Tour to Neocene
The changes occuring in the Neocaenic world, had affected practically
all areas of the Earth. Increase of air humidity had resulted to that areas,
earlier had being deserts, now turn to places rich in vegetation. Such areas
became in Neocene plains of Central Asia - former deserts Gobi, Takla Makan,
Kara Kum, Kizil-Kum. Numerous lakes and short rivers now dot these former deserts,
transforming them to bush savannas. In winter instead of keen frosts and plentiful
snowfall here there are rains and only small cold snap. Only in the coldest
winter months light frosts keeping of some days are possible. But spring, summer
and autumn are remarkable by heat and moderate humidity. Such climate promotes
prosperity of life in these places.
The vegetation of plains of Gobi represents extensive bush thickets. Bushes of sea-buckthorn (Hippophae), лоха (Elaeagnus), raspberry and blackberry bushes (Rubus), steppe species of cherry (Cerasus), breeding by root shoots, cover wide areas near rivers and lakes. Far from water bushes are replaced by high grasses, and on boggy places willows, canes, reed mace and sedges expand richly. And this world is full of animals.
Now it is the end of summer – the time of ripening of berries and seeds. Among grass it is possible to notice spotty red backs of small mammals, keeping by group. They are rodents - bushgophers, descendants of suslics. When deserts and grassy plains began to recede under an impact of bushes, the part of plain species had adapted to the inhabiting in the new environment. Suslics became one of such successfully adapted species. Now they do not dig long holes, and build in bush thickets drays of grass and prickly branches. Bushgophers are social animals, settling by big colonies - "towns". Places of such settlements are easy for noticing - grass near them is more shortly and thicker because these small mammals constantly eat up it. From fodder area of the colony pathes to other sources of food, to berry bushes, lead. Bushgophers willingly swarm up bushes, eating juicy berries. When at the end of summer berries ripen, bushgophers are completely passing to this tasty seasonal forage. But thus small mammals visit thickets of graminoids and gather ripe seeds. Their small mammals will carry in cheek pouches to their drays and will hide in special storehouse chamber. The pair of bushgophers occupying this dray, will feed by this grain during the winter when other forages will be not so accessible. On a kernel filling cheek pouches, bushgophers are fed with young grass. However they should be on alert: in these places the predator, to which small rodents rather to taste had appeared.
From bush thickets the huge sandy-yellow lizard - the running monitor - is shown. It seems huge, more reminding the lean crocodile, than the lizard. On the head behind eyes of the lizard few large scales stick up by semicircle, forming something like "crown" - such ornament mature males have on their heads. The sand coloring shows that the big lizard had crawled from stony uplands, and not long time ago. While the big lizard is too swept up on the background of greenery, but in some days this colouring will be changed to cryptic striped one and then the reptile can expect for more successful hunting.
The running monitor lifts its head up above grass and some times tries air by tongue like snake. Feelings have not brought the reptile - nearby bushgophers eat grass. The big lizard is hungry, therefore it begins hunting immediately. Being hidden in grass, the monitor lizard starts to creep to nothing suspecting rodents eating rich grass. From time to time it tries air by tongue, as if not trusting its own feelings. But when to desired catch only a little more, than one successful throw was, hunting is broken: from bush one of bushgophers jumps out loudly cheeping. It was fed with berries, and from height had noticed light yellow giant on the green grass background. Immediately all bushgophers begin movement: they run away by high jumps, having pulled up and having fluffed up tails. White stain of the inner side of the tail are an alarm signal.
Trying to prey the bushgopher, the running monitor rushed after them: it jumps up on hinder legs, and rushes for skipping rodents, as if a dinosaur. The narrow head of the reptile clicks by sharp teeth literally near a paw of one bushgopher, but the rodent nevertheless slips away from a predator at last moment. The chance is missed.
The monitor lizard can not pursue catch at the long distance - its metabolism does not promote it. Therefore the reptile runs absolutely small distance, pursuing bushgophers, and then stops. The monitor lizard pants: it had given all the best in this throw. Even if now the bushgopher will approach closer, than it is necessary for a successful throw, the lizard can not catch it - rest is needed for this purpose. And the monitor lizard hides in bushes, hungry and tired.
