Desert spickle

The desert spickle sucks nectar from cactus flowers through its long snout. For such an ungainly little animal it can run surprisingly swiftly over the desert.

The desert spickle, Fistulostium setosum, a little, long-snouted geomyoid from the deserts of North America.

Among the thorns found in the vertical grooves of cactus stems lives the desert spickle, its narrow body covered by spines that are partly for defense and partly for camouflage among the cactus thorns. It has no teeth and subsists entirely on the nectar of cactus flowers which it drinks through its long snout. When collecting nectar it often picks up pollen on its head. The pollen is eventually deposited on the stigmas of other flowers, thus effecting the crosspollination of the cacti. Living almost solely on nectar, the spickle's digestive system is a very primitive affair, since nectar is very easily broken down.

Predators of the spickle include long-legged quails.