Species variety

For thousands of years, people of Tajikistan lived in harmony with the natural diversity of flora and fauna. In the process of historical development, they created many new forms of food, medicine, and forage crops, and domestic animals, promoted their conservation, thus enriching the natural biodiversity. The recent century was marked by an increased human negative impact on biodiversity, due to the population growth and active land mastering.

The conservation of vegetation biodiversity in the mountains prevents the fertile soil layer from erosion and destruction by mudflows, and regulates groundwater formation

A. Vegetation world

The vegetation world is represented by a great genetic and environmental diversity, and a unique specific diversity; it includes 9771 species and 20 formations.

The processes of xerophytization, ephemerization, mesophyllization, cryophytization, and migration processes in Tajikistan caused an extensive formation of flora species and forms. This resulted in the appearance of numerous vicarious plants, altitudinal and ecological vicariants that considerably enriched the flora specific composition as compared to other countries, the areas of which are many times bigger than that of Tajikistan.

In addition to the specific and genera diversity, the flora of Tajikistan is marked by rich systematic units of the highest rank - genera, families, and types.

Algae (Algae) 2145 species of algae have been registered in Tajikistan. Most of them are assigned to diatomaceous (Baccil-lariophyta) - 650 species, blue-green (Cyanophyta) - 580, and green algae.(Chlorophyta) - 570. Being an integral part of natural ecosystems, algae are indicators of their state.

Fungi (Fungi). Fungi flora includes lower micromycetes - 91,5% and macromycetes. According to the current scientific data, nature of Tajikistan is rich with as many as 2233 specific and intraspecific taxa of micro- and macroscopic fungi, belonging to 6 classes, 284 genera and subgenera, 78 families, 26 new species are discovered. There are 7 species of poisonous fungi; 4 species of fungi are rare and listed in Red Data Book.

Lichens (Lichenes) in Tajikistan are represented by 524 species, 11 of these are endemic. Some lichens (Evernia prumastri, Pseudovarnia furfuraceae, Loboria pulmonaria, and Ramalina) contain aromatic stuff and essential oils, which are widely used as raw material in producing wool and silk dyers for traditional trades.

Bryophytes (Bryophyta) in Tajikistan include 358 species, belonging to 144 genera and 52 families; 51 species are endemic, 1 is a relict (Mielichhoteria himalayana) was formed as early as Paleogene. Moss is common all over the republic from valleys and foothills to high mountains, from desert to cryophyte meadows and swamps of the alpine belt

Сообщество мхов, грибов и лишайниковFilices (Pteridophyta) are represented in the republic by 22 species belonging to 5 families and 14 genera. There are 14 species of ferns (Polipodiaceae), 1 species of Salvinia, 1 species of Marsinia; 1 species - waterwort (Asplenium pseudofontanum) - is considered extinct, 3 species - Steller's fern (Cryptogramma Stelleri), Komarov's buckler fern (Dryopteris Komarovii), and marsh fern (Dryopteris thelypteris) - are endangered; and 2 species - Bukhara adder's-tongue (Ophioglossum bucharicum) and Fedchenko's Gymnocarpium Fedtschenkoanum - are rare.

Eguisetophyta (Eguisetophyta) - are represented by two species (Egusetum ramosissium, E.arvense). They are common on damp soils along river banks, within valley and foothill zones. They are used in traditional medicine.

Gymnospermae (Gymnospermae) - are represented by 35 species. Pinophyta (Pinophyta) - by 16 species of cypress family and juniper genera, 3 species of which: Juniperus turkestanica, J. zeravshanica, J. semiglobosa are the endemics of Western Tien-Shan and Pamiro-Alai. They form forests at 1200-3200 masl with area over 1/3 of total forested area. Ephedra (Ephedra) are represented by 19 species. The natural resource of these shrubs has considerably reduced due to uncontrollable cutting.

ЭфедраAngiospermae are characterized by the largest variety of the country flora. They include 4454 species belonging to 973 genera and 113 families. They comprise monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous plants.

Monocotyledonae are represented by 752 species belonging to 161 genera and 18 families. These are mainly perennial and annual herbs, with long and short vegetation period. They include species inhabiting reservoirs, swamps, and wetlands - mace reeds (Typhaceae), Sparganiaceae, pondweeds (Potamogenaceae), naias (Najdaceae), rush (Juncaceae), water plantain Alismataceae, sedges (Cyperaceae), Hydrocharitaceae, duckweeds (Lemnaceae), Eriocaulaceae, orchids (Orhidaceae Eriocaulaecea). They also include other families, e.g. cereals (Gramineae) - toetoe (Arundo), reed (Phragmites), Eriathus, etc.

The families of the class are cereals (Poaceae), consisting of 325 species and 90 genera. The richest genera are: spear grass (Poa) - 36, feather-grass (Stipa) - 30, couch-grass (Elitrigia) - 24, Pipltatherum - 19, fescue grass (Festuca) - 16, Puccinelia, brome (Bromus), and barley (Hordeum) - 11 each. Cereals are widespread over all vegetation zones and ecosystems.

Cyperaceae Family (sedges) consists of 15 genera with 86 species of herbaceous, mainly perennial mesohygrophytes. Most of the species are plants from wet, swamped areas, weeds of rice fields, and components of alpine meadows and waste grounds. Found at 300 to 3800(4600) masl (some sedges and all Cobresia). The major genera are: sedges (Carex) - 40 species, cane (Erianthus) - 12, cyperus (Cyperus) - 7, spike rush (Heleocharis) - 6. They are used as food and forage.

The following families: Eriocaulaceae, rushes (Juncacea), Araceae, duckweeds (Lemnaceae) are not numerous; they are represented by water and swamp plants, which do not require special protection.

Iridaceae Family (irises) is grouped in 7 genera and 27 species. They include: fine-flowerig - saffron (Crocus korolkovii), iris species (Iris sp.div.) - 9, and Junona sp. div. - 15.

Amaryllidaceae Family has 7 species related to four genera, the most valuable food, decorative, and medicine species are those of Allium genus (onion) - 84, and Ungernia genus - 3 species. The natural resources of many onion species, particularly Allium stipitatum, A.Rosen-bachianum, A.oschcninii, A.cepa, A.giganteum, etc. are being exhausted due to an active gathering for sale and preservation. Among onions, there are many endemic species - Mogoltau o. (A.mogoltavicum), Darvaz o. (A.darwasicum), Shugnan o. (A.schugnanicum), crown-bearing o. (A.stephonophorum), etc., 14 in all. Victor's ungernia (Ungernia Victoris) is an endangered species, listed in the Red Data Book of Tajikistan.

Субальпийский лугLiliaceae Family (lilies) is mostly rich in specific diversity (118 species), the major species are: Gagea genus (goose's onion) with 34 species, Eremurus (desert-candle) - 29, Tulipa (tulip) - 24, and Asparagus (asparagus) - 8.

Dicotyledonae are represented by a great number of living forms. Many species are dominants and subdominants of the republic vegetation.

Dicotyledons are the base of the floristic composition of all types of vegetation; they include pistachio and xerophillous light forest, tugai (riparian woodland), mesophyllous broad-leaf forest, etc.

In Tajikistan, there are 3702 dicotyledonous species, which belong to 812 genera and 95 families.

