Animals are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals consume organic material, breathe oxygen, are able to move, can reproduce sexually, grow from a hollow sphere of cells, the blastula, during embryonic development. Over 1.5 million living animal species have been described—of which around 1 million are insects—but it has been estimated there are over 7 million animal species in total. Animals range in length from 8.5 millionths of a metre to 33.6 metres and have complex interactions with each other and their environments, forming intricate food webs. The category includes humans, but in colloquial use the term animal refers only to non-human animals; the study of non-human animals is known as zoology. Most living animal species are in the Bilateria, a clade whose members have a bilaterally symmetric body plan; the Bilateria include the protostomes—in which many groups of invertebrates are found, such as nematodes and molluscs—and the deuterostomes, containing the echinoderms and chordates.
Life forms interpreted. Many modern animal phyla became established in the fossil record as marine species during the Cambrian explosion which began around 542 million years ago. 6,331 groups of genes common to all living animals have been identified. Aristotle divided animals into those with those without. Carl Linnaeus created the first hierarchical biological classification for animals in 1758 with his Systema Naturae, which Jean-Baptiste Lamarck expanded into 14 phyla by 1809. In 1874, Ernst Haeckel divided the animal kingdom into the multicellular Metazoa and the Protozoa, single-celled organisms no longer considered animals. In modern times, the biological classification of animals relies on advanced techniques, such as molecular phylogenetics, which are effective at demonstrating the evolutionary relationships between animal taxa. Humans make use of many other animal species for food, including meat and eggs. Dogs have been used in hunting, while many aquatic animals are hunted for sport.
Non-human animals have appeared in art from the earliest times and are featured in mythology and religion. The word "animal" comes from the Latin animalis, having soul or living being; the biological definition includes all members of the kingdom Animalia. In colloquial usage, as a consequence of anthropocentrism, the term animal is sometimes used nonscientifically to refer only to non-human animals. Animals have several characteristics. Animals are eukaryotic and multicellular, unlike bacteria, which are prokaryotic, unlike protists, which are eukaryotic but unicellular. Unlike plants and algae, which produce their own nutrients animals are heterotrophic, feeding on organic material and digesting it internally. With few exceptions, animals breathe oxygen and respire aerobically. All animals are motile during at least part of their life cycle, but some animals, such as sponges, corals and barnacles become sessile; the blastula is a stage in embryonic development, unique to most animals, allowing cells to be differentiated into specialised tissues and organs.
All animals are composed of cells, surrounded by a characteristic extracellular matrix composed of collagen and elastic glycoproteins. During development, the animal extracellular matrix forms a flexible framework upon which cells can move about and be reorganised, making the formation of complex structures possible; this may be calcified, forming structures such as shells and spicules. In contrast, the cells of other multicellular organisms are held in place by cell walls, so develop by progressive growth. Animal cells uniquely possess the cell junctions called tight junctions, gap junctions, desmosomes. With few exceptions—in particular, the sponges and placozoans—animal bodies are differentiated into tissues; these include muscles, which enable locomotion, nerve tissues, which transmit signals and coordinate the body. There is an internal digestive chamber with either one opening or two openings. Nearly all animals make use of some form of sexual reproduction, they produce haploid gametes by meiosis.
These fuse to form zygotes, which develop via mitosis into a hollow sphere, called a blastula. In sponges, blastula larvae swim to a new location, attach to the seabed, develop into a new sponge. In most other groups, the blastula undergoes more complicated rearrangement, it first invaginates to form a gastrula with a digestive chamber and two separate germ layers, an external ectoderm and an internal endoderm. In most cases, a third germ layer, the mesoderm develops between them; these germ layers differentiate to form tissues and organs. Repeated instances of mating with a close relative during sexual reproduction leads to inbreeding depression within a population due to the increased prevalence of harmful recessive traits. Animals have evolved numerous mechanisms for avoiding close inbreeding. In some species, such as the splendid fairywren, females benefit by mating with multiple males, thus producing more offspring of higher genetic quality; some animals are capable of asexual reproduction, which results
Grasshoppers are a group of insects belonging to the suborder Caelifera. They are among what is the most ancient living group of chewing herbivorous insects, dating back to the early Triassic around 250 million years ago. Grasshoppers are ground-dwelling insects with powerful hind legs which allow them to escape from threats by leaping vigorously; as hemimetabolous insects, they do not undergo complete metamorphosis. At high population densities and under certain environmental conditions, some grasshopper species can change color and behavior and form swarms. Under these circumstances, they are known as locusts. Grasshoppers are plant-eaters, with a few species at times becoming serious pests of cereals and pasture when they swarm in their millions as locusts and destroy crops over wide areas, they protect themselves from predators by camouflage. Other species such as the rainbow grasshopper have warning coloration. Grasshoppers are affected by parasites and various diseases, many predatory creatures feed on both nymphs and adults.
