Like most places on Earth, Grand Canyon National Park has far more species of invertebrates than any other animal group. While these animals do not have skeletons, many (including insects and arachnids) have hard exoskeletons, and they are very abundant- 1443 species of invertebrates have been identified inside the park, and there are certainly many more species waiting to be identified. Though many people dismiss insects as "pests" or "disgusting" these creatures play important roles in the ecosystems of the Grand Canyon. Many species such as the Arizona carpenter bee and the rare Kaibab swallowtail butterfly pollinate flowering plants, while many beetles and ants decompose dead material. Predatory invertebrates feed on other invertebrate species, and all invertebrates are prey for birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.
From Arizona bark scorpions (Centruroides sculpturatus) and tarantulas to Arizona's state butterfly, the two-tailed swallowtail (Papilio multicaudata), you can always find something moving if you look closely. Study and observe these tiny animals, but do not disturb or harm them.
One of the most venomous animals in the park, the bark scorpion is a small animal that only grows to 2.5 inches (6.4cm) long.
The Grand Canyon is home to 292 species of butterflies and moths. These colorful creatures are important pollinators in the park.
The Grand Canyon is home to 179 species of beetles, and some of the most commonly seen are the darkling beetles. Members of the family Tenebrionidae, these large, dark beetles are found throughout the Grand Canyon
The largest spiders in the world, tarantulas are predators that call the Grand Canyon home, feeding on insects, small lizards, and small rodents.
Growing up to 2 inches (5mm) long, these colorful wasps hunt tarantulas to feed their larvae.
Last updated: February 13, 2017