Juglandaceae Family (walnuts) in Tajikistan are represented by 1 species - English walnut (Juglans regia), which is a dominant of broad-leaf forests and can be easily reproduced either by seedage or vegetation.

Salicaceae Family (willows) is represented by 14 species of willow and 5 species of poplar that grow in tugai and mountain river valleys and often form independent thick brushwoods.

Betulaceae Family (birches) is represented by 1 genus, Tien Shan birch (Вetula tianschanica), which is a polymorphic species. It forms independent groves on river sides at 1200-3600 masl. Easily reproduced by shoots and seeds.

Тугайная растительностьUlmaceae Family (elms) consists of 3 wild species, belonging to 2 genera (Ulmus, Celtis), Caucasus false elm (Celtis caucasica) is of a special interest.

Моrасеае Family (mulberries). Of great interest is a fig (Ficus carica) as a valuable fruit-tree and a component of xerophytic light forests. Occurs in fragments as small thickets near settlements in the mountainous valleys of Central and Southern Tajikistan.

The major dicotyledon families, which are important in forming many vegetation complexes, are: buckweats (Polygonaceae), Roman plants (Chenopodiaceae), pinks (Caryophyllaceae), ranunculaceae (Ranunculaceae), crucifers (Cruciferae), rosaceous (Rosaceae), leguminous (Leguminosae), elaeagnus (Elaeagaceae), umbelliferous (Umbelliferae), labiatiflorous (Labiatae), compositae (Compositae).

Тюльпан превосходныйPolygonaceae Family (buckweats) in the republic is represented by 98 species, belonging to 7 genera. The major genus is Polygonum (pepper plant), which contains 46 species of annual and perennial grass, shrubs, and subshrubs. These are common everywhere at 300 to 4700 masl and are components of various formations and florocoenotypes. Many species are forage, medicinal, tanniferous, food, and decorative. The following species need protection: Baljuan pepper plant (Polygonum baldshuanicum), Hissar pepper plant (P.hissaricum), hydropepper plant (P.hydro-piper), tanniferous pepper plant (P.coriarium), rhubarb (Rheum Maximoviczii) due to the unrestrained gathering are damaged, and species of the shrub genus Calligonum mainly growing in consolidated and blown sands at 400-800 masl.

Chenopodiaceae Family (Roman plants) are represented by 150 species, belonging to 40 genera. Most species are herbaceous plants; woody plants are rare. Almost all species are xerophytes and halophytes growing on valleys and foothills. The exceptions are: Ceratoides ewersmanriana, C.ceratoides, Salsola Richteri, S.Paletzkiana, S.dendroides, Sympegma Regelii, Hammada vakhanica, found in the Pamirs 3600-4000 masl. They are used as forage and fuel. Their natural resources have greatly reduced. Roman plants are good forage plants of winter pastures; they are the source of valuable alkaloids, dye-stuffs, soda, etc. There are many vegetables among them. Saxaul (Haloxylon aphyllum, H.persicum) and Salsola richteri, S.paletzkiana, S.dendroides can be used as sand-binding and forage plants of winter pastures.

Caryophyllaceae Family (pinks) - 153 species, 25 genera; except for 7 species of dwarf subshrubs of Acanthophyllum, all species are annual and perennial grass. The natural resource of 3 species of Allochrusa paniculata, A.gypsophiloides and A.tadshikistanica is rapidly disappearing due to an uncontrolled storing of its roots.

Астрагал превосходныйRanunculaceae Family (ranunculaceae). There are 112 species belonging to 22 genera. The major genera are: buttercups - 36 species, Delphinium - 16, and anemones (Anemone) - 9). The majority of these are annual and perennial herbs. The clematis genus contains 3 species of climbing shrubs (Clematis orientalis, C.asplenifolia, C.hilariae) and one shrub liana - Atragene sibirica. The latter is very rare in Tajikistan and needs protection.

Brassicaceae, Cruciferae Family (crucifers) includes 252 species of 86 genera. This is one of the largest dicotyledon families. There are many vegetable, field, forage, oil, and dye plants, alkaloid-bearing and melliferous grass, etc.

Crucifers are common over the entire area of the country in all types of vegetation, including juniper and broad-leaf forests, in xerophyllic light forests and semi-savannas. Most genera are represented by 1 to 3 species. The major genera are: whitlow grass (Draba) - 25 species, strigosella (Strigosella) - 15, parrya (Parrya) - 13, Erysimum - 11, and Lepidium - 10. More than half of all genera (43 of 83) are represented by 1 species each.

РодиолаCrassulaceae Family (crassulaceous) are represented by 7 genera and 29 species. Of special attention are 5 species of Rhodiola genus, which occur at 2100-4800 masl on rubble slopes and in rock fissures, and are medicinal plants.

Rosaceae Family (rosaceae) are represented by 131 species belonging to 27 genera. The family is rich in woody and brush forms, including many fruit-trees and berries: pear (Pyrus) - 4 species, apple (Malus) - 1, hawthorn (Crataegus) - 9, almond (Amygdalus) - 3, plum (Prunus) - 2, cherry (Cerasus) - 2, blackberry (Rubus) - 1, strawberry (Fragaria) - 1. This group also includes: cotoneaster (Cotoneaster) - 15, ash-tree (Sorbus) - 3, dog-rose (Rosa) - 17, aflatunia (Aflatunia) - 1.

Fabaceae Family (leguminous) in the republic is represented by 520 species belonging to 40 genera. These are annual and perennial herbs, trees, shrubs, subshrubs, and dwarf subshrubs. Among them, there are many valuable, forage, and medicinal plants, which enrich soil with nitrogen-bearing compounds. 314 species belong to 2 genera: Astragalus (275) and Oxytropis (66). 19 genera have 1 species each: Lagonychium farctum, Cerсis griffithii, Keyserlingia mollis, Halimodendron halodendron, etc.

Дикорастущая сливаThe following families: sumacs, elaeagnuses, pomegranates, pincushion shrubs, maples, buckthorns, grapes are represented by a small number of woody and shrub species: pistachio (Pistacia vera), sumac (Rhus coriaria), pincushion shrub (Euonymus Semenovi), maple (Acer Semenovii), Christ's-thorn (Paliurus spina-christi), common jujube (Ziziphus jujuba), grapes (Vitis vinifera), Tamarix sp.div, elaeagnus (Elaeagnus angustifolia), sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides), pomegranate (Punica granatum), etc.

Umbelliperae Family (umbelliferous) is represented by 172 species and 66 genera. The absolute majority of the species are concentrated in mid-high mountains. They are typical both of xerophyllic light forests and juniper forests. There are many valuable food (ferule species), forage, spice-aromatic, essential oil plants: coriander (Coriandrum), caraway (Carum carvi), Galagana, Antriscus, Scaligeria, Bunium persicum, celery (Apium graveolens); medicinal plants (Ammi majus, Angelica ternata, Carum carvi, Daucus carota, etc.). The major genera are: ferule - 39 species. The rest 58 genera have 2 species each, only 5 of them are polymorphic. The following species need urgent protection: Bunium persicum, Galagаnia fragrantissima, caraway (Carum carvi), celery (Apium graveolens), fennel (Foeniciolum vulgare), angelica (Angelica ternata), ferule (Ferula sp. div .).

