lizard is actually a placid little
animal. Only three inches long,
it preys on ants and squirts
blood from its eyes when dis-
turbed. It makes a good pet.
THE deathly quietude of the noonday summer desert, where no creature seems to stir, is an illusion. Life does go on here, a teeming life that is highly successful if all but invisible. Going about their business in a tightly interlocked association are insects and spiders, fishes, snakes and lizards, cats, rats and bats, birds and foxes. In fact, species of all the familiar animals of the woods are at home here, and many more.
Animal life on the desert, as anywhere else, is completely dependent upon plant life for sustenance. Only a green plant can manufacture organic food from nonorganic materials--carbon dioxide, water and energy from the sun. Upon the "economic foundation" of plants there develops a complex society of animal species; some eat plant foods directly, some eat each other; but all in the final analysis trace their livelihood back to green leaves and radiant sun energy. The nature of the vegetation, therefore, governs the kinds and relative abundance of animals. On the desert there are two primary phases of plant growth--the lush period of rainfall when all kinds of vegetative foods are in good supply (tender
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Publication information: Book title: The Desert. Contributors: A. Starker Leopold - Author. Publisher: Time. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1961. Page number: 69.
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