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Little Giants

Insects are among the smallest and most vital of all
Sonoran inhabitants. Ants, wasps, spiders and
moths provide food for many birds and are the only
moisture many lizards and snakes get in their diet.
For many desert flowers, insects provide the only
means of pollination.

Even the multitudes of millipedes, rising from
burrows after summer rains, and the devastating
termites play a vital role in the chain of life.
They consume vast quantities of living and
decomposing vegetation, leaving nutritious waste
to be absorbed back into the soil.

Many insects need each other to survive.
Scorpions, hiding in tree bark or rocky crevices,
often gulp their weight in insects daily. When the
hairy tarantula spider leaves its silk-lined nest to
hunt beetles, it is frequently attacked by the
tarantula hawk, actually a large wasp with orange
wings and a blue body. The wasp stings the spider,
drags the paralyzed body back to its nest and lays
and egg on the spider's body, leaving the spider as
food for the wasp larvae.

Representing 80 percent of the total animal life in
the Sonoran Desert, insects are, numerically,
second only to plants in the chain of life.

Don't miss the rest of our virtual tour of Saguaro National Park in 687 images.