Ферула ФедченкоLabiatae Family (labiatiflorous). There are 38 genera and 196 species in the republic. Some species are found from valleys to high mountains (Perovskia scrophulariifolia, Thymus seravschanicus, Ziziphora pamiroalaica, Nepeta pamirensis, N.kokanica, Salvia sclarea, Origanum tittanthum) which often form independent types of vegetation - thymes. The family contains many endemic species. There are 18 genera with 1 and 4 species, and 3 genera with over 20 (up to 33) species in the family. There are no endangered species among them.

Compositae Family (compositae). This is the major family of higher flowering plants. In Tajikistan, there are 655 wild species and 118 genera. The absolute majority of genera have one (53) or two (24) species. The major genera are: cousinia (Cousinia) - 111 species, wormwood (Artemisia) - 47, Echinops - 29, jurinea (Jurinea) - 26, erigeron (Erigeron) - 24, Saussurea and dandelion (Taraxacum) - 15 species each.

Some compositae are important for landscapes. They are common in all vegetation zones up to 5000 masl. These are species of wormwood (Artemisia sp.div.), Cousinia pannosa, C.Franchetii, C.macilenta, C.splendida, Centaurea squarrosa, inula (Inula macrophylla, I.grandis), Ligularia Thomsonii, L.macrophylla. They contain many food (Taraxacum, Cicorium Cirsium), forage (Tragapogon, Artemisia, Carduus, Taraxacun, Saussurea, etc.), oil (Carthamus tinctorius, Onopordium acanthium), essential oil (Lachno-phyllum gossipum, Pulicaria salvifolia, Achillea Wilhelmsii, Tanacetum santhoanum), melliferous, medicinal (Achillea millefolium, Artemisia cina, Calendula officinalii, Taraxacum species) plants; they also include ill weeds and noxious plants.

Of other small families, the following plants require protection: date-plum (Diospyros lotus) belonging to the Ebeneous family (Ebenaceae), Vitex agnuscastus of the Verbena family (Verbenaceae), and of the Limoniaceae - acantholimon (Acantholimon diapensioides), A.hedinii, A.tianschanicum, A.velutinum, A.pamiricum, A.varivtzevae) etc.

Spore-bearing vegetation is very rich. It is very important for maintaining the ecological balance of forest, meadow, water, steppe, and semi-desert ecosystems and the formation of the fertile soil layer. Many species of spore-bearing plants need protection due to their restricted range.

The specific features of flora distribution correspond to particular types of zones, into which the botanic-geographical areas of Tajikistan are subdivided.

Each botanico-geographical area is characterized by particular vegetation, which differs in the origin and ecological features and is assigned to particular altitude belts.

B. Valuable communities

The natural vegetation of Tajikistan annually produces over 80 million tonnes of land (31 mln.) and underground (48 mln.) phytomass, a considerable part of which forms valuable communities.

The valuable communities of Tajikistan are forest, meadow, steppe, tugai, semidesert to desert, and semisavanna vegetation (fig. 1.13), a considerable part of which are relic, endemic, and endangered species. All these species are of a genetic, ecological, economical, food, and forage significance.

Many species and their communities exist under extreme conditions and restricted environmental ranges in various mountainous ecosystems.

The main types of vegetation are

  • broad-leaf forest (Acer turkestanicum, Juglans regia), 
  • tugai forest (Populus pruinosa, Elaeagnus angustifolia), 
  • small-leaf forest (Betula tianschanica), 
  • juniper forest (Juniperus turkestanica, 
  • J.seravschanica, J.semiglobosa,
  • xerophyllous light forest (Pistacia vera, Amygdalus bucharica), 
  • brushwood (Rosa kokanica, R.divina, Aflatunia ulmifolia, Exchorda Albertii, Ephedra equisitina), 
  • semiwoody-semibrush vegetation (Haloxylon persicum, Salsola richterii, Calligonum caput medusae, C.griseum, C.arborescens, C.calcareum, Hammada
  • leptocloda, Artemisia kochiiformis, Ceratoides papposa), 
  • Cousinia pannosa, C.stephanophora, 
  • steppe (Festuca alaica, F.subcata, F.pamirica, Artemisia dracunculus), 
  • semisavanna (Prangos pabularia, Inula grandis, Ferula kuhistanica), 
  • meadow (Polygomum coriarum, Ligularia thomsonii), 
  • Acantholimon tatarica, Onobrychis echidna.

Карта-схема растительности

More than 70 species of valuable communities form independent flora formations. Among them the most valuable are: nuts (Juglans regia), apples (Malus Sieversii), maples (Acer turkestanicum), junipers (Juniperus seravschaniсa, J.semiglobosa, J.turkestanica, J.sibirica), birches (Betula tianschanica), sea buckthorns (Hippophae rhamnoides), populus (Populus pruinosa), elaeganus (Elaeagnus angustifolia), pistachios (Pistacia vera), common jujube (Ziziphus jujuba), figs (Ficus carica), hawthorns (Crataegus pontica), saxaul (Haloxylon persicum).

The woody and shrub plants of Tajikistan make over 60% of valuable juniper, 50% of pistachios, 95% of tugai, 65% of mesophyllic, 20% of small-leaf and mesophyllic-shrub communities of Central Asia. 90% of large mammals inhabit forests formed by these communities.

Representatives of valuable communities occur almost on the whole territory of Tajikistan (fig. 1.14). A considerable part of them are high-productive pastures, hayfields, and food, medicinal, and technical resources.

Grass communities are most diverse in composition and structure. They include 10 of 20 types of vegetation, 4 of them belong to subshrubs and 6 - to woody-shrubs.
Grass and subshrub communities make over 70% of arable lands (3.5 million hectares of pastures) and 90% of natural medicinal resources of vegetation origin.

The most valuable communities of medicinal plants are the following formations: licorice (Glycyrrhyza glabra), origanum (Origanum tyttanthum), Lagochilus seravschanicus, Bunium persicum, rhubarb (Rheum maximoviczii), inula (Inula grandis), Ungernia tadshicorum, allseed (Rhodiola heterodonta), ferule (Ferula foetidissima, F.kuhistanica), onion species (Allium stipitatum, A.seravschanicum, F.suvorovii).

All these formations are preserved as small communities, including numerous relic and endemic species and genera (Ostrovskia, Cephalopodum, Spyrostegia, Kuhitangia, Korshinskya, Paulia, Thlaspidium, Chaetolimon). In Tajikistan, there are many plants valuable for the whole Mediterranean area that have a common origin, such as trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants (Rhus coriaria, Juglans regia, Punica granatum, Ficus carica, Vitex agnus-castus, Paliurus spina Christi, Prunus divaricata, Elytrigia trichophora, Hordeum spontaneum, H.bulbosum).

Of ancient Mediterranean flora elements, communities of broad-leaf forests or xerophytic light forests (Juglans regia, Acer turkestanicum, Exochorda Alberti, Aflatunia ulmifolia), xerophitic light forests (Celtis caucasica, Acer regeli, Crataegus pontica, Fraxinus raibocarpa, Calophaca grandiflora, Pistacia vera, Keyserlingia mollis), numerous relic shrubs (Ribes, Lonicara, Cotoneaster, Fraxinus), and herbaceous plants (Buchingera, Ostrovskia, Petilium, Imperata) still exist in Tajikistan (fig. 1.15).