Not only to bushgophers the nature gives plentiful entertainment: among bushes larger animals, huge saigochenias, hoofed herbivore mammals are fed also. Due to three-meter growth and long proboscis these animals became unique animals in these places, eating foliage of trees and large bushes. At the end of summer they willingly eat berries of steppe cherry and sea-buckthorn. Seeds of these plants are carried away with manure of the saigochenia, therefore both species of bushes profit from such cooperation.
But also to other species there is an advantage of saigochenia feeding: bushgophers willingly eat the overripe berries falling on the ground when the giant turns in to itself branches of a plant using the proboscis. But bushgophers should be cautious and jump aside in time, when the saigochenia shifts from one foot to the other. But ripe berries and full safety from predators become the award to cautious small mammals. The monitor lizard will not dare to hunt, when bushgophers are hidden in grass at legs of the giant saigochenia, otherwise it can expect sound impacts of hoofs of these giants. Saigochenias do not pay attention to the bushgophers scurrying under their legs, but the monitor lizard can be dangerous to the calf, therefore the saigochenia mother always keeps an eye on the monitor lizard having appeared nearby and tries to drive it off.
On backs of saigochenias berryfinches, tiny birds with striped back and red belly, fall. Usually they eat vegetative food, but the saigochenia’s back for them is the set table. Finches peck parasites sitting in wool of the saigochenia, relieving the monotony in the menu. Such procedure almost does not bring anxiety to saigochenias. However when the finch sits on the head of the saigochenia female and starts to handle by thick beak in dangerous affinity from an eye of the animal, the saigochenia shakes a head and banishes the importunate doctor.
Finches swarm up legs and neck of the saigochenia, but especially frequently they are late in long mane of males which covers the basis of neck, shoulders and chest of animal. One of such long-manned males feeds near coast of lake, browsing leaves of young willows. He does not pay attention to birds scurrying on his body. Now at the saigochenia the rut begins, and the male is anxious mainly with search of females. Usually males are solitaries, and females keep by small groups –it is more easy to protect cubs this way. And only during pairing males join groups of females, within several days frequently coupling with them and driving away competitors. The breeding season passes very roughly: the organism of the male is overflown with hormones. They stimulate enlarging of rich mane and aggressive behavior in relation to other males. And to increase the hormonal level, males resort to the help of natural stimulators. Near reservoirs on enough damp nutritious ground one plant grows, desired for males of the saigochenia - the bush lily. In the beginning of summer it flowers by clusters of light white flowers, and in second half of summer the elevated part of plant starts to dry out. In ground the fragile friable bulb stays up to which saigochenia males in breeding season are especially having an urge. Juicy bulb scales of this plant are rich in stimulating substances, therefore males try to find them, sniffing the ground by long proboscis. Having sensed a desired smell, the male starts to dig ground by hoof. Soon from the ground bulb appears which falls to scales because of careless hoof impact. Simultaneously from the damaged tissues of plant sharply smelling substance starts to exude. The saigochenia male greedy devours few bulb scales of lily, and then lies down and starts to wallow on the dug out ground, pulling by long legs in air. The odorous substance from the crushed lily is absorbed in his wool, giving to it a characteristic pungent smell. Also the sexually active saigochenia male likes to wallow on other odorous plants like mint or sagebrush. Dilligently "having perfumed", the giant goes to searches of females. Thus he utters the sounds involving females ready to pairing: the male blows out the proboscis and nasally blows.
Four females by group go down to the watering place on the bank of shallow rivulet. While three of them drink, the fourth one is on the alert: she looks around and listens, trying to sense possible danger in good time. Then one of the females had quenched its thirst replaces her on guard. Animals drink slowly, rising heads after several drinks. The easy breeze wafts to them a smell causing at animals the big interest: it is the smell of the male amplified with smell of grasses, in which that one had wallowed. One of females is ready to pairing, and she utters thin peep through the proboscis. And it is heard: on an opposite bank of the stream from bushes the male appears. It does not smell females: the wind blows from him. Therefore the giant passes shallow stream wade and carefully sniffs at all females, being late on one ready to pairing. The male sniffs serially at heads, shoulders and tails of females, and then blows by proboscis and starts to accompany with this group.
