Adaptations for Burrowing in Sand, Avoidance of Enemies and Defence

  • John L. Cloudsley-Thompson
Part of the Adaptations of Desert Organisms book series (DESERT ORGAN.)


The three factors of the desert environment that influence most the morphology and ecophysiology of its inhabitants are heat, drought and exposure to enemies. During their daily sojourn in retreats and burrows, nocturnal animals avoid the extremes of all these parameters. Even so, they do not entirely escape them, for the desert may still be hot at night, or it can be cold. It can be very dry, or flooded (Sect. 6.3), and enemies are never absent. Nor is there security in darkness, for light from the stars and moon in the clear desert sky is so bright that adaptive colouration is important at all times (Sect. 2.3).


Tonic Immobility Desert Tortoise Tail Loss Tenebrionid Beetle Slip Face 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • John L. Cloudsley-Thompson
    • 1
  1. 1.University College, Department of Biology (Medawar Building)University of LondonLondonUK

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