Great Basin Naturalist


Four decades of the author's records indicate that Spaniacris deserticola (Bruner) is confined within the periphery of the Colorado Desert. It is usually found, near or within a few hundred feet of sea level, marking the shore line of ancient Lake Cahuilla (except for the Dale Lake record). The preferred host plant is Coldenia palmeri growing on the lower fringes of bajadas, with C. plicata on drift sand being second in preference. Spaniacris can tolerate sand and rock temperatures of 60 C. (believed to be a maximum for Colorado Desert life). Mating takes place at that and lower temperatures. When they are disturbed while on the tops of host plants, their flight is low and direct and of short duration, and they come to rest on the torrid soil for long periods of time. The female, much larger than the male, can sustain the male in flight while mating. The study verified spatial longevity of Spaniacris at Indio, California, after approximately 70 years and for the Kane Springs area after 52 years.