The goal of this section is to supply accurate data for animals of the Chihuahuan Desert Region. As used here, the region includes not only the desert proper, but also highlands surrounded by the desert and those immediately peripheral to the desert. The lack of sharp boundaries precludes an entirely objective faunal treatment—two people could easily come up with different lists of animals for the region.
As in any undertaking of this magnitude, this is a long-term work in progress. Amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals with data (even if only a skeleton outline of relationships) have active links on the index pages, whereas those not yet treated lack links. Except for the amphibians and reptiles, many animals of the region are not represented even by name; these will be added as time progresses. Also, there currently is no material on the invertebrates nor on the fishes.
Images of animals of the Chihuahuan Desert Region will be added as they become available. In the meantime, a link to an image on another site will be added in some cases. Such a link will occur after the common name and is an abbreviation of the site pointed to. To return to the Chihuahuan Desert pages after visiting off-site, use the "Back" button of your browser. There also may be additional links to images and data within the species accounts themselves. Where images are available on the Chihuahuan Desert pages, the symbol § precedes the scientific name.
A limited number of pictures cannot characterize most species, and the images on these pages should be viewed as generalizations. All populations possess intrapopulational variation (gender, age, genetic, seasonal, etc.), and many species show geographic variation.
Obtaining quality images of animals that can be published on the web is difficult since most such images are copyrighted (including those displayed on this site). Especial thanks then go to the Digital Library Project of the University of California, Berkeley, who has made numerous biological images available without charge to nonprofit organizations, asking only that credit be given to the photographer and the copyright holder. Most of the mammal images used here from the Digital Library Project are copyrighted by the California Academy of Science and are part of the CalPhotos Database—the Academy has our well-deserved thanks. Please respect the intellectual rights of these entities and of our own writers and photographers by not utilizing any of the web-site's material except under the conditions given in our use guidelines.
Distribution maps record the approximate historical distribution of the animals. Some species, such as the Gray Wolf, no longer occur throughout their historic ranges. Range maps are, in part, hypotheses. That is, the range limits are mapped according to the best educated guesses of the plotter, who may use a knowledge of physical geography and ecology to estimate where the true range ends. The small scale maps used here are generalizations mostly based on the work of others.
Distribution maps have another characteristic often not appreciated by the novice. A species most often is limited to areas of suitable ecological conditions within the boundaries of the mapped area, and the actually occupied areas may make up only a few percent (or less) of the total area shown.