can reach hot temperatures of over 110 degrees in the middle of the summer. Even with cool temperatures, the desert is always a dry place. Most deserts receive less than 10 inches of rain in an entire year. Arizona is one of those dry deserts with very little rain.

A common arachnid in the Arizona desert is the scorpion. Scorpions are related to spiders and are not insects. Scientists believe that scorpions have been on earth for millions of years. There are many different species of scorpions, and they can live in deserts, rain forests, mountains, grasslands and even by the seashore. Scorpions adapt to their environment and are able to climb up surfaces, crawl under rocks and move around very quickly.

Scorpions have a pair of claws, called pedipalps at the front of their body and a stinger at the end of their tail. Scorpions have a paralyzing sting when injected into its prey. Scorpions have eight legs and a tiny claw at the end of each leg. They have an exoskeleton that protects their body. A scorpion’s body has three segments, the head, called the cephalothorax, the abdomen and the tail. The head includes the mouth, eyes, and the front claws. These claws are used to help catch and hold its prey. The abdomen segment contains all eight legs and other internal organs. The five-segmented tail of the scorpion has the stinger at the end. Scorpions are durable, adaptable and well-suited for desert life. Most of the scorpions living in the Arizona desert are light tan in color and are called “bark scorpions.”

DID YOU KNOW?

Scorpions are carnivores which means that they are meat eaters with a diet mainly of small insects. Scorpions can go a long period of time without eating and can live as long as 25 years. Scorpions are different from tarantulas though they belong to the same scientific class, arachnids. A scorpion’s body has three segments, the head (cephalothorax), the abdomen and the tail. The head includes the mouth, eyes, and the front claws. These claws are used to help catch and hold its prey. The abdomen segment contains all eight legs and other internal organs. The five-segmented tail of the scorpion has the stinger at the end. Scorpions are durable, adaptable and well-suited for desert life.

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