The ornithological collection of humeral bones made by O.V. Mitropolsky and M.G. Mitropolsky

The ornithological collection is an integral part of the collection of humeral bones, which also includes the collections of mammalians. The collection of humeral bones of birds and mammalians was initiated by O.V. Mitropolsky, Dr Sci. (Biol.), the head of zoological-parasitological laboratory at Uzbek Anti-Plague Station of the Uzbek Ministry of Public health, in 1995 and continues until now. Practically from the very beginning of the establishment of this collection, M.G. Mitropolsky, an associate of the Gosbiokontrol of the State Committee for Nature Protection has been participating in its stocking and processing. Currently, the total number of specimens has reached 5768.

The selection of humeral bones as objects for collection has been predetermined by a number of reasons. According to preliminary findings of the authors subsequently confirmed by studies, the humeral bones show species-specific traits. The humeral bone is one of the most important parts in the post-cranial skeleton, which clearly corresponds to the total body weight. In the evolutionary aspect, the humeral bone is quite conservative morphologically. However, it conserves the overall structure for large phylogenetic groups, while in terms of individual species it shows real sex-age markers. All the above-stated facts allow using humeral bones for the analysis of different ecological-morphological aspects.

The obvious benefit of collection of humeral bones is the simplicity of collection. Compactness and the opportunity of a limitless maintenance of specimens enable the creation of rather extensive collections, on the basis of which it is possible to solve various theoretical and practical tasks. So, the analysis of humeral bones enabled the authors to make the study of different factors of death of birds and mammalians more systemic, monitor of the state of populations, evaluate the extent of the use of biological resources, the dynamics of ranges and numbers of individual species.

The main sources of collection are those from animals that died on the roads, under electric lines and in fish nets; from animals that died resulting from climatic factors and as preys of hunters; collections of pellets of birds of prey, particularly of owls; and from written-off collections of skins. Targeted collections of rare species are carried out in limited numbers and under special permits for the creation of model specimens.

The collection of avian humeral bones includes 259 species (63.9%) of the avian fauna of Uzbekistan. These are the representatives of the orders Pelicans, Storks & allies, Nightjars, Hoopoes; Owls constitute 87.5% (7 out of 8); Gallinaceous, 85.7% (6 out of 7); Pterocletes & Pigeons, 75% (9 out of 12) ; Falcons & allies, 73.2% (30 out of 41); geese & allies, 68.4% (26 out of 38); Woodpeckers, 66.6% (2 out of 3); Grebes, 60% (3 out of 5); Passerins, 55.8% (120 out of 215), Cranes & allies, 50% (7 out of 14); Shorebirds, 33% (24 out of 72); Cuckoos and Swifts, one species each.

In the territorial respect, the most numerous collections are those from the near-Tashkent plain lands - 25.6% of all collections (114 species) and those from the Desert Kyzylkum, 20.4% of all specimens (152 species). Quite diverse are the collections from western Tian Shan - 767 specimens of 83 species; those from the valley of the River Zarafshan - 597 specimens of 56 species. The amount of collections made in remaining 11 districts constitutes 0.1 to 2.5% of the total number of collected specimens. Seventeen specimens of 15 species (0.3% of all collections) have been obtained from the Russian Federation, Azerbaijan and Germany. An insignificant number of specimens do not have a specific location (1.5% of all collected specimens).

The authors personally collected 3406 specimens. A rather significant stocking of the collection became possible owing to the work of twenty voluntary and disinterested assistants, whose activities are connected with biology and environmental protection; as well as hunters and nature-lovers. The most appreciable contribution to the collection of humeral bones was made by B.I. Dyakin (666 individuals from western Tian Shan), S.E. Fundukchiev (455 specimens from Samarkand and Bukhara provinces), D.Yu. Kashkarov and S.V. Zagrebin (269 specimens from Tashkent province), V.Yu. Sudarev (162 individuals from Tashkent province and Aidar-Arnasai lake system), and N.V. Marmazinskaya (121 specimens from Zaravshan nature reserve).

Collected specimens are tagged with individual labels; they are kept in special wooden cases and cardboard boxes, depending on their size. All collected specimens are recorded in a collection register, including details of their finding, measurements, generative state of individuals and other information. A complete electronic database in the format of Microsoft Access is available.


© Compiled by Roman Kashkarov
Translated by Javkhar Khodjaev
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Last modified: 13.02.2010