The eggs are the subject of attack by predators. Grasshoppers have had a long relationship with humans. Swarms of locusts can have devastating effects and cause famine, in smaller numbers, the insects can be serious pests, they are used as food in countries such as Indonesia. They feature in art and literature. Grasshoppers belong to the suborder Caelifera. Although, "grasshopper" is sometimes used as a common name for the suborder in general, some sources restrict it to the more "advanced" groups, they may be placed in the infraorder Acrididea and have been referred-to as "short-horned grasshoppers" in older texts to distinguish them from the also-obsolete term "long-horned grasshoppers" with their much longer antennae. The phylogeny of the Caelifera, based on mitochondrial ribosomal RNA of thirty-two taxa in six out of seven superfamilies, is shown as a cladogram; the Ensifera Caelifera and all the superfamilies of grasshoppers except Pamphagoidea appear to be monophyletic. In evolutionary terms, the split between the Caelifera and the Ensifera is no more recent than the Permo-Triassic boundary.
The group diversified during the Triassic and have remained important plant-eaters from that time to now. The first modern families such as the Eumastacidae and Tridactylidae appeared in the Cretaceous, though some insects that might belong to the last two of these groups are found in the early Jurassic. Morphological classification is difficult because many taxa have converged towards a common habitat type; this information is not available from fossil specimens, the palaentological taxonomy is founded principally on the venation of the hindwings. The Caelifera includes about 11,000 known species. Many undescribed species exist in tropical wet forests; the Caelifera have a predominantly tropical distribution with fewer species known from temperate zones, but most of the superfamilies have representatives worldwide. They are exclusively herbivorous and are the oldest living group of chewing herbivorous insects; the most diverse superfamily is the Acridoidea, with around 8,000 species. The two main families in this are the Acrididae with a worldwide distribution, the Romaleidae, found chiefly in the New World.
The Ommexechidae and Tristiridae are South American, the Lentulidae and Pamphagidae are African. The Pauliniids are nocturnal and can swim or skate on water, the Lentulids are wingless. Pneumoridae are native to Africa southern Africa, are distinguished by the inflated abdomens of the males. Grasshoppers have the typical insect body plan of head and abdomen; the head is held vertically at an angle with the mouth at the bottom. The head bears a large pair of compound eyes which give all-round vision, three simple eyes which can detect light and dark, a pair of thread-like antennae that are sensitive to touch and smell; the downward-directed mouthparts are modified for chewing and there are two sensory palps in front of the jaws. The thorax and abdomen are segmented and have a rigid cuticle made up of overlapping plates composed of chitin; the three fused thoracic segments bear two pairs of wings. The forewings, known as tegmina, are narrow and leathery while the hindwings are large and membranous, the veins providing strength.
