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Deserts

Sahara Desert is the largest hot desert in the world. It is in North Africa spreading the entire north western region across 9 countries. It is one of the harshest ecosystems on this earth! The daytime temperature can rise to over 45 degrees Celsius or 113 degrees F. The nights are extremely cold. Strong hot winds blow across the desert carrying sand from one place to another. The dust storms are very common in the hot deserts. They get hardly 10 inches of rain. One third of the earth's surface are covered by deserts.

Producers: The Sahara desert food chain begins with the plants. In spite of the extreme heat and less rainfall there are many plants and animals that live here. The plants are called producers as they do photosynthesis and thus prepare food . There are many kinds of plants in the desert. They are the date palms,  Cacti, thorn acacia, creosote bush, sage brush, desert milkweed, desert willow, desert tobacco and many annuals.

Primary consumers or Herbivores: In the Sahara desert food chain the next level are the herbivores which eat only plants. The plants are eaten by  primary consumers called herbivores. These are small mammals like kangaroo rat , ground squirrels, certain insects, mounflou (a wild sheep), Dorcus gazelle, and Arabian camels.

 

Sahara Desert Food Web

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Carnivores : 

Secondary consumers or Carnivores

In the Sahara desert food chain next level are the carnivores .These are lizards,snakes like rattle snake, side winders; some mammals like mongoose, arachnids like tarantula and scorpions

The Sahara desert food chain also includes large predators like striped hyena, sand cat, fox , hawks and eagles.Some animals eat both plants and animals. These are called omnivores. Some are called scavengers as they feed on dead animals.

Finally there are decomposers like desert mushrooms and bacteria and worms which decompose the dead animals and their excreta.

Flora

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1) Includes succulents such as Cacti and Euphorbias, which can store water in their tissues.

2) Trees with long spreading roots such as Acacia, Prosopis, Phoenix (dates) are found.

3) Ephemerals (short lived) such as Boerhaavia repens are seen only during rainy season.

Sahara Desert Food Chain

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A typical food chain:

A typical  Sahara desert food chain consists of the date palm (producer) which produces the date fruits. These date fruits when the fall down are eaten by the kangaroo rats ( herbivore ). As the kangroo rat is running away to safety it is caught and eaten by the sandy cat  a (carnivore).

The sandy cat digests the rat and leaves its droppings in the sand. Soon the decomposers in the sand, the insects, bacteria and worms decompose the droppings and return the nutrients back to the soil for the date palms to absorb and grow.

All these animals and plants of the deserts are very well adapted to live successfully in the extreme climatic conditions.


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