Scientific portal MSAU.RU: Altai State University entomologists named a new species of butterflies after demiurge Ulgen

13 January 2021 Department of Information and Media Communications
The information portal about discoveries and research MSAU.RU has published about the discovery of Altai State University entomologists.

The New Zealand journal Zootaxa - the most authoritative publication in the world in the field of zoological systematics - published an article describing a new species of butterflies, discovered on the territory of the Greater Altai (namely, Altai Krai, the Republic of Altai and the East Kazakhstan region).

The article is devoted to the results of the work, which was done by Professor of Altai State University Roman Yakovlev, his graduate student Svyatoslav Knyazev, as well as scientists from the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences and St. Petersburg University Nazar Shapoval, Galina Kuftina and Alexey Masharsky, as well as entomologist from Novosibirsk Vadim Ivonin.

On the basis of a detailed morphological and DNA analysis of the collected samples, it turned out that the Altai specimens represent a very distant lineage from closely related species widespread in Europe. The new species is a small dark butterfly flying at night, whose caterpillars develop on wild onions. The new species belongs to the family of Carpenter-Moths (Cossidae) and is named Dyspessa ulgen after the supreme deity of Altai mythology - the demiurge Ulgen.

The specimens of the new species were collected in Loktevsky District of Altai Krai, Kosh-Agachsky District of the Altai Republic and several places in East Kazakhstan.

“The fauna of carpenter-moths in the fauna of Russia is very poor - there are only 38 species, so finding a new one from this predominantly tropical group is of great interest. We had a lot of information on the new species, but thanks to RFBR grant No. 18-04-00440, we were able to carry out expensive molecular genetic studies on the complex and intricate genus of onion carpenter-moth (Dyspessa), and quite precisely found out the taxonomic rank of the new species. The study of the biodiversity in the transboundary region of the Altai Mountains is one of the main reasearch directions of our group. Previously, the main results were obtained in Western Mongolia. It is great that such an interesting finding was made by our young colleague Artyom Naydenov in the extreme south-west of Altai Krai in Loktevsky District in the vicinity of the village of Ustyanka," explained Professor of the Department of Ecology, Biochemistry and Biotechnology of the Institute of Biology and Biotechnology of Altai State University, Doctor of Biological Sciences Roman Yakovlev.

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