New family of moths discovered in Kazakhstan

A study in Insect Systematics & Evolution describes a new family and two new species of moths discovered by a group of researchers at the Finnish Museum of Natural History.

This research is quite important because discovering two new species belonging to a new family of moths can be comparable to discovering, for example, new species of mammals that do not belong to any other known family.

“It is also exceptional to describe a family on the basis of species never seen before. From time to time new families are described, but such descriptions are mainly based on the reclassification of relationships between known species,” reports Lauri Kaila, lead author of the study and researcher at the University of Helsinki.

The newly discovered species live in Kazakhstan, are well adapted to the hot desert conditions and have been named Ustyurtia zygophyllivora, and are included in the new Ustyurtia family.

“The recently described Ustyurtiida family, named after the region where one of the species was discovered, has also clarified the position of the Urodidae in the family tree: according to DNA analysis, the new family is a sibling group of the Urodids,” reports Maria Heikkila, Luomus researcher and other author of the study.

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