One can still find well-preserved motley grass steppes, semisavannas and cryophyte meadows widely used as natural pastures. Valuable wild fruits and genetic resources of fruit, food, medicinal, decorative, and forage plants which are typical for valuable communities.

The most valuable representative communities of biodiversity which need protection are as follows: juniper, birch, and walnut forests, ash trees, aflatunia, and pagoda tree brushwoods, mountainous steppes, meadows, tugai, saxaul, and pistachios. They are threatened not only by a reduction of their areas, but also by a destruction of their community structures and a loss of valuable plant and animal species

Карта-схема основных растительных сообществ древесной и кустарниковой растительности

Карта-схема реликтовдонеогеновых флор

C. Animal World

A considerable diversity of environmental conditions, ecosystem variations and plant communities rich in composition and structure, as well as ancient many-pole faunogeneses promoted the conservation and development of over 12 thousand species of invertebrates and 531 species of vertebrate animals on the territory of Tajikista.


Mammals (Mammalia) of Tajikistan include 84 species, grouped in 47 genera, 22 families, and 6 orders: insectivorous, cheiroptera, hares, rodents, carnivorous, and ungulates

Бухарский оленьInsectivorous Order (Insectivora) - the oldest branch of mammals in Tajikistan - is represented by only 6 species, belonging to 4 genera and 2 families. Widespread and numerous representative of this group is Сrocidura suaveolens, which occurs both in natural and cultivated landscapes, from tugai to highlands. Long-spined hedgehog (Paraechinus hypomelas) occurs in foothill zone and adjacent valleys (350-1200 masl). Negative impact on the long-spined hedgehog habitats and numbers was produced by ploughing of virgin lands and uncontrolled cattle grazing. Sorex buchariensis, the endemic of Tajikistan, has restricted habitats in local areas of the Hissar Range and the Peter the Great Range. Сrocidura pergrisea, a specialized mountainous species, belongs to rare species; it occurs on the slopes of the Hissar, Shugnan, and Ishkashim ranges, at 2500-3600 masl.

Cheiroptera Order (Chiroptera) of Tajikistan includes 19 species of bats, belonging to 3 families and 9 genera. Out of three species of horseshoe bats (Rhinolopidae Family), lesser (Rhinolophus hipposideros) and Bukhara horseshoe bat (R.bucharicus) are rare. The family of bats (Vespertilionidae) includes 15 species. Common representative of the family is dwarf noctule (Pipistrellus pipistrellus), which occurs everywhere in various natural and man-made shelters, and buildings, in the mountains - up to 2000 masl. Mostly rare and not numerous are: Barbastella leucomelas, noctule (Pipistrellus savii), wide-eared free-tailed bat (Tadarida teniotis), and Otonycteris hemprichi. The typical man-made shelters, used by bats for concentration and wintering, are abandoned mines. 14 species of bats are listed in the Red Data Book of Tajikistan.

Order Rodentia (rodents) is the most numerous orders of mammals in Tajikistan, represented by 29 species, belonging to 7 families and 17 genera. The family of hamsters (Сricetidae) includes 14 species and makes almost 50% of all rodent species of Tajikistan. Background representative of the family within the desert complex is Мeriones erythrourus, inhabiting valleys and foothills of northern and southwestern Tajikistan. Rhombomys opimus, Meriones tamariscinus and M. meridianus are narrow-area species of sandy lands of northern and southwestern Tajikistan.

The genus of gray field mice (Microtus) is represented by 6 species of field mice: Pamirian (Microtus juldachi), juniper (M.carruthersi), M.socialus, Afghan (M.afghanus), common (M. arvalius), and Kyrgyz (M.kirgizorium). All these species, except for Afghan field mouse, occur in mountainous landscapes.

Only one species of the genus Ellobius occurs in Tajikistan - Ellobius tancrei; it is common everywhere, except for the Pamirs.

Second to hamsters (in specific biodiversity) are mice (Muridae). This family of Tajikistan includes 5 species. Common representatives of the family are: house mouse (Мus musculus), common field mouse (Apodemys sylvaticus), Turkestan and Norway rat (Rattus turkestanicus and R.norvegicus).

The family of squirrels (Sciuridae) of Tajikistan includes 5 species: Spermophilopsis leptodactulus, relic (Citellus relictus), and yellow squirrels C.fulvus, red marmot (Marmota caudata), and Menzbier's marmot (M.Menzbieri). Due to ploughing steppe and sand areas, the populations of Spermophilopsis leptodactulus and yellow squirrels are on the verge of vanishing.

Red marmot (Marmota caudata) is a typical mountainous species. It occurs in all mountainous ranges of Tajikistan, except for the Kuramin Range. Red marmot is a very important species among game fur-bearing mammals of Tajikistan. The density of the animal population in the Pamirs and Badakhshan remains rather high.

Endemic of Western Tien Shan - Menzbier's marmot (Marmota menzbieri) - was first found in Tajikistan in summer, 1960, in the eastern part of the Kuramin Range, at the Aktash mine. Due to the industrial development of the Aktash upper reaches and the adjacent parts of the Kuramin Range, the isolated population of the marmot completely disappeared in the early 1980s of 20 century.

Very important game species are muskrats and nutrias. Nutrias (Myocastor coypus) were first brought into Tajikistan in 1949 and placed into reservoirs of the Tigrovaya Balka Nature Reserve. Due to the successful acclimatization, it formed wild population inhabiting all watercourses and wetlands in the lower reaches of the Kafirnigan, Vakhsh, Pyanj, Kyzylsu, and Yakhsu rivers. Muskrats (Ondatra zibethica) entered the territory of northern Tajikistan from Uzbekistan at the beginning of the 1950s and occupied the entire irrigation system of the Fergana Valley, the Farkhad and Kairakkum reservoirs. Porcupine (Hystrix indica) - the only representative of the family of porcupines (Hystrisidae) in Tajikistan - is common everywhere, except for Badakhshan and the Pamirs.

The rare representatives of the rodents order include small five-toed jerboa (Allactaga elater) and Severtzov's jerboa (A.severtzovi), which are narrow-area species within Tajikistan territory; their sparse settlements are preserved in clay, rubble, and saline areas of deserts in northern and southeastern Tajikistan.

Заяц-толайOrder Lagomorpha (hares). This order includes only 3 species, belonging to 2 families: hares (Leporidae) - 1 species, piping hares (Lagomyidae)- 2 species. The Tolai hare (Lepus tolai) has a wide geographic and vertical range (300-5100 masl), occurs from the river valleys and deserts to the mountainous forests and highlands. The mountainous representative of hares - large-eared piping hare (Ochotona roylei) - is common in Badakhshan and the Pamirs (2200-4800 masl), while red piping hare (Ochotona rutila) occurs only in the Pamirs.

Order Artiodactyla (cloven-ungulate). There are 7 species of cloven-hoofed animals in Tajikistan, belonging to 3 families and 4 genera. A widespread representative of this order is wild boar (Sus scrofa). Bukhara Red deer (Cervus elaphus bactrianus), the largest representative of cloven-ungulate mammals of Tajikistan (the greatest weight of males is 250 kg), is listed in the Red Data Book of the IUCN. The native habitats of the Bukhara Red deer - tugai -due to agricultural development, are almost entirely transformed. Nowadays Bukhara Red Deer is really threatened species. Its in-situ dwelling is in Tigrovaya Balka reserve and in tugai of right side of Pyanj river till Afghanistan border. Introducent populations of Bukhara Red Deer are preserved in Zeravshan zakaznik, Sarikhosor and in Shakhrinau nursery.

