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The lovely sight of the monarch butterfly’s trademark black, white, and orange fluttering wings is becoming more and more rare in Nevada’s skies. According to The Nature Conservancy—an organization involved with monarch research efforts—an explanation for the insect’s disappearance in the West may be due to the elimination of milkweed.
Mountain goats are known for their exceptional agility. They can climb almost 1,500 vertical feet in 20 minutes. Their hooves are soft and curved, acting like suction cups on steep rocky terrain.
During the breeding or strutting ritual, male sage grouse puff out their bright yellow throat sacs—which are bordered with white feathers—flare their sharply pointed tail feathers, and strut in an impressive display around the lekking ground in an attempt to attract females. The breeding season typically begins in mid-March and lasts through mid-May.
Pronghorn are the fastest land animals in North America. Adults have been clocked at 55 mph and may reach 60 mph for short spurts. They are considered the second-fastest land animal behind cheetahs; however, they can sustain high speeds longer than the big cats.
Native to Nevada, the American pika (Ochotona princeps) is a small, diurnal mammal that has adapted to the cold climate in high-elevation boulder fields and alpine meadows in the mountains of the American West.
A genetic study suggests that Nevada has both subgroups of blue grouse (sooty in the west and dusky in the central and eastern portions of the state). The 2012-13 blue grouse hunting season will be the first time that Nevada has classified its blue grouse into “dusky” and “sooty” categories.
The desert (Nelson) bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni)—Nevada’s state animal—is a subspecies of bighorn sheep that occurs in mountain ranges mainly in the southwest. The elk (Cervus elaphus) is native to North America and eastern Asia and is one of the largest species of deer in the world.
The Red Rock Audubon Society, based in Las Vegas, in conjunction with the Pahrump Volunteers, has begun to study the burrowing owl with the help of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Pahrump. The study is focused on breeding habits using what Christiana Manville, a biologist with the USFWS, calls citizen science.
The rainbow trout is native to rivers and lakes of North America, west of the Rocky Mountains, but its reputation as a hard-fighting (they have a tendency to leap repeatedly when hooked) and tasty game fish has led to its introduction throughout the world. The strain of rainbow trout native to Nevada is known as the redband trout.
The chukar was first introduced in Nevada in 1935 when the Nevada Fish and Game Commission released a total of 289 birds in nine counties. Currently, the state’s chukar population is estimated at more than 500,000.
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