I'm currently about halfway through Dune and I'm curious about the speculative ecology therein. I'm going to disregard the Sandworms/Sandtrout because (a) they're stated to not be native to Arrakis and have desertified it after being introduced, and (b) they are not real (to my knowledge).
However, many of the species of Arrakis are real Terran species... native to one specific part of earth. The saguaro, the barrel cactus, the creosote bush, and the kit fox are all named and are certainly native to the American Southwest; the desert hawk, desert owl, and jumping-mouse, and bat are all vague categories that, while not exclusive to the American Southwest, could describe its species: any number of hawks and owls, some sort of kangaroo rat, and one of any number of bats.
So, here's my question:
- Why are there earthly animals and plants on Arrakis (if they are indeed the same as the animals they share a name with)?
- Why do these earthly organisms all call one specific desert home (as opposed to organisms from the Arabian desert, Sahara Desert, Great Red Center, etc.)
- If these organisms were introduced by humans (which seems reasonable given they are likely from Earth)... why? Why introduce commercially irrelevant species that don't play a role in the Spice trade, seemingly the only reason outside forces care about Arrakis? And if they were for beautification, or a terraforming scheme like Kynes', why not introduce more varied desert species that might thrive on Arrakis or simply be more beautiful?
Curious if this has an in-text answer I haven't reached yet or is simply a random ecological detail of the variety Herbert seems to so love.