This weekend I went out to the Algodones dunes with some friends to poke around. Located just West of Yuma, the Algodones dunes is the largest and dune system in the United States. Unfortunately most of it has been destroyed by OHVs, but the BLM was smart enough to set some of it aside for wildlife.
On the left is the area used by OHVs and on the right is the preserved area... Can you spot the difference?
There apparently is quite a difference in Tenebrionid fauna between spring and fall so I was excited to see what was out. I brought my strainer to sift the sand and sure enough, found some psammophilous Tenebs. Unfortunately they were all too small to shoot with my camera so photos will come later. One notable species I found was Araeoschizus. I have been searching for this odd looking Teneb since I first traveled to AZ 4 years ago. I sifted the first couple out of a K-rat burrow but once the sun fell, these guys were crawling around at the base of plants. I also encountered one specimen of the psammophilous Teneb, Batulius setosa. These mighty beasts are known from the debris that accumulates at the base of dunes, but the one I saw was found about a foot under the sand in the middle of the dunes away from vegetation. Makes one wonder what kind of diversity exists below the shifting sands of the dunes.
Here are some other cool bugs encountered on our trip.
The critter on the left is Ophrysates and is probably the largest weevil I've seen in the US. It was just chomping away on a plant so I left it there. The one on the right is a burrowing roach. This litter fella was quite persistent in its attempt to burrow and even tried burrowing into our hands as we held her.
On the way back we stopped by an interesting taco stand selling interesting tacos?
mmm Polar Bear tacos... delicious.