Some days passed. Saigochenias have a rest in thickets of sea-buckthorn, eating berries. All four females are already pregnant, but the male still does not leave them. He protects the harem and territory from contenders who regularly appear on borders of his possession. It is visible, that the male is appreciably exhausted: bad feed has an effect. During a rut males can not eat and not sleep till some days in succession, thus they strongly exhaust themselves.
On border of his possession other saigochenia male is shown: young, not completely matured. His mane is short and thin, and he keeps still very uncertainly, constantly smelling around. The owner of territory and harem leaves to him towards. It is visible, that it was not sweetly to him in breeding season: he had become emaciated, and his body is covered with bruises and traces of stings. Contenders appreciately look against each other, and then simultaneously rear and beat each other by forward legs. The mane softens impacts, but it is visible, that more mature male loses to young one. The young male comes, beats legs and eventually fells the contender on the ground and bites him. Now he is a lawful owner of harem. But... when the youth approaches to females, proud of unexpectedly easy victory, those practically do not pay attention to him. The youth blows by proboscis, rears before females, but it does not make impression on them. Females had already started to bear cubs and they are not interested by males. When the newly appeared winner approaches to one of females, she jumps up, having blowing out the proboscis, and beats the male sideways by the bent forward leg. Impact not painful, but strong - the male understands, that here he has nothing to wait, and leaves females.
The rut at bushgophers will start later - in early spring. And to summer they already will have cubs. If they will be lucky to survive, to autumn they become independent.
When saigochenias find out relationship, noisily running one after another, or colliding by chests, from under their legs scared bushgophers jump out. Small mammals run up and hide in bushes where their settlements are located. The shelter of the bushgopher is hidden in the thicket of branches and its entrance in addition is strengthen with sticks of prickly bushes, gnawed out and carried here specially for protection against uninvited visitors. The short wattled corridor, frequently common for several drays, ends by the living chamber and extensive "pantry" where seeds of grasses for winter are poured. In each hole pair of small mammals and their posterity before maturity live. Animals constantly repair shelter, change litter and fill up forage stocks. While adult animals are occupied with home efforts, young bushgophers are eaten off preparing to forthcoming winter. They are more mobile than adults, and they can get with dexterity on bushes behind berries. Comfortably having arranged on the firm branch, one young bushgopher, without spots on the back, feasts on hot sunny place. Taking from cheek pockets the gathered berries, small mammal eats them. But it does not lose vigilance: danger can appear from everywhere. And soon the bushgopher notices in bushes at distant edge of glade the suspicious moving. For one second from grass the long narrow head had appeared, "threw" by tongue and had hidden again. The running monitor had going to hunt again. Warning chirp is listening and all bushgophers hide in bushes. However the monitor lizard is not so silly and monotonous in methods of hunting too. Its narrow head on the long neck allows the reptile to survey drays of bushgophers, what are located at edge of the "town". The reptile slowly approaches to bushes where terror-stricken bushgophers had stood in shelters. The monitor lizard had already replaced colouring: now its body is decorated by cross strips, and the body is colored in grey and green.
The narrow head on flexible long neck starts to survey one dwelling of bushgophers before another. Some drays appeared empty, one more appears too deep. But the body of monitor lizard has climbed in bush little bit more deeply, has stood for one second, and then jerky has left back. In teeth of monitor lizard the lifeless body of the young bushgopher dangles. Having thrown it in air, the monitor lizard catches prey more conveniently and has swallowed it. Then the reptile has slowly left a colony of small mammals, having gone to get warm on the sun.