The legs are terminated by claws for gripping. The hind leg is powerful; the posterior edge of the tibia bears a double row of spines and there are a pair of articulated spurs near its lower end. The interior of the thorax houses the muscles that control the legs; the abdomen has eleven segments, the first of, fused to the thorax and contains the tympanal organ and hearing system. Segments two to eight are joined by flexible membranes. Segments nine to eleven are reduced in
Florida is the southernmost contiguous state in the United States. The state is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the south by the Straits of Florida. Florida is the 22nd-most extensive, the 3rd-most populous, the 8th-most densely populated of the U. S. states. Jacksonville is the most populous municipality in the state and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States; the Miami metropolitan area is Florida's most populous urban area. Tallahassee is the state's capital. Florida's $1.0 trillion economy is the fourth largest in the United States. If it were a country, Florida would be the 16th largest economy in the world, the 58th most populous as of 2018. In 2017, Florida's per capita personal income was ranking 26th in the nation; the unemployment rate in September 2018 was 3.5% and ranked as the 18th in the United States. Florida exports nearly $55 billion in goods made in the 8th highest among all states.
The Miami Metropolitan Area is by far the largest urban economy in Florida and the 12th largest in the United States with a GDP of $344.9 billion as of 2017. This is more than twice the number of the next metro area, the Tampa Bay Area, which has a GDP of $145.3 billion. Florida is home to 51 of the world's billionaires with most of them residing in South Florida; the first European contact was made in 1513 by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León, who called it la Florida upon landing there in the Easter season, known in Spanish as Pascua Florida. Florida was a challenge for the European colonial powers before it gained statehood in the United States in 1845, it was a principal location of the Seminole Wars against the Native Americans, racial segregation after the American Civil War. Today, Florida is distinctive for its large Cuban expatriate community and high population growth, as well as for its increasing environmental issues; the state's economy relies on tourism and transportation, which developed in the late 19th century.
Florida is renowned for amusement parks, orange crops, winter vegetables, the Kennedy Space Center, as a popular destination for retirees. Florida is the flattest state in the United States. Lake Okeechobee is the largest freshwater lake in the U. S. state of Florida. Florida's close proximity to the ocean influences many aspects of daily life. Florida is a reflection of multiple inheritance. Florida has attracted many writers such as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams, continues to attract celebrities and athletes, it is internationally known for golf, auto racing, water sports. Several beaches in Florida have emerald-colored coastal waters. About two-thirds of Florida occupies a peninsula between the Gulf of the Atlantic Ocean. Florida has the longest coastline in the contiguous United States 1,350 miles, not including the contribution of the many barrier islands. Florida has a total of 4,510 islands; this is the second-highest number of islands of any state of the United States.
It is the only state that borders both the Gulf of the Atlantic Ocean. Much of the state is characterized by sedimentary soil. Florida has the lowest high point of any U. S. state. The climate varies from subtropical in the north to tropical in the south; the American alligator, American crocodile, American flamingo, Roseate spoonbill, Florida panther, bottlenose dolphin, manatee can be found in Everglades National Park in the southern part of the state. Along with Hawaii, Florida is one of only two states that has a tropical climate, is the only continental state with either a tropical climate or a coral reef; the Florida Reef is the only living coral barrier reef in the continental United States, the third-largest coral barrier reef system in the world. By the 16th century, the earliest time for which there is a historical record, major Native American groups included the Apalachee of the Florida Panhandle, the Timucua of northern and central Florida, the Ais of the central Atlantic coast, the Tocobaga of the Tampa Bay area, the Calusa of southwest Florida and the Tequesta of the southeastern coast.
Florida was the first region of the continental United States to be visited and settled by Europeans. The earliest known European explorers came with the Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León. Ponce de León spotted and landed on the peninsula on April 2, 1513, he named the region Florida. The story that he was searching for the Fountain of Youth is mythical and only appeared long after his death. In May 1539, Conquistador Hernando de Soto skirted the coast of Florida, searching for a deep harbor to land, he described seeing a thick wall of red mangroves spread mile after mile, some reaching as high as 70 feet, with intertwined and elevated roots making landing difficult. The Spanish introduced Christianity, horses, the Castilian language, more to Florida. Spain established several settlements with varying degrees of success. In 1559, Don Tristán de Luna y Arellano established a settlement at present-day Pensacola, making it the first attempted settlement in Florida, but it was abandoned by 1561.