ДжейранPersian gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa) inhabits semi-desert hard-soiled areas, flat foothill plains, and lowlands (400-1800 masl). The Persian gazelle became very rare, listed in the Red Data Books of IUCN and Tajikistan. By the early 1990s, its population in Tajikistan was estimated at 100-150. The Persian gazelle is an endangered species, due to poaching and habitats degradation, its population in the country not exceeding 80.

Siberian mountain goat (Capra sibirica) is a common representative of cloven-ungulate animals in Tajikistan, occurring at 1600-5000 masl. The total number of the Siberian mountain goat over the total area of Tajikistan in the first half of the 1980s was estimated at 41 thousand. In recent 10-15 years its population is threatened by poaching.

Markhur (Capra falconeri) is an endangered species listed in the Red Data Book of the IUCN. Its main population is preserved at the border with Afghanistan on the southwestern ridges of the Darvaz Range and southern ridges of the Khazratishokh Range. The present area of the markhur is preserved as a narrow band, up to 80 km long and 5-25 km wide. In the early 1980s, the animal population disappeared from the Sarsayak Range, where its area was 30 thousand hectares, because of the poaching. At present the markhur's population of the Dashti-Jum zapovednik counts 120-130 individuals.

АрхарUrial (Ovis vignei bochariensis) was a very common species in the past. In the early 1950s, the total population of the urial in Tajikiistan was estimated at 5 thousands. Only 400-500 individuals are preserved at the present time. 
Argali or wild ram (Ovis ammon polii) - the largest representative of wild rams of Central Asia. It occurs in the Pamirs. The vertical range of the argali is 3600-5300 masl, its main habitats being at 4100-4300 masl. The uncontrolled international hunting and poaching considerably reduced its resources in recent 10-15 years. The argali population in the present territory of the Pamirs does not exceed about 3.5-4 thousand individuals.

Order Carnivora (carnivorous) of Tajikistan is represented by 20 species, belonging to 5 families and 10 genera. The family of martens (Mustelidae) is marked by the greatest specific diversity. It includes 8 species, i.e. 40% of the carnivorous mammals of Tajikistan. The most common representative of the family is stone marten (Martes foina), inhabitant of broad-leaf and juniper forests.

Badger (Мeles meles) - one of the largest representatives of the family of martens - completely disappeared from the valley zone, due the anthropogenic landscape transformation; only a small number of the animals are preserved in the woody and shrub zone.

Least weasel (Mustela nivalis) - the finest representative of carnivorous mammals - occurs in southwestern, Central Tajikistan, and Gorno-Badakhshan, the Pamirs from 400 to 4000 masl and its population is not numerous. It is listed in the Red Data Book of Tajikistan and needs protection.

Alpine weasel (Мustela altaica) occurs only in Badakhshan and the Pamirs at 2700-3700 masl. It settles in stone debris near mouse colonies. It is listed in the Red Data Book of Tajikistan.

Vormela peregusna, was widely spread in the lowlands of southeastern, Central, and northern Tajikistan, and assigned to rare or endangered species. It is listed in the Red Data Book of Tajikistan.

Central Asian otter (Lutra lutra) is common in all river valleys of Tajikistan with the exception of the Western Pamirs. It is not numerous and needs protection.

Steppe polecat (Mustela eversmanni) is not numerous; currently occurs in northern Tajikistan; listed in the Red Data Book of Tajikistan.

Common weasel (Mustela erminea) occurs in Badakhshan and the Pamirs, in the vicinity of the Zorkul zapovednik at 4600 masl.

There is only one species of the hyenas family (Hyaenidae) in Tajikistan: striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena). This rare animal was earlier common in tugai forests and foothill semi-deserts of southwestern and northern Tajikistan at 300-1200 masl. Owing to actively developing the lands of its natural habitats and direct killing, the population of the hyenas has been shrinking rapidly all over the republic.

The cat family (Felidae) of Tajikistan is represented by 5 species: Turan tiger (Panthera tigris virgata), leopard (Pardus pardus), snow leopard (Uncia uncia), Turkestan lynx (Felis lynx), jungle cat (Felis chaus), and wild cat (Felis libyka).

Снежный барсTuran tiger (Panthera tigris virgata) has become extinct. In the late 1940s, the tugai forests of Tajikistan contained just 15-20 individuals. The tiger's tracks were last seen in the Tigrovaya Balka Reserve, south of Khalkakul Lake, on the 8th of July, 1954.

Earlier, the leopard (Pardus pardus) was common in the mountains of southwestern Tajikistan. In recent years, there have been no valid data on the presence of leopard in Tajikistan. The tracks of leopard were last seen in the Sarsaryak Range in 1967.

Snow leopard or irbis (Uncia uncia) is quite common but it is not numerous. This species area covers the total mountainous zone of Tajikistan. The typical habitats are at 2500 to 5500 masl. The population of snow leopard in the early 1990s was estimated at approximately 160-200 individuals.

Brown bear (Ursus arctos) is common in the mountain ranges of Northern, Central Tajikistan, Badakhshan, and the Pamirs, at 1500-5000 masl. The resources of this animal in Tajikistan are 250-300 individuals. Poaching and mountainous forest mastering are factors promoting the decline of the brown bear's population.

Among mammals, the narrow-endemic species is: Menzbier's marmot. 11 of 84 mammal species are assigned to game species.

Aves (birds) is the most numerous (in specific composition) class of vertebrates of Tajikistan. Ornithofauna includes 346 species of birds related to 16 orders. According to the type of residence, birds are subdivided into resident, migratory-nesters, birds of passage, and wintering. Birds occur in all ecosystems, and many of their representatives are background. Nearly 10% (37 species) are assigned to rare or endangered. The most critical species are falcons and bustards. There are cases of illegal fowling, aimed at selling falcons abroad.

ФазанResident birds include 82 species, nesters - 150, migratory - 108, wintering - 80, and birds of passage - 21. Among waterfowl and near-water birds, over 20 species of ducks and sandpipers, wintering at wetlands, lakes, reservoirs, man-made ponds, and rivers, are important game species. The representatives of the order of gallinaceous (Galliformes) - partridge (Alectorius keklik), quail (Coturnix coturnix), Tibetan snow partridge (Tetraogallus tibetanus tibetanus), and pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) - are also assigned to game species.

The main biotopes for wild birds nesting in Tajikistan are: river valleys, flood-plain shrub and grassy communities, mountain forests and lakes, less often - meadows and steppes.

Considerable part of ornithofauna nests in the upper reaches of the mountains in northern, Central Tajikistan, and Badakhshan. The ornithofauna of the Eastern Pamirs is notable for its number and specific diversity.

Order Podicipediformes (dabchiks) represented by 3 species. Podiceps cristatus is wintering and nesting in reservoirs of south-western Tajikistan. Podiceps ruficollis is a settled bird spread in reservoirs of south-western and Central Tajikistan. Podiceps caspicus is a rare bird of passage, occur in reservoirs of the plain area of Tajikistan.

