Central Asian Subregion

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Central Asian Subregion


a subregion of the Holarctic zoogeographic region. It comprises the steppes, semideserts, and deserts of northern Kazakhstan and eastern Middle Asia; all of Afghanistan, Mongolia, and the Tibetan Highlands; and the steppes and semideserts of the European USSR. Some zoogeographers exclude the European USSR but include the Middle and Central Asian deserts and, sometimes, Iran.

The fauna of the subregion is primarily made up of ancient desert species and mountain species. Typical representatives, partially endemic, are the yak, Asiatic wild ass, chiru, addax, shrew, and numerous rodents, including the long-clawed ground squirrel, the ratlike and dwarf hamsters, Cricetus eversmanni, steppe lemmings, and high-mountain voles. The many varieties of jerboas include the five-toed pygmy jerboa, the fat-tailed pygmy jerboa, the earth hare, the hairy-footed jerboa, the fat-tailed jerboa, the little earth hare, and the combtoed jerboa. Gerbils from the Mediterranean subregion have reached the Central Asian subregion. There are very few bats.

Typical birds include Pallas’s sandgrouse, the pin-tailed sandgrouse, Pterocletes orientalis, bustards, little bustards, the demoiselle crane, Pander’s ground jay, the desert warbler, and various species of larks. The mountains are inhabited by snow cocks, sandgrouses, the mountain goose, the ibisbill, the crested tit-warbler, the paradise flycatcher (related to southern Asian forms), and rosy finches. Reptiles include Orsini’s viper, the Levantine viper, Echis, the cobra, toad-headed agamids, Agamida sanguinolenta, and the scheltopusik. Amphibians are comparatively rare.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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