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Desert Broom Arthropods

Last updated about 7 years ago

Desert Broom (Baccharis sarothroides) is a large, woody shrub native to the Sonoran Desert. It is common along washes and roadsides and in other disturbed areas. In the summer and fall, these plants provide great hotspots of arthropod activity. During the monsoon season, many beetles, wasps, and flies visit desert broom to feed on sap oozing from its stems. Later in the fall when the plants begin to flower, bees and butterflies join the party, many of them not only feeding but also mating on the desert broom bushes. The abundance of sap, pollen, and nectar feeders also attracts great numbers of predators including mantids, assassin bugs, jumping spiders, crab spiders, and orb weavers who position their webs strategically among desert broom branches. It's a great spectacle to behold! If you live in the Sonoran Desert or come for a visit, be sure not to miss it.

If you have images or videos of arthropods associated with Desert Broom, please upload them to the EOL Flickr or VIMEO groups.

For more information about Sonoran Desert Wildlife, see Saguaro National Park BioBlitz Resources

Questions, comments? Join the Saguaro National Park BioBlitz Community and participate in discussions.

Some References

  • Goeden, R. D., D. H. Headrick, and J. A. Teerink. 1993. Life history and descriptions of immature stages of Tephritis arizonaensis Quisenberry (Diptera: Tephritidae) on Baccharis sarothroides Gray in southern California. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 95: 210-222.
  • Goldsmith, S. K. 1987. The mating system and alternative reproductive behaviors of Dendrobias mandibularis (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 20(2):111-115.
  • Goldsmith, S. K. 1989. Feeding ecology and the mating system of Stenaspis verticalis arizonicus Casey (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 62(4):528-533.
  • Goldsmith, S. K. and J. Alcock. 1993. The mating chances of small males of the cerambycid beetleTrachyderes mandibularis differ in different environments (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae). Journal of Insect Behavior 6(3):351-360.
  • Headrick, D. H. and R. D. Goeden. 1993. Life history and description of immature stages of Aciurina thoracica (Diptera: Tephritidae) on Baccharis sarothroides in southern California. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 86: 68-79.
  • Meyer, R. P. 1979. Notes on insects associated with desert broom (Baccharis sarothroides Gray) (Compositae) in southeastern Arizona. The Southwestern Naturalist 24(4):603-612.

Icon: Polistes major by Margarethe Brummermann