Terrestrial desert habitat

Sand sheets and fossil dunes are covered with plants adapted to live in dry areas. The dominant plants often form mounds as they collect wind-blown sand. After rainfall, the desert is covered with a fresh carpet of annual grasses. Many small insects live in and around the plants; small silverfish (1) and darkling beetles (2) feed on decaying vegetation, along with termites (3) and weevils (4). The scorpions hunt their prey at night. The pitted beetle (5), active by day, lifts its body off the hot sand with its long legs as it searches for seeds, flowers and dead plants.


Blue-throated agamids (9) occur in rocky areas with isolated shrubs while the spiny-tailed lizards bask in the sun. Geckos (7) are common under debris or rocks during the daytime. The horned viper is a venomous snake, but not naturally aggressive. It may be found resting in shade provided by bushes, partially buried by sand.


Typical bird species to be seen include the crested lark (6) and hoopoe lark (8) which are both resident breeders, the desert wheatear (11) which is a winter visitor, and the isabelline shrike (15) which is a passage migrant, passing through the Kingdom between Central Asia and East Africa in autumn and spring.


The red fox (16) and the Asiatic jackal (10) represent the largest of the mammalian predators. Within their varied diets one might expect to find mice, gerbils (14) and jerboa (13) as all occur in good numbers. Hares (12) are rarely found now as nearly all of them have been hunted and killed. Gazelle used to live in this area and will be reintroduced by the NCWCD into the Sanctuary area.

  Have also a look on following inhabitants of terrestrial desert habitats:  
WWW www.jubail-wildlife-sanctuary.info