Order Totimplate (Pelecaniformis) includes 4 species. Great cormorant (Phalacro-corax carbo sinensis) is wintering and a bird of passage, and scarce individuals occur in summer. It is spread on the greatest part of Tajikistan area including high-mountain lakes of the Pamirs. Pygmy cormorant (Phalacrocorax pugmaeus) is the most common among wintering waterfowls of south Tajikistan.

Орлан белохвостOrder Ciconiformes (waders) include 12 species. White and black storks (Ciconia ciconia asiatica, Ciconia nigra) are birds of passage and nesters, listed in Red Data Book of Tajikistan. Main reasons of the reduction of their population is land mastering and trouble factor. White and gray herons (Egretta alba alba, Ardea cinerea) are birds of passage, wintering and also nesters. Small bittern (Ixobrychus minutus minutus) is a bird of passage, nesting in lowlands of north and south-western Tajikistan.

Order Anseriformes (lamellirostral) is represented by 25 species. Bar-headed goose (Anser indicus) is listed in the Red Data Book of Tajikistan. Because of poaching and nest destroying, the number of the bar-headed goose dropped rapidly, their nests being preserved only on the islands and shores of the Eastern Pamirs lakes - Karakul, Rangkul, and Zorkul. Since the Zorkul zapovednik was established, the population of the bar-headed goose in this territory has been under protection.

БалобанOrder Falconiformes (birds of prey) includes 35 species, 11 of which are listed in the Red Data Book. Of the family of hawks (Accipitridae), bearded vulture (Dypaetus barbatus hemachalanus) nests in the mountain environment, at 1400-1800 masl, with seasonal vertical migration. Egyptian vulture (Neophron percenopterus) is a rare, not numerous species, which inhabits the foothills and the mid zone of mountains. It travels up the Pyanj River to Kalai-Khumb, Rushan, and Khorog, nesting at 1800-2000 masl. It is listed in the Red Data Book of Tajikistan. Golden eagle (Aguila chrysaetus laphanea) is a settled bird, nesting in mountainous rocks, with seasonal vertical migration.

Order Galliformes (gallinaceous) is represented by 7 species, 4 of which are listed in the Red Data Book. The rarest valuable species is seesee partridge (Ammoperdix griseogularis), common in the southwestern part of the republic. Beard partridge (Perdix daurica turcamona) is a settled species, common on the northern sides of the Turkestan Range. It nests at 1200-2200 masl. Another rare and not numerous species, listed in the Red Data Book, - Tibetan snow partridge (Tetraogallus tibetanus), - is a typical high-mountainous bird, included in the group of endangered species.

Pheasant (Phasianus calchicus) of Tajikistan forms 3 subspecies: black-golden or Tajik (Ph.c.bianchii), Zeravshan (Ph.c.zeravcshanicus tarn) and Syrdarya (Ph. c. turkestanicus forens) pheasants. All these species are listed in the Red Data Book of Tajikistan.

Order Gruiformes (cranes) includes 13 species, 2 of the family of bustards (Otididae) being listed in the Red Data Book of Tajikistan. Bustard (Otis tarda) occurs in Tajikistan in winter. It is a rare threatened species.

ДрофаOrder Charadriiformes (plover) is represented by 51 species, 5 of which are listed in the Red Data Book. Ibidorhyncha struthetrsi is a very rare, dropping in number, species. It is assigned to endangered species. There are some wintering and rare nesting populations. The total number of Ibidorhyncha struthetrsi in Tajikistan does not exceed 30 pairs. It is assigned to settled species, with seasonal migration. The vertical range covers the altitudes from 1600 to 3500 masl. It is listed in the Red Data Book of Tajikistan.

Order Columbiformes (pigeons) includes 12 species. The representatives of the order are common all over the territory of the Republic. Three species are listed in the Red Data Book of Tajikistan: Columba leuconota is a rare, narrow-area species, occurs in the Pamirs; Pterocles orientalis orenarius is a threatened, not numerous, species; (Syrrhaptes tibetana) is a threatened species; wood pigeon (Columba palumbus casiotis) is listed in the Red Data Book, occurs in juniper and broad-leaf forests, at 1200-3000 masl, nesting in trees.

Order Cuculiformes (cuckoos) is represented by 2 species: Cuculus canorus and C. saturolas are birds of passage, rare in numbers.

Order Strisiformes (owls) is represented by 8 species. The representatives of the order are quite common. They nest in the mountains and plain areas; some of them are migratory. A typical representative is eagle-owl (Bubo bubo omissus).

ФилинOrder Caprimulgiformes (goatsucker) is represented by 2 species: Caprimulgus europaeus sarudnyi and Caprimulgus aegyptius arenicolor sev. These species in Tajikistan are nesting birds and birds of passage.

Order Coraciiformes includes 5 species: kingfisher (Alcedo atthis atthis, Merops apiasterp and Merops superciliosus persicus, Coracias garrulus semenowi), hoopoe (Upupa epops epops). All of them are birds of passage and nesting in low and high mountains.

Order Apodiformes (swifts) is represented by 3 species. Alpine swift (Apus melba tuneti) and black swift (A. apus pekinensis swinhoe) are migratory, nesting in the low-mountainous Pamiro-Alay. Little swift (A. affinis galibejensis) is listed in the Red Data Book of Tajikistan.

Order Piciformes (woodpeckers) includes 2 species. White-winged woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucopterus) is rather widespread species, nesting within the Pamiro-Alay area, Jynx torguilia occurs in Pamiro-Alay only as a bird of passage.

Order Passerioformes (passerines) contains 163 species, including 7 species, listed in the Red Data Book of Tajikistan: Carrulax lineatus, paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone paradisi), Muscicapa ruficauda, Microcichla scouleri, Chaimarrornis leucocephala, Myophonus caeruleus, Leptopoecile sophia.

In autumn, more than 80 species of birds fly to Tajikistan from the northern latitudes and stay here until late spring, due to the favorable conditions. The most numerous group of wintering birds are waterfowl and wetland species. The rivers and lakes of Tajikistan attract large flocks of seagulls (Larus), Corvus, partridge-passerines (Caltris), cormorants (Phalac-rocorax). It should be noted that the territory of Tajikistan is considered one of the main passages of bird migration in the Asian continent. The migration routes of hundreds species of birds run through the mountainous systems of Tajikistan.

Среднеазиатская кобраReptiles (Reptilia) of Tajikistan are very diverse, being represented by 47 species (table 1.11), included in 2 orders, 13 families, and 23 genera.

The richest specific diversity is observed in lizards - 30 species. There are 16 species of snakes and 1 species of tortoise. The Red Data Book of Tajikistan comprises 21 species of reptiles.

Numerous and common representative of reptiles is steppe tortoise (Testudo horsfieldi), which occurs in loess adyrs and foothill steppes. In recent years, poaching and illegal exporting has negative impact on the population of this species in the country. Lizards, inhabiting deserts, semi-deserts, foothill steppes, and (to a lesser degree) mountains, are also common and numerous (30 species).

All species of geckoes: Crossobamon eversmanni, Teratoscincus scincus, Gymnodactylus caspius, Alsophylax loricatus, are considered rare and endangered species. They occur mainly in the lower reaches of the Pyanj and Vakhsh rivers, in northern Tajikistan - in desert-tugai complexes at the Kairakkum Reservoir.