In 1565, the settlement of St. Augustine was established under the leadership of admiral and
A chordate is an animal constituting the phylum Chordata. During some period of their life cycle, chordates possess a notochord, a dorsal nerve cord, pharyngeal slits, an endostyle, a post-anal tail: these five anatomical features define this phylum. Chordates are bilaterally symmetric; the Chordata and Ambulacraria together form the superphylum Deuterostomia. Chordates are divided into three subphyla: Vertebrata. There are extinct taxa such as the Vetulicolia. Hemichordata has been presented as a fourth chordate subphylum, but now is treated as a separate phylum: hemichordates and Echinodermata form the Ambulacraria, the sister phylum of the Chordates. Of the more than 65,000 living species of chordates, about half are bony fish that are members of the superclass Osteichthyes. Chordate fossils have been found from as early as the Cambrian explosion, 541 million years ago. Cladistically, vertebrates - chordates with the notochord replaced by a vertebral column during development - are considered to be a subgroup of the clade Craniata, which consists of chordates with a skull.
The Craniata and Tunicata compose the clade Olfactores. Chordates form a phylum of animals that are defined by having at some stage in their lives all of the following anatomical features: A notochord, a stiff rod of cartilage that extends along the inside of the body. Among the vertebrate sub-group of chordates the notochord develops into the spine, in wholly aquatic species this helps the animal to swim by flexing its tail. A dorsal neural tube. In fish and other vertebrates, this develops into the spinal cord, the main communications trunk of the nervous system. Pharyngeal slits; the pharynx is the part of the throat behind the mouth. In fish, the slits are modified to form gills, but in some other chordates they are part of a filter-feeding system that extracts particles of food from the water in which the animals live. Post-anal tail. A muscular tail that extends backwards behind the anus. An endostyle; this is a groove in the ventral wall of the pharynx. In filter-feeding species it produces mucus to gather food particles, which helps in transporting food to the esophagus.
It stores iodine, may be a precursor of the vertebrate thyroid gland. There are soft constraints that separate chordates from certain other biological lineages, but are not part of the formal definition: All chordates are deuterostomes; this means. All chordates are based on a bilateral body plan. All chordates are coelomates, have a fluid filled body cavity called a coelom with a complete lining called peritoneum derived from mesoderm; the following schema is from the third edition of Vertebrate Palaeontology. The invertebrate chordate classes are from Fishes of the World. While it is structured so as to reflect evolutionary relationships, it retains the traditional ranks used in Linnaean taxonomy. Phylum Chordata †Vetulicolia? Subphylum Cephalochordata – Class Leptocardii Clade Olfactores Subphylum Tunicata – Class Ascidiacea Class Thaliacea Class Appendicularia Class Sorberacea Subphylum Vertebrata Infraphylum incertae sedis Cyclostomata Superclass'Agnatha' paraphyletic Class Myxini Class Petromyzontida or Hyperoartia Class †Conodonta Class †Myllokunmingiida Class †Pteraspidomorphi Class †Thelodonti Class †Anaspida Class †Cephalaspidomorphi Infraphylum Gnathostomata Class †Placodermi Class Chondrichthyes Class †Acanthodii Superclass Osteichthyes Class Actinopterygii Class Sarcopterygii Superclass Tetrapoda Class Amphibia Class Sauropsida Class Synapsida Craniates, one of the three subdivisions of chordates, all have distinct skulls.
They include the hagfish. Michael J. Benton commented that "craniates are characterized by their heads, just as chordates, or all deuterostomes, are by their tails". Most craniates are vertebrates; these consist of a series of bony or cartilaginous cylindrical vertebrae with neural arches that protect the spinal cord, with projections that link the vertebrae. However hagfish have incomplete braincases and no vertebrae, are therefore not regarded as vertebrates, but as members of the craniates, the group from which vertebrates are thought to have evolved; however the cladistic exclusion of hagfish from the vertebrates is controversial, as they ma
In biology, a species is the basic unit of classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individuals of the appropriate sexes or mating types can produce fertile offspring by sexual reproduction. Other ways of defining species include their karyotype, DNA sequence, behaviour or ecological niche. In addition, paleontologists use the concept of the chronospecies since fossil reproduction cannot be examined. While these definitions may seem adequate, when looked at more they represent problematic species concepts. For example, the boundaries between related species become unclear with hybridisation, in a species complex of hundreds of similar microspecies, in a ring species. Among organisms that reproduce only asexually, the concept of a reproductive species breaks down, each clone is a microspecies. All species are given a two-part name, a "binomial"; the first part of a binomial is the genus.