Finches observed at this scene from tops of bushes. They practically do not afraid of monitor lizards: they fly quickly. But the nestlings had dropped out of nests or careless badly flying fledglings frequently became prey of huge reptiles. Now survived birds can be quiet: the monitor lizard precisely will not catch them, while they are healthy. Finches scurry in bush thickets, eating berries - the basic forage at the end of summer and the beginning of an autumn. Young birds, which can be distinguished from adults on less bright feathering, are already fed independently. But they should be cautious: the hunter also traps them. When the young berryfinch pecks berries, four large shining berries which are sticking up on fruit spurs among greenery involve its attention. The inexperienced bird has got in trap: it approaches to the death closely and closely. And at that moment when the finch has tried to peck up one of these berries, ruthless spiny legs have gone into its body. The finch has fallen a victim to large insect - the cherry soothsayer. Four "cherries" appear only bladders filled with air on bends of its walking legs. Powerful forward legs of the soothsayer keep fluttering finch, and mandibles of insect put stings quickly killing catch. When the catch stops resisting, the huge insect creeps to the convenient branch where starts to tear catch. Basically at the bird body the soothsayer eats away only pectoral and leg muscles, throwing all rest on the ground for pleasure to numerous flies and bugs. This animal is the female. Males of these species are smaller, besides they are able to fly and do not differ in such appetite.
Having refreshed itself, the female starts to involve the male for pairing. She keeps all legs for the tree branch, having raised an abdomen up. On the end of abdomen the special repugnatorial gland turns out and in air delicate specific aroma is spreading. This invitation to pairing influences on males irresistibly - soon on the branch where the female is sitting, uttering dry paper rustle three males falls at once. When first of them finds the female, she hides the repugnatorial gland and the male gets on it from above. And while the male carries out the duty to the nature, the female turns to him and quietly decapitates the groom do not resisting to it. Then she starts to devour his body still continuing pairing. For millions years while soothsayers exist on the Earth, their breeding rituals had remained same awful.
Some days after pairing the soothsayer female lays some egg capsules on leaves from the bottom side. After that she ceases to eat - she has executed the parental duties, and now she is waited with fast death. But from eggs larvae soon burst. They fall on the ground and first time are fed very originally: finding rotting berries, the tiny soothsayer sits near it and catches tiny insects, flying to be fed up. It quickly grows, and up to an autumn cold snap has time to molt few times and to grow up from 5 millimeters up to 2 centimeters. Young insects bury in foliage and wait winter in hibernation. But it will be possible to the little part of them: bushgophers include insects in the diet, and they especially love tiny soft soothsayers.
More and more time a circle of life is closed. In the nature always it happens so - only one of set of predators will grow to maturity, and practically any herbivore will not die the natural death... excepting the male of saigochenia. Exhausted by rut, males of this hoofed mammal species in huge amount perish an autumn. The share of dead ones among old males is especially high: hormonal changes and exhaustion kill practically all males older than five years while females live much longer. This is the payment for an opportunity to have posterity.
But anything in nature does not vanish completely: the dead saigochenia male becomes an object of attention of running monitors. Near the carcass of large animal at times up to ten of them gather. Huge lizards tear apart belly of dead animal, peel skin and devour its interiors and flesh. They accumulate fat before wintering, therefore they try to not waste time on fight or rivalry. In some days they eat all rests of begun to rot meat also will go away.
Winter in Central Asia of Neocene time is enough mild: is allows even heat-loving tropical species to occupy bushy plains. But to the north, on border of Europe and Asia, on the western spurs of northern Ural the climate is only a little softer than that was in far Holocene. And there struggle for life passes not less sharply, than at the warm south.
Cherry soothsayer (Cerasomantis giganteus)
Order: Soothsayers (Mantoidea)
The huge predatory insect living in branches of bushes. It
grows to length 30 cm at thickness of flat body only 1,5 cm; thus, the body
volume of this insect nevertheless is not so big, despite of size, and its tracheal
respiratory system copes with maintenance of the body with oxygen.
