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Illustrated by Margaret Herring

The Burns Reserve hosts a diverse assemblage of animals.  An estimated 153 vertebrate species, including two that are federally listed, either live on the reserve or pass through on their migrations.
 

Invertebrates: Research is focusing on invertebrates at Burns, including a recent study of assemblages of herbivorous beetles and their effect on plant reproduction.  Ongoing, on-site sampling of moths has identified over 150 species.  Other conspicuous insects include a wide variety of bees and wasps; the tarantula hawk, a large pompilid wasp, dines on tarantulas.  Ant lion larvae hide in sand traps under boulder ledges.  Stink beetles and a dozen species of ants are abundant.
 

Reptiles: Many animals seek shade to escape the day's heat; western fence lizards and side-blotched lizards prefer to bask in the sun, lying exposed on the rocks, where they are stalked by collared lizards.  The yucca night lizard is active after dark in the reserve's pinon-juniper habitats and Joshua trees.  The speckled rattlesnake and three other species of rattlers hunt throughout the reserve.  Bullsnakes and patch-nose snakes, though secretive, are prevalent.  The coast horned lizard is found here, along with its more common cousin, the desert horned lizard.

The desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizi), although less typical at this elevation, is known to live and breed on the reserve.  This species is both state and federally listed as threatened.  An ambitious tortoise-monitoring program at Joshua Tree National Park, which uses the latest global positioning system (GPS) technology, could serve as a model for parallel reserve-based studies.

Birds: The songs of nesting birds signal spring in the desert.  Scott's orioles, ash-throated flycatchers, and other migrants join the chorus of such resident species as black-throated sparrows, canyon wrens, and poorwill.  Year-round reserve residents include mountain and Gambel's quails, roadrunners, and great horned owls.

Mammals: The reserve hosts at least 26 mammal species.  Bats may be underrecorded; a recent survey at Joshua Tree National Park documented eight bat species, including two proposed for listing: Townsend's western big-eared bat (Plecotus townsendi) and the California mastiff bat (Eumops perotis).  In the 1970s, the reserve's sympatric populations of desert and dusky-footed woodrats were the subject of extensive research.  Recent work has focused on the grasshopper mouse (Onychomys torridus), a carnivorous rodent and species of special concern.  Pocket gophers, pocket mice, and kangaroo rats are well represented; coyotes and bobcats make their own use of this site's diverse rodent population.

Illustrated by Margaret Herring

Click here for A LIST OF MAMMALS OF THE BURNS PINON RIDGE RESERVE

Click here for A LIST OF REPTILES OF THE BURNS PINON RIDGE RESERVE

Click here for A LIST OF BIRDS OF THE BURNS PINON RIDGE RESERVE

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Copyright 2002
University of California, Natural Reserve System
   
Last Updated 10/03/02