Серый варанThe most critical species is a gray monitor lizard (Varanus griseus) - the largest representative of lizards, which is endangered due to the strong transformation of their habitats. In recent decade, scarce individuals of the gray monitor lizard have been observed only in sands near the Kairakkum Reservoir and in the low reaches of the Kafirnigan, Vakhsh, and Pyanj rivers. Over 14 lizard species are rare, listed in the Red Data Book of Tajikistan.

Of 16 snake species, the most critical ones are: sand snake (Echis carinata), blind snake (Typhlops vermicularis), Central Asian cobra (Naja oxiana), the populations of which are being less and less numerous, because of illegal catching and keeping them in serpentaria, aimed at receiving snake's venom. One of the main reasons for the drop in numbers of the blind snake and oriental boa is the poaching, aimed at their medicinal use. The typical habitats of most reptile species are in the areas of human activity, which causes negative impact on reptiles, mostly on the area and numbers of steppe tortoise.

Amphibians (Amphibia) are represented by 2 species: - lake frog (Rana ridibunda) and green toad (Bufo viridis). The cultivation and watering of desert and fallow lands caused the lake frog area expansion. The green toad in Tajikistan has vertical range spreading and occurs at 300-3800 masl.

Популяция рыб в высокогорном озереFish (Pisces). Numerous watercourses of Tajikistan are currently inhabited by 52 species and forms of fish, belonging to 12 families. The most diverse fish populations are those of rivers - 52 species, ponds - 17, lakes - 20, springs - 10. The whole diversity of fish has nearly 20 game species (table 1.12, fig. 1.16), including Amudarya trout (Salmo trutta morfa fario), pike (Esox lucius), redeye (Scardinius erythrophthalmus), Aral asp (Aspius aspius taeniatus), etc. The relic and endemic species contain 3 sturgeon species (genus of shovel-nosed pseudosturgeons): Amudarya great - (Pseudoscaphirhynchus kaufmannii), Amudarya small (P.hermanii) and Syrdarya pseudosturgeon (P.fedtschenkoi). Some valuable game fish - pike-asp (Aspiolucius esocinus), Aral barbel (Barbus brachyceophalus) - are listed in the Red Data Book. In recent years, Aral asp (Aspius aspius taeniatus), Acipenser nudiventris have become less numerous, rare, and endangered.

The ichthyofauna of Tajikistan watercourses was enriched by acclimatization of 18 valuable fish species, including: crucian carp (Carassus auratus), American sheatfish (Silurus glanis), zander (Lucioperca lucioperea), common bream (Abramis brama), grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella), silver and motley carp (Hypophthalmichthus molitrix, Aristichthus nobilis), American buffalo (Ictiobus bufalus), a new breed of carp (Cyprinus sp.), a hybrid of beluga (white sturgeon) and sterlet, Siberian peled (Coregonus peled), etc.

A significant damage to specific biodiversity and fish population number is caused by hydro-power structures, chemical pollution, poaching and industrial waste discharge.


By the present time, there are 13 thousand species of invertebrate (Invertebrata) animals in Tajikistan, including: protists (Protozoa) - 300 species, parasitic worms (Vermes) - 1400, arachnoids (Arachnida) - 715, insects (Insecta) - 10000, mollusks (Mollusca) - 204.

Of great interest are arthropods, represented by arachnoids (Arachnida) and insects (Insecta). Arachnoids are represented by: scorpions (Scorpiones) - 10 species, phalanxes (Solifugae) - 40, spiders (Arachnei) - 260, oribatoid ticks (Oribatei) - 104, tyroglyphoid ticks (Tyroglyphoidea) - 44, gamasoid ticks (Gamasoidea) - 50, ticks (Ixodoidea) - 82, and tetranichoid ticks (Tetranichoidea) - 120. 50% of spiders are endemics of Central Asia.

Карта-схема распространения основных промысловых рыб

The sub-family of vegetarian ticks (Tetranychoidea) of Tajikistan consists of 4 families: web ticks (Tetranychiidae), briobids (Briobidae), Tenuipalpidae, and eriphoids (Eriophidae), most of which are cosmopolites; there are many agricultural pests among them. Of 120 tick species, 29 are endemics of Tajikistan and Central Asia, 10 species - narrow endemics of the Pamirs.

Among the invertebrates, there are many harmful species, which cause parasitoses (protozoa, parasitic worms), carry nature-focal diseases (ticks, bloodsucking dipterans), and are agricultural pests (vegetarian ticks, lepidoptera, many coleoptera, orthoptera, etc.). At the same time, there are useful species (pollinators, soil-formers, natural regulators of harmful organisms numbers, etc.) among various taxonomic groups of invertebrates. All 3 species of carmine worms of Tajikistan need restoration of their numbers.

Insects (Insecta) of Tajikistan include over 10 thousand species, belonging to 29 orders.

Destructive insects - aphids, scales, various species of butterflies and beetles - live on fruits and berries, and other agricultural crops. There are approximately 70 species of mantis. Many of them are endemics. Such relic species belonging to class of Insects are: Protura, Diplura, Blattoptera, Manthoptera, Mecoptera, as well as representatives of ancient insects - Odonata and Ephemeroptera.

МахаонAmong the insects of the republic, there are many species, which are decorations of nature (dragonflies, mantis, butterflies, beetles, walking sticks), much in demand among collectors. The negative human impact is also produced on the specific composition and numbers of many groups of invertebrates. The Red Data Book of Tajikistan includes 58 invertebrate animals, 50 of which are insects. Much more species require protection, and the list of rare and endangered species will be increasing, as the invertebrates are being studied.

Worms are one of the widespread groups of invertebrates.

Type Plathelminthes (flat worms). In Tajikistan, there are about 210 species of trematodes (Trematodes) - parasites living in internal organs of animals and carrying some infectious diseases to people and animals. In addition to trematodes, many vertebrate animals of Tajikistan are found to contain 82 species of monogenetic suckers (Monogenea) and 280 species of cestodes (Cestodes).

Type Nemathelmantes (Nematode worms) of Tajikistan includes 250 species of phytonematodes and 450 species of zoonematodes, some of which are used as agents of the biological fight against destructive insects. The class of rotifers (Rotatoria) of Tajikistan has 25 species; all of them develop in water sources and are considered useful organisms. 15 species, which are parasites of invertebrate animals, are established in the class of hair-worm (Nemathomorpha) of Tajikistan.

Type Acanthocephala (Proboscis worms) of Tajikistan includes 71 species of proboscis worms - parasites of animals.

Type Annelides (Annelid worms). These are free-living organisms, the total specific composition of which has not been studied yet in Tajikistan; however, 30 species of oligochaete (Oligochaeta) have been found in reservoir benthic fauna. They serve as food for fish. In the Kairakkum Reservoir, they make 42% of the total biomass.

Zoogeographic zones

Zoogeographically, the plain territory of Tajikistan relates to Turan province. Fauna of Tajikistan belongs to three faunistic zones of Middle Asia mountain province (fig. 1.17).

The Western Tien Shan zone covers the northern side of the Turkestan Range and the Syrdarya River Valley with Farkhad and Kairakkum reservoirs. Here, typical animals of the mountain-forest zone, river valleys, and arable lands, including 35 species of mammals, occur. Among insects there is a considerable number of endemic genera and species: Loniceraphis (L.paradoxa), Ferganaphis (F.lonicericola, F.alticola alticola, F.tschatcalica), Aphiduromyzus (А.rosae), Prociphilus umarovi, Rhopalomyzus lonicerina, Ruceraphis pilosa, and Dicraeus kirgisorum.