The second part is called the specific epithet. For example, Boa constrictor is one of four species of the genus Boa. None of these is satisfactory definitions, but scientists and conservationists need a species definition which allows them to work, regardless of the theoretical difficulties. If species were fixed and distinct from one another, there would be no problem, but evolutionary processes cause species to change continually, to grade into one another. Species were seen from the time of Aristotle until the 18th century as fixed kinds that could be arranged in a hierarchy, the great chain of being. In the 19th century, biologists grasped. Charles Darwin's 1859 book The Origin of Species explained how species could arise by natural selection; that understanding was extended in the 20th century through genetics and population ecology. Genetic variability arises from mutations and recombination, while organisms themselves are mobile, leading to geographical isolation and genetic drift with varying selection pressures.
Genes can sometimes be exchanged between species by horizontal gene transfer. Viruses are a special case, driven by a balance of mutation and selection, can be treated as quasispecies. Biologists and taxonomists have made many attempts to define species, beginning from morphology and moving towards genetics. Early taxonomists such as Linnaeus had no option but to describe what they saw: this was formalised as the typological or morphological species concept. Ernst Mayr emphasised reproductive isolation, but this, like other species concepts, is hard or impossible to test. Biologists have tried to refine Mayr's definition with the recognition and cohesion concepts, among others. Many of the concepts are quite similar or overlap, so they are not easy to count: the biologist R. L. Mayden recorded about 24 concepts, the philosopher of science John Wilkins counted 26. Wilkins further grouped the species concepts into seven basic kinds of concepts: agamospecies for asexual organisms biospecies for reproductively isolated sexual organisms ecospecies based on ecological niches evolutionary species based on lineage genetic species based on gene pool morphospecies based on form or phenotype and taxonomic species, a species as determined by a taxonomist.
A typological species is a group of organisms in which individuals conform to certain fixed properties, so that pre-literate people recognise the same taxon as do modern taxonomists. The clusters of variations or phenotypes within specimens would differentiate the species; this method was used as a "classical" method of determining species, such as with Linnaeus early in evolutionary theory. However, different phenotypes are not different species. Species named in this manner are called morphospecies. In the 1970s, Robert R. Sokal, Theodore J. Crovello and Peter Sneath proposed a variation on this, a phenetic species, defined as a set of organisms with a similar phenotype to each other, but a different phenotype from other sets of organisms, it differs from the morphological species concept in including a numerical measure of distance or similarity to cluster entities based on multivariate comparisons of a reasonably large number of phenotypic traits. A mate-recognition species is a group of sexually reproducing organisms that recognize one another as potential mates.
Expanding on this to allow for post-mating isolation, a cohesion species is the most inclusive population of individuals having the potential for phenotypic cohesion through intrinsic cohesion mechanisms. A further development of the recognition concept is provided by the biosemiotic concept of species. In microbiology, genes can move even between distantly related bacteria extending to the whole bacterial domain; as a rule of thumb, microbiologists have assumed that kinds of Bacteria or Archaea with 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequences more similar than 97% to each other need to be checked by DNA-DNA hybridisation to decide if they belong to the same species or not. This concept was narrowed in 2006 to a similarity of 98.7%. DNA-DNA hybri
Canis is a genus of the Canidae containing multiple extant species, such as wolves, jackals and dogs. Species of this genus are distinguished by their moderate to large size, their massive, well-developed skulls and dentition, long legs, comparatively short ears and tails; the generic name Canis means "dog" in Latin. The term "canine" comes from the adjective form, from which the term canine tooth is derived; the canine family has prominent canine teeth, used for killing their prey. The word canis is cognate to the Greek word kūon. Immature dogs are referred to as pups or puppies, whereas the young of other canines are known as cubs. A group of puppies from the same gestation period is referred to as a litter; the tribe Canini is the sister group to the true foxes, is represented today by two sub-tribes: Canina, which includes the genus Canis, as well as the dhole and the African wild dog. The critical features that mark the Canini as a monophyletic group include: the consistent enlargement of the frontal sinus accompanied by the correlated loss of the depression in the dorsal surface of the postorbital process.
