History of the Entomology Laboratory

The Entomology Laboratory was established in 1946; its first head was Professor A. S. Kosmachevsky. Initially 2 researchers (A. I. Petrov, L. A. Yukhnevich), a graduate student (L. S. Pashina), and a laboratory assistant (G. V. Palamarchuk) worked in the laboratory besides him. Kosmachevsky studied cricket biology, Petrov studied apple moth, Yukhnevich studied blister beetles, and Pashina studied wild bee fauna and biology.

Since 1950 the Laboratory was headed by Prof. P. I. Marikovsky. Since that time the most active and systematic study of entomofauna of Kazakhstan and the rapid growth of scientific personnel of entomologists began. Within 5 years I.A. Kostin, N.B. Shlykov, L.A. Yukhnevich, V.G. Kovalenko, G.Y. Matesova, A.S. Plaksina, I.D. Mityaev and L.S. Pashina defended their PhD theses.

Researches of the Laboratory of this period were rather versatile, but two main directions prevailed: 1) insect pests of plants and 2) fauna, systematics, ecological and geographical features, trophic relationships of the principal groups of phytophagous and entomophagous insects. In the fifties, the study of insects damaging fruit and berry crops and tree and shrub species in different landscape zones of the republic was predominant. P. B. Shlykov studied pests of poplar in the south of Kazakhstan, I. D. Mityaev studied poplar and tamarisk, L. A. Yukhnevich and I. D. Mityaev studied elm in the southeast, P. I. Marikovsky studied saxaul, I. A. Kostin studied spruce and A. S. Plaksina studied biology of the mulberry moth.

Much work during the same years was done by G.Y. Matesova, I.D. Mityaev, and L.A. Yukhnevich on the study of insects and mites damaging fruit and berry crops in Kazakhstan. From 1954 to 1960, we systematically surveyed cultivated and wild fruit and berry plants, but the entire territory of the Republic. On the basis of these long-term, mostly original, materials the monograph including 612 species of the insects and mites damaging in this or that degree the specified plants was published. During the same years, I.A. Kostin studied insect stem pests of coniferous forests, R.F. Beresneva studied stocks of stockyards, and N.V. Moiseeva studied pasture wormwood. A.T. Tilmenbaev studied sharp-headed bugs damaging crops of grain crops in the north of the republic.

In 1954-1961, the laboratory was headed by M.S. Shakirzyanova. In those years, in addition to the study of crop pests, studies of gadflies, mosquitoes, biting midges (V.V. Shevchenko, H.A. Aibasov, M.S. Shakirzyanova) were conducted. Later an independent Laboratory headed by Professor V.V. Shevchenko was formed in this direction.

In 1961, P. I. Marikovsky returned to the Laboratory. The systematic-faunistic direction became predominant in investigations, although individual works were carried out in terms of the past decade: Thus, parasitoids of apple-tree moths were studied (P. I. Marikovsky, K.3. Kulenova, A.T. Tilmenbaev), insects damaging turanga (X.A. Aibasov), juzgun (K.O. Yelyubaev), sand acacia (M.N. Seitova), decorative plantations of Alma-Ata (A.G. Lomakina).

Considering that the knowledge of the role of insects in nature, agrocenoses, protection of rare, unique, endangered species, qualified regulation of harmful species are possible only with a comprehensive and in-depth study of individual taxonomic groups, a great place in the laboratory was taken by comprehensive research. Since the beginning of the 1960s the entomofauna of the republic has been surveyed on territorial basis. The Laboratory staff has studied insects of the Eastern (1961, 1962), South-Eastern (1963-1965), Southern (1966-1968), Western (1969-1972), Northern (1973-1977) and Northeastern (1978-1982) Kazakhstan. Directflies (S.R. Nasyrova), cicadas (I.D. Mityaev), leafhoppers (Zh. M. Ivanova, L.G. Khlebutina), coccids (G.Y. Matesova, O.A. Chekmeneva, R.V. Yashchenko), aphids (N.E. Smailova, M.Y. Volkina, R. Kh. Kadyrbekov), bed bugs (R. B. Asanova, B. V. Iskakov, D. Childibaev), beetles (I. I. Kabak), staphylines (B. V. Iskakov), leaf beetles (K. 3. Kulenova), lamellar beetles (G. V. Nikolaev), click beetles (R. S. Tugusheva), bark beetles, bark beetles, whiskers (I. A. Kostin, A. S. Badenko), wasp sphecids (V. L. Kazenas), bee-eaters (T. P. Marikovskaya, V. K. Zakhvatkin, T. I. Scherbakova), ants (P. I. Marikovsky, S. Bursakov), pteromalid ichneumon flies (K.A. Janokmen), scent flies (X.A. Aibasov, A.B. Zhdanko, T.M. Kenzhekhanov), gallic flies (P.I. Marikovsky, 3.A. Fedotova), bombid flies (D.J. Begimbetova). Not only the fauna and systematics of the above groups, but also their trophic relationships, statistical and landscape distribution, zoogeography, biology, and importance in nature and agrocenoses are studied.

