Common trail insects of Big Bend National Park

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Title: Common trail insects of Big Bend National Park
Author: So, Tanya M.
Abstract: Big Bend National Park , the United States' twenty -seventh national park , was established by Congress on June 12 , 1944 , setting aside 708 ,221 acres of desert and mountain terrain to protect for future generations (Jameson 1996 ) . Selected for its dramatic scenery , geologic features , and unique plant and animal communities , it also provides the best example of Chihuahuan Desert ecology in the United States (Maxwell 1968 , Wauer 1973 ) . Although the Chihuahuan Desert is the largest of the three creosotebush dominated deserts in North America , it is also the least understood (Brown 1994 ) . Entomologists estimate over 5 ,000 species of insects occur within Big Bend National Park . Yet only about 4 ,000 have been identified , and only a handful of the many orders have been studied with any thoroughness (Van Pelt 1995 , Wauer 1973 ) . The first large , general study of insects in Big Bend National Park was made by R . H . Baker in 1937 as a background study for the proposed national park . Subsequent studies have been confined mostly to specific orders , families , or genera with the exception of Van Pelt's 1995 armotated inventory of insects in the park (Van Pelt 1995 ) . However , this work is based on secondary sources and has no insect descriptions or photographs . In fact , with the exception of Roland Wauer's recent Butterflies of West Texas Parks and Preserves , there have been no field guides on the insects of Big Bend Nafional Park (Wauer 2002 ) . The purpose of the present study is to provide an easy -to -use field guide for the layperson as an aid in identifying commonly encountered insects in the park . It focuses on some of the higher -profile , "charismatic ," or easily noficed insects that a casual visitor stopping at highly frequented areas within the park is likely to see . In addition to aiding in insect identification , this guide is intended to be educational in providing information on insect distribution , habitat , and behavior . In helping people become more familiar with the world of desert invertebrates , 1 hope that this guide will foster a broader ecological understanding of desert environments and ultimately encourage conservation of our natural resources .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2346 /13195
Date: 2002-05


So, Tanya M. Common trail insects of Big Bend National Park. Master's thesis, Texas Tech University. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2346 /13195 .

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