NE Russia

Kenelm Philip fnkwp at
Mon Dec 20 12:28:23 EST 1999

Michael Gochfeld asked about what I encountered in NE Russia, and whether
there were any new species. For those that care about such things, here's
a brief summary:

I made 4 field trips to the Magadanskaya Oblast'. Sites collected were:
Aborigen Station (Kolyma valley, east side of Bolshoy Annchag range),
Chaun Station (base of Chaun Gulf, arctic coast), Rangifer Station (off
Yama River, NE of Magadan), Snow Valley (near Magadan), Markovo vicinity
(Anadyr' River, including the hills on the west and north edges of the
Markovo Depression), Provideniya, and Anadyr'. In addition, a number of
Russian biologists acted as volunteer collectors, providing small samples
from numerous sites in the region, including Wrangel Island (before it
was made a national park).

Latitude and general terrain were very similar to Alaska. Butterfly species
at Chaun (arctic coast) were around 90% identical to those on the North
Slope of Alaska. Species at the Aborigen Station were about 50% identical
to those found in Denali National Park--the other 50% consisted of pale-
arctic species not found in North America.

No new butterfly species were found, but good series were obtained of some
seldom-encountered ones. One _presumed_ new species was described (J. Res.
Lep.) with a range covering NE Russia, Alaska, and the Yukon and western
NWT--but we were scooped in North America by a couple of months, and it
later turned out that the same or a very close taxon had been described in

There have been a few new species from arctic/subarctic regions in the last
few decades: _Oeneis excubitor_ (now known to be the North American pop-
ulation of the Russian _O. alpina_, also a recently-found species); _Erebia
occulta_; _Colias johanseni_. Some northern species are being split, like
_Erebia disa/mancinus_.

There are a fair number of taxonomic problem areas having to do with
Beringian taxa, which may or may not be the same species on both sides
of the Bering Sea, or (in one case) may have a break somewhere in Chukotka
between an Asian and an east Chukotka/North America form. Lots of work to
be done...

							Ken Philip
fnkwp at

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