Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sunday Nature Quiz

How much do you know about the Sonoran Desert? Take this quiz and find out.

1. What is this?

Leafcutter nest good 12-13-2010 9-26-37 AM 3616x2712

2. Can you tell the age of this snake?

Rattle 2 10-21-2009 7-27-00 AM 1074x671

3. How about these snakes?

scaled eyes 8-27-2010 11-29-36 AM 3616x2712

4. What kind of flower is this?

Jumpng Cholla

5. What is this handsome red-eyed bird?



1. This is the nest of a leaf-cutter ant colony. For more information on these insects, see the post of December 17, 2010.

2. This is a trick question. Contrary to popular myth, you can’t tell a rattlesnake’s age by the number of rattles on its tail. Rattlers grow a new rattle segment each time they molt, which can be more often than once a year. Also, the rattle segments are often broken off.

3. Not exactly a trick question, but these are baby rattlers, only a few days old. They are born with what is called a “button,” which is the first segment of their rattle. The first time they molt, they add another segment to the rattle and their eyes become clear.

4. This is the seldom-seen flower of the jumping cholla (also called chain-fruit cholla), which appears only at dusk and at night in early summer.

5. This beautiful bird is a phainopepla. Though often called a “black cardinal,” it is actually the only North American member of the silky flycatcher family, and can often be found in and around desert mistletoe. Along with its slate-colored mate, the phainopepla can be seen in the Tucson area throughout the year, though in summer many of them head up to the mountains where it’s cooler.

SCORE: 1-2 correct, you think desert is something sweet served after the first course. 3-4 correct, you’re a snowbird. 5 correct, you are a true desert rat!