The genus Canis was published in the 10th edition of Systema Naturae and included the dog-like carnivores: the domestic dog, wolves and jackals. All species within Canis are phylogenetically related with 78 chromosomes and can interbreed. In 1926, the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature in Opinion 91 included Genus Canis on its Official Lists and Indexes of Names in Zoology. In 1955, the ICZN's Direction 22 added Canis familiaris as the type specimen for genus Canis to the official list; the fossil record shows that feliforms and caniforms emerged within the clade Carnivoramorpha 43 million YBP. The caniforms included the fox-like genus Leptocyon whose various species existed from 24 million YBP before branching 11.9 million YBP into Vulpes and Canini. The jackal-sized Eucyon existed in North America from 10 million YBP and by the Early Pliocene about 6-5 million YBP the coyote-like Eucyon davisi invaded Eurasia. In North America it gave rise to early Canis which first appeared in the Miocene in south-western USA and Mexico.
By 5 million YBP the larger Canis lepophagus appeared in the same region. The canids that had emigrated from North America to Eurasia – Eucyon and Nyctereutes – were small to medium-sized predators during the Late Miocene and Early Pliocene but they were not the top predators; the position of the canids would change with the arrival of Canis to become a dominant predator across the Holarctic. The wolf-sized C. chihilensis appeared in northern China in the Mid-Pliocene around 4-3 million YBP. This was followed by an explosion of Canis evolution across Eurasia in the Early Pleistocene around 1.8 million YBP in what is referred to as the wolf event. It is associated with the formation of the mammoth continental glaciation. Canis spread to Europe in the forms of C. arnensis, C. etruscus, C. falconeri. One study found that the diversity of the Canis group decreased by the end of the Early Pleistocene to the Middle Pleistocene and was limited in Eurasia to the small wolves of the Canis mosbachensis–Canis variabilis group and the large hypercarnivorous Canis lycaonoides.
See further: Evolution of the canids Dentition relates to the arrangement of teeth in the mouth, with the dental notation for the upper-jaw teeth using the upper-case letters I to denote incisors, C for canines, P for premolars, M for molars, the lower-case letters i, c, p and m to denote the mandible teeth. Teeth are from the front of the mouth to the back. In carnivores, the upper premolar P4 and the lower molar m1 form the carnassials that are used together in a scissor-like action to shear the muscle and tendon of prey. Canids use their premolars for cutting and crushing except for the upper fourth premolar P4, only used for cutting, they use their molars for grinding except for the lower first molar m1 that has evolved for both cutting and grinding depending on the candid's dietary adaptation. On the lower carnassial the trigonid is used for slicing and the talonid is used for grinding; the ratio between the trigonid and the talonid indicates a carnivore's dietary habits, with a larger trigonid indicating a hypercarnivore and a larger talonid indicating a more omnivorous diet.
Because of its low variability, the length of the lower carnassial is used to provide an estimate of a carnivore's body size. A study of the estimated bite force at the canine teeth of a large sample of living and fossil mammalian predators, when adjusted for their body mass, found that for placental mammals the bite force at the canines was greatest in the extinct dire wolf, followed among the modern canids by the four hypercarnivores that prey on animals larger than themselves: the African hunting dog, the gray wolf, the dhole, the dingo; the bite force at the carnassials showed a similar trend to the canines. A predator's largest prey size is influenced by its biomechanical limits. There is little variance among female canids. Canids tend to live as monogamous pairs. Wolv
The Sonoran Desert is a North American desert which covers large parts of the Southwestern United States in Arizona and California and of Northwestern Mexico in Sonora, Baja California, Baja California Sur. It is the hottest desert in Mexico, it has an area of 260,000 square kilometers. The western portion of the United States–Mexico border passes through the Sonoran Desert. In phytogeography, the Sonoran Desert is within the Sonoran Floristic Province of the Madrean Region in southwestern North America, part of the Holarctic Kingdom of the northern Western Hemisphere; the desert contains a variety of unique and endemic plants and animals, such as the saguaro and organ pipe cactus. The Sonoran desert wraps around the northern end of the Gulf of California, from Baja California Sur, north through much of Baja California, excluding the central northwest mountains and Pacific west coast, through southeastern California and southwestern and southern Arizona to western and central parts of Sonora.