This insect eats other insects and tiny vertebrates, to time of fruit ripening it becomes sexually mature and is fattened by birds, trapping them in branches of bushes. In connection with change of diet during life the insect has age change of appearance. The young not sexual matured insect at first looks like stick (all legs and body are thin, painted like bark color). Later, when the insect had increased in size (approximately up to 13 - 15 cm) leaf-looking outgrowths on forward prehensile leg pair develop, simulating leaves. The body and walking legs during all life have bark coloring, the relief pattern allowing the insect to imitate bark more precisely is only increased at them. At an adult insect prehensile legs imitate large leaves slightly eaten round by insects, body is wide, with scalloped outgrowths on edges and pattern imitating bark. On joints of walking legs flat roundish outgrowths of bright red color representing ripe berries develop. Due to this the soothsayer can attract the possible prey - tiny birds eating berries. It frequently catches young berryfinches. This catch is rich in proteins necessary for egg formation. The female of the soothsayer is large and wingless, the male is longer (length up to 20 cm), winged and more graceful.
The breeding season begins at the end of summer and passes the same way as at all soothsayers. The female attracts the male by odorous secretions of abdominal glands. One pairing which traditionally costs to the male its own life, suffices for the female to lay 5 - 6 capsules (oothecas) with eggs, on one hundred or more eggs in every one. At the beginning of autumn the female lays last capsule and perishes. Eggs are left with larvae which spend winter, having hidden in fallen leaves or ground cracks. Up to the falling to hibernation they start to eat and have time to molt once. When the spring begins young soothsayers leave shelters and begin feeding by insects on branches of bushes.
Running monitor (Suchovaranus velox)
Order: Squamates (Squamata)
The large predatory lizard of plains and foothills up to 2,5
- 3 meters long. Constitution is very harmonous, half of body length accounts
for thin tail, head and neck makes up in length about half of body length (not
including tail). Head is very narrow, the skull is compressed from sides, neck
is mobile and flexible. Teeth are sharp, inclined back, similar to knife blades.
On the head there are lines of large convex scales, forming at old animal the
"crown". Legs are long and thin, leg position is almost vertical.
Hind legs are 1/3 longer than forepaws, the animal can run small distances on
two legs. Claws on fingers are adapted for catching and holding of small catch.
Coloring of body is changeable: from striped greenish grey in bush thickets
up to almost one-color sandy-yellow one. Moving in new habitats, the animal
changes coloring during two - three days.
This lizard lives in thickets of bushes, hunts small animals and birds, sometimes eats carrion. It hibernates in holes which digs by itself or occupies existing ones. To wintering the basis of tail strongly gets fat because of fat stock necessary for successful hibernation. In spring in breeding season males arrange fights, pushing by "crowns". Females lay up to 15 eggs in small hole and do not care of posterity. The posterity hatches after 2 months of incubation. Sexual maturу animal becomes at the age of 6 years, lives till 30 years.
Berryfinch (Cerasipyrrha pyrrhuloides)
The small bird (in size it is less than sparrow), descended
from the modern bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula). Due to people this species of
birds presently have received advantages in survival: artificial plantings of
trees had expanded its forage reserve. Bullfinches are rather usual birds in
cities in winter time.
The berryfinch had decreased in size: this is the adaptation for existence in conditions of a hot summer of the Central Asia (the relative surface of the body is increased). Bird keeps in winter in large flights (up to 50 - 100 birds), which are separating by summer to breeding pairs. Wings are short, tail is long, flight of the bird is fast and maneuverable. Coloring of the body is bright: body top is brown with white cross strips on wings, head is black with green metal shine at males (head of the female is matte). Stomach of the male is bright red with violet shine, at the female and young males it is brown with light strokes along feathers. Beak is thick and black. Birds eat fruits of bushes, eating pulp together with seeds. The bird can split large fruit stones, reaching an edible kernels. In winter bird can eat insects, finding them in cracks of a bark.
