Arizona Naturalists >>> Sonoran Desert Naturalist >>> Field Guide >>> Arthropods

Sonoran Desert Arthropods

Invertibrate animals with an exoskeleton and a segmented body. Includes insects, spiders, crustaceans, scorpions, millipedes and centipedes. Thousands upon thousands of species - a nature lovers cornucopia of diversity and intrigue.

Dragonflies & Damselflies

Odonata

 © by Mike Plagens

Four, similar membraneous wings, with often rapid and precise flight. Adults and immatures are entirely predaceous. Immature stages live in water but adults can wander far from water in search of prey. More info

Butterflies

Lepidoptera

 © by Mike Plagens

Day flying insects with four, broad, often colorful wings. Immature form are caterpillars feeding on plant leaves. More info

Moths

Lepidoptera

 © by Mike Plagens

Often nocturnal but not always. Four broad wings with drab or else colorful scales. More info

Beetles

Coleoptera

 © by Mike Plagens

One pair of hardened wing covers protecting a second pair of membraneous flight wings. Mouthparts designed for chewing. Immature stage a grub. More info

True Bugs

Hemiptera

 © by Mike Plagens

Insects with two pairs of wings and mouthparts designed for piercing-sucking. First pair of wings may be part leathery. Many forms are wingless. More info

Preying Mantis

Mantidae

 © by Mike Plagens

First pair of wings are leather, second membraneous. First pair of legs strongly raptoral and sharp clawed. Predaceous on mostly soft-bodied insects. More info

Green Lacewing

Neuroptera

 © by Mike Plagens

Delicate, intricately veined wings, often emerald green. Mostly nocturnal at lights or alighted on vegetation. Larvae eat aphids, etc. More info

Lacewing Larva

Neuroptera

 © by Mike Plagens

Small torpedo-shaped, somewhat compressed insect without wings. Eat aphids, etc. and on rare occasion will bite into flesh in search of moisture. More info

Ant Lion

Neuroptera

adult of Ant Lion © by Mike Plagens

Delicate, intricately veined wings, largely nocturnal. Drab gray or brown for hiding by day. Conspicuous antennae which dragonflies lack. More info

Turkestan
Cockroach
Blattoidea
 © by Mike Plagens

Slender, light brown cockroach inhabits lawns and gardens. Capable of weak flight. More info

Black Webspinner
Embiidina
 © by Mike Plagens

Mostly seen at lights are the winged males. Females and immatures live in silken tubes under leaves/rocks in moist gardens. More info

Stonefly
Plecoptera
 © by Laurie Nessel

Aquatic insect of cool, clean, streams. Elongate abdomen with two long, hair-like tail append-ages. Adults emerge early spring. More info

Flower Thrips
Thripidae
 © by Mike Plagens

On close inspection most blooming flowers have minute (< 1 mm) cigar-shaped insects. Most are pale yellow, but there are black species also. More info

Pavement Mite
Balaustium
fast-running red mite, Balaustium, © by Mike Plagens

Bright red mites a bit smaller than 2mm often seen running against white concrete or on flowers. More info

Sponsored Links:

Flies

Diptera

 © by Mike Plagens

One pair of membraneous wings. Mouthparts designed for lapping or piercing. Immature stage is a maggot. Includes gnats and mosquitoes. More info

Grasshoppers and Crickets

Orthoptera

© by Mike Plagens

Saltorial insects with two pairs of wings, the first, top pair often leathery and protective. Chewing mouthparts. Immatures lack wings but resemble adults. More info

Bees and Wasps

Hymenoptera

photo © by R Shantz

Two pairs of membraneous wings - second pair normally smaller than first. Buzzing, high-frequency wing beats. Stinger often present. Mouth parts chewing-lapping. More info

Ants

Hymenoptera

© by Mike Plagens

Workers without wings and normally residing in large colonies. Reproductives (queens, males) with two membraneous wings. Stingers sometimes present. More info

Creosote Bush Walkingstick
Diapheromera covilleae
 © by Mike Plagens

Wingless insect with six legs. Body and appendages are all long and twig-like to hide completely. More info

Desert Subterranean Termite
Heterotermes aureus
 © by Mike Plagens

Mud-like carton tunnels extend from soil up into wooded structures. White abdomen with darker brown at mandibles in head. More info

Encrusting Termites
Gnathamitermes perplexus
 © by Mike Plagens

Rarely seen directly above ground. Twigs and grasses near soil are encrusted with mud-like carton. More info

Firebrat
Thermobia domestica
 © by Mike Plagens

Common household insect in the Sonoran Desert. Three long hair-like appendages at tail and two long antennae. No wings. More info

Spiders

Arachnida

 © by Mike Plagens

Eight segmented legs and a body with two segments - head and thorax fused. May inhabit an intricate web or hunt freely. Without antennae. More info

Scorpions

Arachnida

© by Mike Plagens

Eight legs with a prominet pair of pedipalps at anterior formed to pincers. Tail or telson normally with sting at posterior. More info

Desert Millipede
Orthoporus ornatus
 © by Mike Plagens

Two pairs of legs per each of many body segments. Habitat mostly subterranean and above ground only at night after rain. More info

Greenhouse Millipede
Oxidus gracilis
 © by Mike Plagens

Again, two pairs of legs per segment. Common millipede in moist gardens of Sonoran Desert. Mostly hidden beneath vegetation or debris or soil. More info

Desert Centipede
Scolopendra polymorpha
 © by Mike Plagens

Many segments and legs, but with only one pair per segment. Nocturnal. By day remains hidden beneath rocks or soil. More info

Woodlouse
Porcellio sp.
 © by Mike Plagens

Terrestrial crustacean found mostly in watered gardens and compost. 7 pairs legs. Flattened profile. More info

Common Pill-Bug
Armadillidium
Pill Woodlouse

Not a bug or insect at all! Curls into tight ball. Lives among damp leaves and under logs. More ...

Bugguide.net has a number of Arizona contributers with great collections of identified insect photos:


Sponsored Links:


Sonoran Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page


  Google

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2012

 

The Sonoran Desert Naturalist uses third party advertisements to partly support this educational web site. Some of these advertisers may use technology such as cookies when they advertise here, which will send these advertisers (such as Google through the Google AdSense program) information including your IP address, your ISP , the browser you used to visit our site. This is generally used for targeting purposes (showing California real estate ads to someone in California, for example) or showing certain ads based on specific sites visited (such as showing travel ads to someone who frequents tourist web pages).