MBGnet's Virtual 
Desert Biome

Hot Deserts

The main form of precipitation in a hot desert is rain. But that's only 10 inches or less of rain per year.

Hot Deserts of the World
Name Location Size Physical
Examples of
Plants &
Special Facts
Arabian Arabian Peninsula 900,000 mi2
2,300,000 km2
Covered almost entirely by sand; has some of the most extensive stretches of sand dunes in the world. acacia, oleander, saltbush

desert locust, dromedary, camel, gazelle, lizard, jackal, oryx

Nomadic Bedouin tribes have travelled through the Arabian Desert for thousands of years.
Australian - Great Sandy, Victoria, Simpson, Gibson, and Sturt Australia 1/3 of Australia - 890,00 mi2
2,300,000 km2
Great Sandy, Victoria, and Simpson are sandy; Gibson and Sturt are stony. acacia, casuarina tree, eucalyptus, saltbush, spinifex grass

blue-tongued lizard, dingo, fat-tailed mouse, kangaroo, marsupial mole, rabbit-eared bandicoot, sand goanna, spinifex hopping mouse, throny devil

Aborigines have lived in the Australian deserts for over 30,000 years.
Chihuahuan North Central Mexico and Southwestern United States (Arizona, New Mexico, Texas) 175,000 mi2
455,000 km2
High plateau covered by stony areas and sandy soil. Many mountains and mesas. cacti, chihuahuan flax, creosote bush, lechuguilla, mesquite, mexican gold poppy

coyote, diamondback rattlesnake, javelina, kangaroo rat, roadrunner

Largest North American desert. Big Bend National Park located here; more species of birds seen in Big Bend than in any other National Park in the U.S.
Kalahari Southwestern Africa 200,000 mi2
520,000 km2
Covered by sand dunes and gravel plains. acacia, aloe

gazelle, gerbil, ground squirrel, hyena, jackel, sandgrouse, springbok

Bushman have lived in the Kalahari for 20,000 years.
Mojave Southwestern United States (Arizona, California, Nevada) 25,000 mi2
65,000 km2
Covered by sandy soil, gravelly pavement, and salt flats. creosote bush, desert sand verbena, joshua tree, mesquite

bighorn sheep, chuckwalla, coyote, jackrabbit, sidewinder, zebra-tailed lizard

Death Valley located in this desert.
Sahara Northern Africa 3,500,000 mi2
9,100,000 km2
Covered by mountains, rocky areas, gravel plains, salt flats, huge areas of dunes. Areas in the central sometimes get no rain for years at a time. acacia, grasses, tamarisks

addax antelope, dorcas gazelle, fennec fox, horned viper, jackal, jerboa, sandgrouse, spiny-yailed lizard

Largest desert in the world. Fewer than 2 million inhabitants (mostly nomads such as the Tuareg). Crossed by Arab caravans since the 10th century.
Sonoran Southwestern United States (Arizona, California) and parts of Mexico (Baja Peninsula, Sonora) 120,000 mi2
312,000 km2
Covered by sand, soil, and gravelly pavement. Gets more rain than any other North American desert. agave, coulter's globemallow, creosote bush, desert mariposa lily, mesquite, ocotillo, paloverde, saguaro

coati, elf owl, gila monster, kangaroo rat, pack rat, roadrunner, sidewinder, tarantula

Most complex animal-plant community of any desert.

One of the most beautiful deserts in the world.

Thar India and Pakistan 77,000 mi2
200,000 km2
Majority of desert covered by sand dunes; rest covered by gravel plains acacia, euphorbias, grasses, shrubs

black buck, dromedary camel, great Indian bustard, Indian spiny-tailed lizard, jackel, sandgrouse

Small villages of ten to twenty houses scattered throughout the Thar.