/ Modified jul 9, 2013 3:27 p.m.

AZ Sky Island Region: One of Most Diverse in US

Home to a variety of organisms, such as beetles, scorpions and crickets.

(VIDEO: azpm)

Southeastern Arizona is also known as the Sky Island region, one of the most biologically diverse areas in North America.

Sky Island, which includes the Santa Rita Mountains, is a hot bed for arthropods, said Wendy Moore, assistant professor and curator at the UA's Department of Entomology.

Arthropods are organisms that have exoskeletons; their skeleton is outside of their body, rather than inside as is the case with humans and other animals. Some local examples include beetles, scorpions, tarantulas and centipedes. Shrimps and Crabs are also included. They are the most diverse organisms in the planet, Moore said.

"We live in a spectacular place," she said. In America there is one continuous line of mountains that go from Canada to South America. It is, oftentimes, referred to as "the spine of the continent," Moore said. It only has one break, and it is in Arizona and a part of Northern Mexico.

Diverse arthropods emerge when others evolve and adapt in the isolation of Sky Island areas. They become their own species or subspecies.

Moore focuses on studying beetles. Her research has taken her to South Africa, Madagascar, among other countries.

Ashley Grove is an intern for Arizona Public Media and a journalism student at the University of Arizona

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