In Kazakhstan saxaul plays an important role in maintaining the balance of the desert ecosystems, which represent a considerable part of the country. Due to their extensive root system, saxaul plants prevent desert areas from shifting sands. Nowadays the area of naturally occurring saxauls is seriously limited under the influence of anthropogenic and some biotic factors. Insects feeding on leaves, flowers, seeds, tunneling the stems, shoots and roots cause changes in its growth and development and influence the life span. In 2013–2014 a total of 34 species belonging to 13 Lepidoptera families were found to damage saxauls in the desert zone of South-Eastern Kazakhstan, Almaty region, Balkash and Jambul, the region of Moinkum.
Lepidopteran species (Insecta: Lepidoptera) feeding on saxauls (Amaranthaceae) in desert areas of South-Eastern Kazakhstan