X. A. Aibasov and R.B. Asanova from 1957 to 1962 studied scales and bedbugs as part of a biocomplex expedition of the USSR Academy of Sciences in Central Kazakhstan. Under the leadership of P.I. Marikovsky, a group of collaborators (A.I. Ivannikov, V.L. Kazenas, S.S. Tyurebaev and others) worked in the 70s to find biological means to control weeds in the pastures of Kazakhstan. The main attention was paid to phytophagous insects of Creeping Thistle, Sophora lisotaille and Thickleaf. Preliminary results were obtained for their practical use in biological control of these weeds in the country.

Since 1973 the Laboratory was headed by Dr. I. D. Mityaev. D. Mityaev, who held this position until 1995. At that time the Laboratory studied fauna according to the zonal principle, which gave an opportunity to better understand and decipher the main ways and stages of its genesis and the importance of insects in zonal biocenoses. First the entomofauna of forest-steppe and steppe of Kazakhstan was studied, then the mountains of eastern, southeastern and southern Kazakhstan. Since 1988 researches were conducted in the zone of North-Turan, partly South-Turan deserts. Diverse studies of individual groups and complexes of insects in riparian forests (E.V. Ishkov) and agrocenoses of major field crops (A.E. Slivkin) in southeastern Kazakhstan were also conducted. Influence of anthropogenic factors on composition, number and structure of populations of separate indicator groups was studied.

In January 1995 the laboratory was headed by V.L. Kazenas, Doctor of Biology. In 1995 the group of soil zoology headed by V. A. Kascheev, Ph. A. Kashcheev, and the laboratory of arachnoentomology, headed by Prof. T.N. Doszhanov. The number of laboratory staff increased to 24, but by the beginning of the 2000s, due to regular staff reductions, the number of staff decreased to 14.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, the laboratory conducted research on the following topics (sections): “Biodiversity of insects and spiders in mountain, arid and riparian ecosystems of South, East and Southeast Kazakhstan” (until 1996), “Biological bases of rational use of venom-producing spiders of Kazakhstan” (1996-1999), “Species diversity of insects and spiders in different ecosystems of South-East Kazakhstan” (1997-1999), “Species diversity of insects and spiderworms in mountain ecosystems of South and South-East Kazakhstan” (2000-2002), “Ecological characteristics of insects of steppe zone, their role in steppe ecosystems and economic importance” (2000-2002), “Insects and spiderworms of riparian ecosystems of Semirechye” (2003-2005), “Insects and spiderworms of pasture areas of South-East Kazakhstan” (since 2006. to the present time).

Topics of the laboratory throughout this period corresponded to the priority environmental direction of biology in Kazakhstan, associated with the conservation and rational use of biodiversity of the republic. The species diversity of insects and spiders in different ecosystems mainly in the territory of South-Eastern Kazakhstan was studied. New data on dynamics of composition and structure of entomocomplexes depending on degree of influence of anthropogenic and some natural ecological factors were received.

Biological and ecological features of species of some groups (directflies, cicadas, coccids, aphids, bedbugs, swarming wasps, pteromalid ichneumon flies, staphylinids, beetles, grasshoppers, daytime moths, spiders) were studied, their distribution, number, confinement to biotopes, role in nature and importance for humans were clarified. An in-depth study of their biology and ecology was carried out for a number of species of direct-winged, bee, semi-straw-winged, equal-winged, beetle-grass, woodworm, swarming wasps, pteromalid ichneumon flies and other insects.

In general, through the efforts of entomologists of different generations who studied entomofauna of Kazakhstan, about 20 thousand species of insects have been registered in the country. In the 1990s and 2000s, a number of researchers were working on grants and contracts. I.D. Mityaev and R.V. Yashchenko studied tamarisk phytophages for their use in biomethods of weed control in the Western Hemisphere. Experts from China, Turkmenistan, Israel and USA participated in this international program (since 1995).

The work on “The fauna of CIS daytime butterflies” (A.B. Zhdanko, 1996-1998) was carried out at the expense of a grant from J. Soros. A comparative study of swarming wasp types described from India, Pakistan, and Southwest Asia was carried out at the Natural History Museum in London (V.L. Cazenas, 1997) using a grant from E. Mayer (Harvard University Museum of Comparative Zoology). At the expense of the Ministry of Ecology and Bioresources, a comprehensive entomological survey of the territory of the Ermentau Nature Reserve was conducted to clarify the prospects of establishing a reserve on this territory (R.H. Kadyrbekov, 1996). Under a grant from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, coccidological research and advanced training were conducted at Kyoto University in Japan by R.V. Yashchenko (1996, 1997).

In 1998-2000 a group of arachnologists under INTAS grant carried out work on the theme “Biodiversity of spiders (spiders, scorpions, saltpogs) and dominant species of insects as bioindicators of environmental conditions in arid landscapes of the East and North-East Kazakhstan”.

Т. P. Marikovskaya with the support of a GEF grant carried out work on conservation and restoration of bee species in the foothills and lower belt of the Zailiisky Alatau mountains (1998-2000).

А. B.Zhdanko participated in study of clubworms of the former USSR under INMOOO grant (2002). A collective monograph was published.

