Sunday, September 28, 2014

Our August Trip to the Algodones Dunes

It's been a little over a month since our trip to the Algodones Dunes, about 7.5 miles south of Glamis. I finally have a chance to report some of the things seen on that trip.

There had been moderately heavy rain prior to our arrival, and mud was extensive still. The areas about 8 miles south were off limits to camping as of this year, so we camped just north of that area, in a small Palo Verde pocket on the east side of the main dune system.

Similar fauna to what we observed in 2013 were seen, with some new invertebrates.

Hydrophilus triangularis, a first for me at the dunes. This is a large beetle - over an inch long.

Weevil, still wearing an outfit of dried mud from the rains.

Eburia falli, a nice cerambycid of the dunes. I have seen this species on several occasions there in the past, as well.

Initially I thought that this was Oxygrylius ruginosus, as opposed to Tomarus gibbosus, which is so common west of the deserts. But the apex of the clypeus seems to have two small points, instead of one, so it may be Tomarus. Thanks to Art Evans for pointing out the difference. These beetles were extremely numerous here in the dunes this year in this location.

These beetles liked burrowing. Here's one, taking advantage of the soft sand.

MANY showed up at the black light sheets.

These field crickets were also present in very high numbers.
These little rove beetles were also EXTREMELY abundant.

A sand roach, probably Arenivaga sp.

Scorpions were out in numbers after dark. This one nabbed one of the small dynastines...

...then it snagged one of the ubiquitous crickets! If it had a larder somewhere, it must have been full at the end of this night!

A BIG velvet mite - Dinothrombium sp. A couple were seen near one light, ambling along like fuzzy teddy bears.

I have seen these very pale asilids at the dunes before. This one was determined by Eric Fisher from this photo as Efferia candida, a common species of the Colorado Desert in early summer.

We found a Sidewinder half buried in the sand. They will bury themselves completely with only the eyes protruding. This behavior may explain the sudden appearance of the sidewinder by my leg last year. I probably knelt by a buried one (as Gary suggested).

This is what the Sidewinder's spot looked like in the morning (it never moved over the several hours of early evening while we were active).


  1. The beetle abundance Is gong down fast now. Still nice to get out!

  2. Yes - the birds are a nice bonus in the cool season!