Карта-схема зоогеографического районирования

Tajikistan (Bukhara) zone includes lands from the southern slopes of the Zeravshan Range to the western and southwestern borders of the Pamirs, covering the total system of the Western Pamirs and Hindu-Kush. Amphibians are represented by 2 species, while reptiles - by 40 species. Nesting birds are typical; 70 species of these are common in Palearctic, 22 species are European, 33 - of Central Asian origin, 20 - Iranian and Turkestanian, 7 - Indian and African, 14 - Chinese, 12 - Tibetan, and 6 - Mongolian. This zone is rich in theriofauna (45 species); it contains many endemics and subendemics (e.g. Bukhara shrew (Sorex buchariensis), Pamirian shrew (Crocidura pergrisea), Barbastella leucomelas, Rhinolophus bocharicus, Tajik markhur (Capra falconeri) , etc.

The Pamirs zone includes the eastern Pamirs and a part of the Alay Valley; it is characterized by severe climatic conditions, poor flora and fauna. Nearly 120 species of birds are found here; among them, there are: settled species - 10-12, migratory-nesting - 45-47, wintering - 4-5; other species belong to birds of passage - 65-67 species. Amphibians and reptiles are represented by inconsiderable specific composition. Mammals are presented by 15 species.

Lowlands, deserts of south-western and northern Tajikistan relate to Middle Asian deserted area of Turan province. Here animal world is adapted to hot and dry climate. Here species inhabiting deserts are met (lizards, jerboa, gopher, gazella, insects related to desert flora, etc.).

D. Microorganisms

Protists are cosmopolites. They occur in all biotopes: water, soil, air, animal and plant organisms. The protist fauna of Tajikistan, particularly free-living, inhabitants of internal and external organs of invertebrates, symbionts and commensals of multicellular organisms, is insufficiently studied. According to the approximate data, there are 300 species of protists, including 112 species of the Nurek Reservoir, in Tajikistan. The specific composition of the Phitomastigophora Class in Tajikistan exceeds 200 species. They serve as food for young fish and other small organisms.

Much better studied are parasitic protists - pathogenic organisms (causing people and animals diseases) of Sarcomastigophora type. The sarcomastigophors, found in Tajikistan, contain free-living species, as well. Tajikistan is known to have several species of amebas (Amoeba proteus, A.linax). In shallow ponds and reservoirs, there are fresh-water shelly rhizopods from the genera Arcella and Difflugia (e.g. Arcella vulgaris, A.discoides, Diffluggia ablonga lacustris, D.ablonga caudata), which, being components of wetland benthos, serve as food for other water organisms.

Among flagellates, there are protists of the genera Lamblia and Trichomonas. Parasitic protists, living in blood of agricultural animals, birds, fish, and some wild mammals, are: Apicomplexa (class Sporozoa), Microspora, Myxozoa, Ciliophora. 69 species of fish parasites, including 6 species of blood parasites, 48 - Mixosporidia, 1 - Microsporidia, 1 - Apicomplexa, 13 species of infusoria (Ciliophora), are established.

The group of Sporozoa includes 4 species of pyroplasmids: Piroplasma bigeminum, Babesia bovis, Theileria annulata, Th.sergenti, and 44 species of coccidia.
Pathogenic organisms causing malaria (Plasmodium vivax, P.malariae, P.phalciparum) are common.

I. Alien and Invasive species

More than 2500 species of plants are defined in flora from other nature-geographic areas of Tajikistan. Some of these are cultivated flora introduced in botanical gardens and parks and grown on the slopes as fast-growing woody plants.

The most typical species, common in Tajikistan, are: pine (Pinus), spruce (Picea), oak (Quercus), bastard acacia (Robinia pseudacacia), chestnut (Aesculus), soapberry tree (Koelreuteria paniculata), oriental tree of heaven (Ailanthus orientalis), cypress (Cupressus), and many others. All are used for planting out.

Along with useful introducents biodiversity of Tajikistan is invaded by some alien species which pose great threat to the biodiversity of Tajikistan. In recent years the risk has been increased due to the numerous imported and cultivated species of forage, food, medicinal, decorative, and other species.

In addition to alien species (table 1.13), local invasive species, common at various altitudes, in various climatic zones, and ecological areas, have developed in Tajikistan, with considerable anthropogenic impact.

E.g., semiparasitic dwarf subshrub (Arceuthobium oxycedri), is very harmful for juniper and causes its death.

One of the main factors of zonal invasion is the many-year driving of cattle from winter to summer, and back to winter, pastures. As a result of annual cattle driving, seeds of drought-resistant plants - cornflower (Centaurea), wormwood (Artemisia), mallow representatives (Malvaceae), Gentiana, Thermopsis, Boraginaceae, etc. - are spread over all mountainous zones. These species, inhabiting new areas, start forming independent coenosis, which replace communities of valuable indigenous high-productive plants.

Summer pastures are choked with rude grasses - goat grass Aegilops triuncialis, Taeniatherum crinitum, Ceratocephalus testiculatus, and noxious plants - heliotrope (Heliotropium ellipticum), trichodesma (Trichodesma incanum), thermopsis (

Share on


  • Newsletter on snow leopard conservation initiative in Tajikistan (April - June 2018)
  • Snow leopard conservation on the Pamir
  • Newsletter on snow leopard conservation initiative in Tajikistan (Jan.-Mar. 2018)
Publications archive

"Snow leopard - national treasure of Tajikistan"

The author tried to comprehensively explain a value of the snow leopard for both wildlife and people. The brochure describes biological and behavioral characteristics of a rare predator, its habitats, main factors threatening its population, international and national initiatives to preserve it, legends and real cases of snow leopard and villagers meetings in the Pamir and more. According to the author, he sought to change the image of a rare predator in the eyes of an audience that has a negative attitude towards the snow leopard, or knows very little about it, in order to understand how important it is for wildlife.

The full text you can find out contacting us via e-mail: biodiv@biodiv.tojikiston.com


Newsletter on snow leopard conservation initiative in Tajikistan (April - June 2018)

Newsletter on snow leopard conservation initiative in Tajikistan (April - June 2018)

The actions implemented by the project over the past quarter have made it possible to achieve significant results in improving the technical capabilities of specially protected areas’ staff and their skills in monitoring, to prepare a rationale for initiating practical actions to restore degraded pastures and forests, to increase to some extent the knowledge of local communities about the snow leopard and cause interest in its preservation, to form communication and the basis for cross-border cooperation.

For the full version, please send a request on the e-mail: biodiv@biodiv.tojikiston.com

Snow leopard conservation on the Pamir

Snow leopard conservation on the Pamir

The brochure contains the project summary and the results of working meetings with representatives of target partner organizations in GBAO project areas, describes decisions and recommendations received.

For the full version, please send a request on the e-mail: biodiv@biodiv.tojikiston.com

Newsletter on snow leopard conservation initiative in Tajikistan (Jan.-Mar. 2018)

Newsletter on snow leopard conservation initiative in Tajikistan (Jan.-Mar. 2018)

You can find out the full version of the Newsletter by sending a request to biodiv@biodiv.tojikiston.com