А. V. Gromov and I.D. Mityaev collected materials on dynamics of the state of populations of rare invertebrate species in Kazakhstan and development of new categories of red-listed invertebrates under INTAS grant (2001, 2002).

Five researchers (V.L. Kazenas, R.V. Yashchenko, E.V. Ishkov, A.B. Zhdanko, and V.A. Kashcheev) conducted research on estimating the state of entomofauna and organizing monitoring of fauna of Aksu-Jabagly reserve (Trans-boundary project on biodiversity of Western Tien-Shan. 2002).

П. A. Esenbekova and V.L. Kazenas conducted research on attracting beneficial entomophagous wasps to artificial nests under a grant from the MacArthur Foundation (2000-2001).

М. K. Childebaev conducted ecological and faunistic surveys of locusts in Irtysh district of Pavlodar oblast and in Shymkent oblast in 2001-2002 as a member of the Locust Ecology Laboratory of the Kazakh Research Institute for Plant Protection.

Р. H. Kadyrbekov participated in scientific research on INTAS grant “Strategy of animal population of the Aral Sea desiccated bottom” (2002, 2003).

И. I. Kabak took part in the work on the international scientific project “Catalog of rigid wings of Palearctic” (2000-2003).

М. K. Childebaev, V.A. Kashcheev, A.B. Zhdanko, R.H. Kadyrbekov, A.V. Gromov studied impact of pesticide pollution caused by chemical control of locusts on non-target species” in Northern Kazakhstan under a grant of Asian Development Bank (2002).

Under contracts with several research and production firms, insect biodiversity status was assessed at several sites of upcoming drilling and oil pipeline laying in the Northern Caspian Sea (V.L. Kazenas, R.H. Kadyrbekov, A.B. Zhdanko).

К. А. Janokmen studied pteromalids at the Natural History Museum in London under grants from the Royal Society of Great Britain (1999, 2004, 2005), at the National Museum of the USA in Washington under a grant from the Smithsonian Institute (2001), at the Museum of Natural History in Budapest and at the Laboratory of Parasitic Insect Systematics at Köszeg under a grant from the Ministry of Agriculture and Regional Development of Hungary (2001) and in the Islamic Republic of Iran (Pistachio Institute, Rafsanjan) with financial support from the Ministry of Agriculture of the Islamic Republic of Iran (2007).

В. A. Kashcheev, V.L. Kazenas, M.K. Childebaev, and A.V. Gromov participated in 2004-2005 in the international project of UNDP “Integrated Conservation of Priority Global Wetlands as Migratory Bird Habitats: Demonstration in Three Project Areas”. They conducted ecological and faunistic survey of the Ural delta, Alakol and Tengiz-Kurgaljin lake systems in entomological aspect.

In 2006, the laboratory staff took part in preparation for the publication of the “Red Book of Almaty Oblast”, in 2006 and 2007. – In 2006 and 2007, the laboratory staff participated in the preparation for the publication of the “Red Book of Almaty Oblast” and “Monitoring of the Mangistau Oblast Wildlife”.

It should be emphasized that the work on grants and economic contracts was carried out in parallel with the work on the main budgetary themes, and extrabudgetary funding was also used to the maximum extent for the implementation of budgetary programs (mainly for fieldwork).

In the last years of the XX century and at the beginning of the XXI century the publishing activity of the Laboratory increased significantly. During this period about 500 scientific works have been published. Many of them were published in the journal “Tethys Entomological Research”, which is published by the scientific society “Tethys” with direct participation of Laboratory staff since 1999. A significant number of articles have been published abroad, especially in Russian publications. An important achievement of the Laboratory is the publication of major monographs: R. B. Asanova on semi-hardwings (1996), Z.A. Fedotova on gallicidae (2000), A.B. Zhdanko with co-authors on daytime moths (2001, 2005, 2006), V.L. Kazenas on digging wasps (1998, 2000, 2001, 2002), I.D. Mityaev on cicadas (2002), M.K. Childebaev with co-authors on spotted moths (2001, 2002, 2004), V. A. Kashcheyev on bibliography of staphylinids (2003), P.A. Esenbekova and V.L. Kazenas on breeding of useful hymenopterans (2003), and also a collective monograph on biodiversity of Aksu-Jabagly Reserve (ed. A.F. Kovshar, 2002). The bibliographic summary by V.L. Kazenas and N.G. Romanenko “The basic literature on insects of Kazakhstan and adjacent areas” in 3 parts (the first two parts were published in 2007) and the book by I.D. Mityaev and R.V. Yashchenko on tamarisk phytophages were prepared for publication. Several textbooks and popular science books were published: “The Red Book of Kazakhstan” (a large team of authors), “The Red Book of Almaty Oblast” (a large team of authors), “The Amazing World of Invertebrates” (I.D. Mityayev, R.V. Yashchenko, V.L. Kazenas), “Dangerous Arthropods of Kazakhstan” (V.L. Kazenas, A.V. Gromov), “Dangerous Animals of Kazakhstan” (V.L. Kazenas) and others.

At the end of 2006 the Laboratory was joined by the Malacology Group consisting of the leading researcher K.K. Uvalieva and 2 junior researchers.