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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an animal that inhabits sandy areas. Psammophiles are among the most characteristic representatives of desert fauna.

Unique conditions of existence are created by the properties of the sand: its friability and mobility, its rapid heating by day and abrupt cooling at night, the dryness of its upper layers, and the concentration of moisture at certain depths. As a result of these conditions, psammophiles have a number of typical features. Their capacity for rapid motion (running, flying, jumping) is an adaptation important in food procurement and defense from enemies; it also enables the animals to gain access to watering places that are separated by considerable distances. Some psammophiles can rapidly bury themselves in the sand (Phrynocephalus, sand boa), and some can even move in it (Polyphaga). All psammophiles are xerophytes.

The most typical psammophiles are the beach flea Sarcopsylla penetrans, darkling beetles, Polyphaga, Solifugae, spiders, scorpions, certain Eremias, Phrynocephalus, the sand boa, the long-clawed ground squirrel, the jird Meriones meridianus, a number of jerboas, and the sand cat.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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