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Monsoon storms bring explosion of plants, bugs and animals to Tucson

Posted at 4:34 PM, Sep 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-07 20:24:30-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN9) — Everywhere you look the desert has turned green.

“Boom and bust is exactly how I'd describe our ecosystem,” said University of Arizona School of Natural Resources and the Environment Assistant Professor Michael Bogan.

While most monsoons cause some green-up to the scenery, the rainfall this season has caused an explosion of new growth. Some plants, like Morning Glory Vines, may have waited ten years as seeds for their moment to shine.

“As soon as they got the first signal from the first rains,” said Bogan. “They started to grow, and then when we got more rain that was their clue to grow up and up.”

The Zoologist says more plants mean more insects. But that should not necessarily bug you.

“The moths and the flies, the things that are annoying people now, those are all a food source for species people do like.”

Bogan says native bats and birds are all benefiting right now. Many reptile and amphibian species had also been patiently waiting underground for a wet monsoon.

“That first real heavy rain in July told all the toads underground to come up and then subsequent rains woke up more and more toads. This is probably the best toad year in Tucson in the last 15 or 20 years.”

Bogan says this big of a boom doesn’t come around every year so try to keep that in mind if you’re not a fan of things that buzz or bite.

“I hope that people are enjoying the greenery, that they are tolerating the insects, knowing that so many other species are benefiting from the bugs we have this year.”