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Critters and Cacti and Succulents


    One of my rare 'hands on" experiences with local lizards, this beautiful blue tailed lizard had gotten trapped in an empty cacti bowl by the side of the house. He/she was running like mad up the sides of the bowl, like one of those crazy kids on a skateboard. Running up the ramp, full speed ahead, "I gotta get outta here!" LOL. After a while it calmed down and I was actually able to catch it. I stroked its head and back and it finally layed placidly in my palm so I could take this picture. One of my most satisfying experiences. I let it go in the back yard and it calmly slithered away.
     The Desert Spiny Back lizard below is a fixture in my back yard. He loved to perch atop my Mammillaria bocasana like a Lizard King surveying his kingdom. I witnessed this on several occasions. Sadly I lost the plant to rot and the King lost his perch. But he still hangs out here, I see him almost daily.
    Another King of the lizard world, the Iguana like "Big Lizard" below hangs out at the Desert Museum and happily poses for anyone with a camera. I don't know the genus or species but he truly is big. At least 18 inches long.
    One thing we must realize is that the Plant and Animal Kingdoms are inextricably intertwined. What that means is one can't exist without the other. Nearly all flowering plants rely on insects or other animals for pollination and reproduction. In return the animal or insect is provided with a source of food. Sometimes a sugar rich nectar, but also fruit and edible stems and leaves. Many Cacti and Succulent plants rely on animals to spread their seed in their droppings and sometimes in distribution of detached stems. Most of the Cylindropuntia propagate in this way. An animal gets a spiny segment caught in its fur and sooner or later manages to dislodge it. If conditions are right, the segment can root and produce a new colony, sometimes miles away from the original plant. Other plants such as the nocturnal flowering Cereus and its relatives actually utilize a two staged process of pollination and seed distribution. Bats pollinate the flowers in the spring and then migrate north. In the fall they return south and find the Cereus fruits ripe and ready for them to feast on. These relationships have gone on for millions of years and will continue to do so as long as we commit ourselves to protecting our environement. As Cacti and Succulent collectors and enthusiasts we must also appreciate the animals who share their environement, and add their own contributions to the symphony of life on Earth. This gallery is dedicated to them.
Bees by me.jpg
Bees by me
Big Lizard by me.jpg
Big Lizard by me
Big Lizard2 by me.jpg
Another view by me
Big Lizard3 by me.jpg
Portrait by me
Blue tail lizard by me.jpg
Blue tail lizard by me
Blue tail lizard3 by me.jpg
A black background view by me
Cactus Bug (Narnia pallidicornis) by Xenomorf.jpg
Cactus Bug (Narnia pallidicornis) by Xenomorf
Cactus Coreid Bug (Cheilinidea vittiger) by Xenomorf.jpg
Cactus Coreid Bug (Cheilinidea vittiger) by Xenomorf
Desert Box Turtle by Sheri Ross.jpg
Desert Box Turtle (Terrapene ornata luteola ) by Sheri Ross
Desert Spider Beetle (Cysteodemus armatus) by Xenomorf.jpg
Desert Spider Beetle (Cysteodemus armatus) by Xenomorf
Desert Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus magister) by Xenomorf.jpg
Desert Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus magister) by Xenomorf
Desert Spiny Lizard1 by me.jpg
Desert Spiny Lizard by me
Desert Spiny Lizard2 by me.jpg
A closer view by me
Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) by Xenomorf.jpg
Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) by Xenomorf
dove nested in a Chain-fruit cholla 9Cylindropuntia fulgida) by Xenomorf.jpg
Dove nested in a Chain-fruit cholla (Cylindropuntia fulgida) by Xenomorf
Grasshopper by me.jpg
Grasshopper in an Astrophytum ornatum flower by me
Katydid on Euphorbia by Chantell Junk.jpg
Katydid on Euphorbia by Chantell Junk
Katydid on Euphorbia by Chantell Junk2.jpg
Another view by Chantell Junk
Praying Mantis2 by Antoinette.jpg
Praying Mantis by Antoinette Hague
Praying Mantisantis1 by Antoinette.jpg
Another view by Antoinette Hauge
Tree Frog and Agave by Sue Welborn.jpg
Tree Frog and Agave by Sue Welborn
Tree Frog and Agave by Sue Welborn2.jpg
A closer view by Sue Welborn
Toad.jpg
Toad in the Sempervivum patch by Chris Rentmeister
'Gulf Fritillary' - Agraulis vanillae.jpg
"Gulf Fritillary"
Agraulis vanillae
by me
Cheilinidea vittiger01.jpg
Cheilinidea vittiger
by me
Danaus eresimus 'Soldier'02a.jpg
Danaus eresimus
"Soldier"
by me
Oncideres rhodosticta 'Mesquite Girdler'01.jpg
Oncideres rhodosticta
"Mesquite Girdler"
by me
Sticktenbergia by Peter Breslin.jpg
Sticktenbergia by Peter Breslin
Chameleon walking the tight rope by Maddy.jpg
Chameleon walking the tight rope by Maddy
Chameleon2 walking the tight rope by Maddy.jpg
Chameleon walking the tight rope by Maddy
Chameleon3 walking the tight rope by Maddy.jpg
Chameleon walking the tight rope by Maddy
Collared Lizard by Joyce.jpg
Collared Lizard by Joyce
Forest Tree Frog on Kalanchoe beharensis by Maddy.jpg
Forest Tree Frog on Kalanchoe beharensis by Maddy
Forest Tree Frog2 on Kalanchoe beharensis by Maddy.jpg
Forest Tree Frog on Kalanchoe beharensis by Maddy
Lizard and Haworthia by Robin Johnson.jpg
Lizard and Haworthia by Robin Johnson
Mantis by Maddy.jpg
Mantis by Maddy
Mantis2 by Maddy.jpg
Mantis by Maddy
Nesting Dove by Jesse Cook.jpg
Nesting Dove by Jesse Cook
Painted Reed Frog on Kalanchoe viguieri by Maddy.jpg
Painted Reed Frog on Kalanchoe viguieri by Maddy
Painted Reed Frog2 on Kalanchoe viguieri by Maddy.jpg
Painted Reed Frog on Kalanchoe viguieri by Maddy
Pink Spotted Hawk Moth by Me.jpg
Pink Spotted Hawk Moth by Me
South African Moth by Maddy.jpg
South African Moth by Maddy
South African Moth2 by Maddy.jpg
South African Moth by Maddy
Sphinx Moth by John P. Jones.jpg
Sphinx Moth by John P. Jones

All images and text are copyright 2006-7 D.S. Franges, unless otherwise noted. Other pictures on this page are copyrighted to those photographers who contributed them, and they have my sincere thanks.