Discovering the Desert / Gaining Understanding

Sidewinder (Crotalus cerastes)

Sidewinder (Crotalus cerastes)

Animalia, Chordata, Reptilia, Squamata, Viperidae

The Sidewinder's (Crotalus cerrastes) common name refers to its method of movement, which involves thrusting its body diagonally in a series of flat S- or J-shaped curves. Motion studies reveal this movement is highly efficient at moving over loose sand and desert slopes. A sidewinder's top speed can be up to 18 mph.

“Wet” specimens are preserved in fluid, usually denatured alcohol. They retain the 3-D quality of the animal, and preserve soft tissues and DNA for future research. They are used in DNA sequencing studies to detect changes in a species over time.

Joshua Tree National Park, JOTR 17122