Xinjiang desert life

A quick post with some nice pictures of the wildlife of Xinjiang. Much is similar to that of the dinosaur sites at Bayan Mandahu though while the environment is similar and the vegetation comparable in density and type, there were far fewer animals of all kinds. Insects and other inverts were generally rarer and dominated by just a few species.  Birds and especially lizards and snakes were also much less common. However there were some real gems and here are a few of them. (Above, female [huge] and male [tiny] nephila).

Wolf track. These are apparently often heard but not seen. We didn’t hear or see them, but tracks were in great abundance, some very close to our camp. I also saw, but failed to photograph, desert hare – they were rather too quick for me, as was a rather large eagle.

My first solifuge.


Large cricket / katydid (not sure how you tell them apart). These are common at Bayan, but limited to 2 colour morphs, I saw at least 5 different ones here.

Mating grasshoppers.

And the crowning glory, a jerboa. Awake and active in the early morning, I was able to get withing about 6 feet of it, so even with a puny lens got some very good close-ups. It was surprisingly tame for a wild animal that is so prone to predation (as numerous owl pellets testified).

5 Responses to “Xinjiang desert life”


  1. 1 Albertonykus 13/08/2010 at 4:05 pm

    Nice arthropods and cute jerboa!

  2. 2 Peter Falkingham 13/08/2010 at 5:25 pm

    This may be a distant memory by now, but where all of the cracks in the photo associated with the wolf print, or were they pre-existing?

    • 3 David Hone 14/08/2010 at 9:33 am

      The whole landscape was like that – these are cracks from the sediment drying out, not the passage of the animal. I’ve lots more photos of these which are destined for another post at some point.

  3. 4 mattvr 13/08/2010 at 7:40 pm

    The Jerboa is great. Hope you find heaps of new specimens out there!


  1. 1 Xinjiang fieldwork report « Dave Hone’s Archosaur Musings Trackback on 14/08/2010 at 2:32 pm

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