Turanian BioProvince

Included within this BioProvince (as defined by Armen Takhtajan) are the deserts and semi-deserts of eastern Transcaucasia, the precaspian lowlands including the lower reaches of the Volga and Ural rivers, the eastern shores of the Caspian Sea to the basin of Lake Ala Kul, the Ust Urt Plateau, the Turan lowland around the Aral Sea, the Kara Kum and Kyzyl Kum deserts, the Muyunkum Sands, Bet-Pak-Dola and the Sary-Ishikotrau sands, the footshills of the Piedmont Plains along the Kopet Dagh and extending along the Pamiro-Alai and along the western Tien Shan, the intermontane valleys of the Mirzachcul, the Karshingsky Steppe and other plains of southern Uzbekistan. The geology is complex and varied while the climate is highly continental and exceptionally dry with steep daily and annual changes in meterological conditions. It is a temperate desert zone and even the Caspian Sea has little effect on the climate. In fact, the eastern shore of the Caspian is as dry and desert-like as inland areas. Endemism is well developed due to mountain formations in the late Tertiary isolating the area from neighbouring regions. The flora has over 30 mostly monotypic endemic genera including Alexandra, Bilegnum, Borszczowia, Chartoloma, Cithareloma, Eriosynaphe, Iljinia, Kirilowia, Kuhitangia, Lachnoloma, Londesia, Niedzwedzkia, Nikitinia, Octoceras, Ofaiston, Ormopterum, Piptoptera, Rhaphidophyton, Smirnowia, Soranthus, Spiraeanthus, Spryginia, Streptoloma and Sympegma, and numerous endemic species. One of the most represented genus is Artemisia with something like 100 species.

The following accounts for this BioProvince have been written or will be written with particular reference to endemic and locally important species. Accounts available are displayed in green or yellow. Those displayed in red are either in the pipeline or awaiting expert contributions.


Major Ecosystems
Endemic Vascular Plant Flora
Bryophyte Flora
Fungus Flora
Lichen Flora
Invertebrate Fauna
Amphibian Fauna
Reptile Fauna
Bird Fauna
Mammal Fauna
Conservation Status