It is bounded on the west by the Peninsular Ranges, which separate it from the California chaparral and woodlands and Baja California Desert ecoregions of the Pacific slope. To the north in California and northwest Arizona, the Sonoran Desert transitions to the colder-winter, higher-elevation Mojave, Great Basin, Colorado Plateau deserts. To the east and southeast, the deserts transition to the coniferous Arizona Mountains forests and Sierra Madre and Sierra Madre Occidental pine–oak forests at higher elevations. To the south the Sonoran–Sinaloan transition subtropical dry forest is the transition zone from the Sonoran Desert to the tropical dry forests of the Mexican state of Sinaloa; the desert's sub-regions include the Colorado Desert of southeastern California. In the 1957 publication Vegetation of the Sonoran Desert, Forrest Shreve divided the Sonoran Desert into seven regions according to characteristic vegetation: Lower Colorado Valley, Arizona Upland, Plains of Sonora, Foothills of Sonora, Central Gulf Coast, Vizcaíno Region, Magdalena Region.
Many ecologists now consider Shreve's Vizcaíno and Magdalena regions, which lie on the western side of the Baja California Peninsula, to be a separate ecoregion, the Baja California Desert. Within the southern Sonoran Desert in Mexico is found the Gran Desierto de Altar, with the Reserva de la Biosfera el Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar, extending 2,000 square kilometers of desert and mountainous regions; the Pinacate National Park includes the only active erg dune region in North America. The nearest city to the Reserva de la Biosfera el Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar is Puerto Peñasco in the state of Sonora, Mexico. Sub-regionsSonoran Desert sub-regions include: Colorado Desert Gran Desierto de Altar Lechuguilla Desert Tonopah Desert Yuha Desert Yuma Desert The Sonoran Desert includes 60 mammal species, 350 bird species, 20 amphibian species, over 100 reptile species, 30 native fish species, over 1000 native bee species, more than 2,000 native plant species; the Sonoran Desert area southeast of Tucson and near the Mexican border is vital habitat for the only population of jaguars living within the United States.
The Colorado River Delta was once an ecological hotspot within the Sonoran desert, fueled by the flow of fresh water through the Colorado river in this otherwise dry area, but the delta has been reduced in extent due to the damming and use of the river upstream. Many plants not only thrive in the harsh conditions of the Sonoran Desert. Many have evolved to have specialized adaptations to the desert climate; the Sonoran Desert's biseasonal rainfall pattern results in more plant species than any other desert in the world. The Sonoran Desert includes plant genera and species from the agave family, palm family, cactus family, legume family, numerous others; the Sonoran is the only place in the world. Cholla, hedgehog, prickly pear, nightblooming cereus, organ pipe are other taxa of cacti found here. Cactus provides food and homes to many desert mammals and birds, with showy flowers in reds, pinks and whites, blooming most from late March through June, depending on the species and seasonal temperatures.
Creosote bush and bur sage dominate valley floors. Indigo bush and Mormon tea are other shrubs. Wildflowers of the Sonoran Desert include desert sand verbena, desert sunflower, evening primroses. Ascending from the valley up bajadas, various subtrees such as velvet mesquite, palo verde, desert ironwood, desert willow, crucifixion thorn are common, as well as multi-stemmed ocotillo. Shrubs found at higher elevations include whitethorn acacia, fairy duster, jojoba. In the desert subdivisions found on Baja California, cardon cactus, elephant tree, boojum tree occur; the California fan palm is found in the Colorado Desert section of the Sonoran Desert, the only native palm in California, among many other introduced Arecac