in the Spring of 2009 Gorbunov came out on the Ustyurt plateau – studied flora and fauna of the mysterious gypsum desert in the West of Kazakhstan. In particular, looking for the fleshy leaves of the desert perelistnite young caterpillars sailboat Helios. Was planning then to describe the beauties of butterflies with pale yellow patterned wings as a new subspecies, which are twice smaller than usual. However, from the collected caterpillars hatched quite different insects, small gray moths, like the moth. And with their classification immediately had problems – descriptions of Lepidoptera like the scientist was never found. Not helped even the largest Russian expert from St. Petersburg.
Soon, “unidentified flying objects” became interested in the Finnish colleagues. For several years, together with Pavel Gorbunov they studied the habitat, lifestyle and DNA of the amazing insects. It turned out that the unnamed moths belong to a relict species and is able to adapt to the hot climate of Ustyurt plateau. Long ovipositor helps them to lay eggs deep in the soil, and they lie there for a long time, waiting until the proper hour of birth, and the caterpillars build light tight cocoon for protection from the sun.
Pavel Gorbunov modestly claims that his role is not so big: he “only” found the ancient moths. Much harder, he said, to figure out the family ties of these anyone not like butterflies.
– the Finns did a great job and proved that a family of the Lepidoptera of the Ustyurt nature reserve science was not previously known. Logically, in catalogs butterfly will be included under the name Ustyurtia – ustyurte. Description of two species of the family ustyurte recently published in the international journal Insect Systematics&Evolution, – said Paul.
by the Way, such discoveries don’t happen often – once every few decades. For example, last up to sturtii “treasure” – a new family of Lepidoptera of Eurasia – was discovered by scientists from St. Petersburg 30 years ago.
Pavel Gorbunov has been studying butterflies and the environment in which they live, since the late eighties. By the way, research clearly prove the theory of climate change – warming is really happening, which confirms the shift of distribution ranges of plants and insects.
– Some species are disappearing from their usual habitats, and others take their place. For example, lentochnykh Camille butterfly with brown-white wings now expanding its range in the Middle and South Urals. However, these processes are often cyclical, he said.
Pavel Gorbunov is a native of Serov graduated from the biology Department, USU, at the Institute of ecology of plants and animals, Ural branch of RAS since 1986, researcher of the laboratory of birds and terrestrial invertebrates. Explored a part of Northern Asia, from the Yamal Peninsula, the Urals and Kazakhstan.Tana to Chukotka, Kamchatka, Magadan region, and the Amur and Primorye. Entomologist, photographer, author and co-author of many books and articles on the insect fauna of the Urals and adjacent territories. Awarded with the prize named after Tatishchev and de gennine for his work on “the red book of the Middle Urals”, with the diploma of the Ural branch of RAS named Timofeev-for a series of works on “butterflies of Russia”.