Sonoran Case Study - adaptions

Adaptions of plants and animasl in the Sonoran Desert

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  • Created by: Charlotte
  • Created on: 31-03-12 14:40
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Sonoran Desert Adaptations
Barrel Cactus
Grows in desert washes, has red flowers
5-11 foot high, cylindrical body
Fleshy skin to store water
Spikes to deter predators
Desert Ironwood
Only grows in Sonoran desert below 2,500 foot.
Slow growing, can grow up to 30 feet but can live for up to 1,500 years and has
bluish-green leaves and pink flowers
Grows in sandy areas with water
Leathery pinnate (featherlike in shape) leaves which are covered in hairs, which protects
it from damaging UV rays
Thorns about half an inch long growing under each leaf to deter predators
Drops leaves in dry season to conserve water loss through transpiration and the leaf
litter acts as mulch around the base of the tree keeping the ground moist for longer after
Jumping or Teddy bear Cholla
Grows on valley floor of Sonora from 100-2000 feet
They are covered in silver spines, which become darker with age; these are the plants
method of reproducing as they are easily separated from the plant by either an animal or strong
wind. The spines also deter predators from eating the plant and help to shade the plant.
The stems are separated into segments, some which store water and the others which
store water
Charlotte Meredith

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Palo Verde
Waxy looking green bark with thorns
Loses leaves in dry season to stop water loss through transpiration and can shed some
branches in extreme droughts
Green bark allows it to carry out photosynthesis without any leaves as it contains chlorophyll
Deep roots to access water
Creosote Bush
Long lateral tap roots ­ phreatophyte, can extract soil moisture unavailable to other species
Small dark resinous leaves which reduce transpiration loss helped by the stomata closing during the day
High surface to volume ratio maximises…read more

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Sonoran Pronghorn Antelope
Tan with white patches, and males have black patches, they are up to 3 foot tall
It can raise patches of its hair in summer, to release body heat, and in the winter this hair helps to conserve its body heat, as
well as the white hairs on their rump being able to warn others of danger if it is raised
They have very good eyesight and can run very fast which helps them protect themselves from predators
They have a 4…read more

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During cold nights it goes into a torpor ( a form of temporary hibernation) to keep warm, and during the black parts absorb heat
from the sun
How are arid and semi arid environments different?
Arid environments have more specialised animals and plants which have had to adapt to the specific environment. However different
arid and semi-arid environments can have very different conditions with different amounts of vegetation and different animal species.…read more

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Charlotte Meredith…read more


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