In middle of spring the breeding season begins at these birds. Inside flights pairs are formed which occupy appointed territory and build nest looking as a deep cup of grass and sticks in the richest thickets. In nesting period birds keep reservedly, but nearer to an autumn when bushes fructify, these birds meet by big flights. Nestlings are feeding by insects, but later they change it to vegetative food. In clutch there is up to 5 eggs, both birds (the female in the afternoon, the male at night) hatch. The young growth is feed up by both partners. For summer breeding pair hatch usually 2 hatches, in droughty years - only 1.
Voice of a bird is mellow singing, shout of alarm - the shrill long chirp.
Bushgopher (Dromocitellus canicula)
Order: Rodents (Rodentia)
The small rodent, the descendant of modern ground squirrels
(Citellus). The animal has increased in size in comparison with an ancestor,
had adapted from burrowing habit of life to ground running one. This rodent
builds wattled drays of grass and sticks in bushes, lives the big colonies ("towns"
numbering up to 40 - 50 drays). Sometimes the large colony almost completely
rounds up group of bushes. In middle of thickets, in the most safe place the
dray of dominant pair is placed.
The animal is 25 - 30 cm in size, length of the tail is 5 - 6 cm, weighs up to 1,5 kg. By proportions it reminds small short-legged dog. Hind legs are longer than forelegs, the waist is a little bit higher than shoulders. The frightened animal highly jumps up, uttering shrill squeak - the sound of alarm. Paws are thin, digitigrade, fingers are not concrescent, in case of need the animal can bring forage to the mouth by paws, swarm up bushes and run fast. The head is large, short, has cheek pockets. Ears are short, slightly jut out from wool. Eyes are big, animal has keen sight. Coloring of the body is ochre - red with large white spots on the back, stomach and throat are white. The tail is covered with rich hair, the bottom side of it is white. In case of danger during an alarm jump the animal presses tail to the back and fluffs up its white inner side, making it well seen. Cubs have no white spots on the body before sexual maturity.
Bushgopher keeps by big colonies (up to 60 - 120 animals), in every colony there is the dominant pair. At the lowermost step of hierarchy young animals have not formed pairs stand. Pairs are rather constant, sometimes they are kept up to the end of life. Pair keeps amicably, animals spend a lot of time together, feed and clean each other, together build and repair the dray. The male can bring forage to the female when it looks after cubs. Per one year it is 1 pack, 7 - 8 cubs (in droughty years - only 2 – 4 ones). Cubs are hairless and blind, become covered by wool at 10-th day, begin to see clearly for 15-th day of life. From monthly age they start to eat food of adult animals. Sexual maturity comes at the age of 4 months, life duration is about 4 - 5 years.
Saigochenia (Saigochenia dolichops)
Order: Even-toed ungulates (Artiodactyla)
Picture by Leonard Popov and Eugeny Hontor
Picture by Pavel Volkov - initial image
One of hoofed mammal species survived in climatic changes
and ecological accident of the end of Holocene and the epoch previous to Neocene
was the saiga (Saiga tatarica). This species have shown the viability in late
Pleistocene and Holocene: the saiga has gone through extinction of mammoth fauna
(it was one of its components), and in XX century from dying out species saiga
became numerous and trade one, sharply having increased the number as the result
of protection. The saiga is unpretentious animal, capable to live without drinking
water a long time and to eat rigid grass. This species tolerates keen frosts
of continental climate of the Central Asia. In other words, it has many opportunities
for the survival.
The saigochenia is the descendant of the saiga had adapted for inhabiting in light forests and thickets of bushes which began to cover plains of the Central Asia in Neocene. The shape of this animal had changed in comparison with an ancestor. The saigochenia had became larger, but more graceful, legs and neck of the animal were elongated. Coloring of wool from one-colored yellowish ("desert") one became spotty: on yellowish background there are small black spots on shoulders, hips and crupper. On the crown there is a bunch of long white hair. The head from short became wedge-shaped, horns had decreased also they had became similar to hornets of the giraffe, and the proboscis was enlarged and became high-grade prehensile organ, as at South-American fossil mammal Macrauchenia. Due to the trunk saigochenia had got an opportunity to eat branches of bushes and small trees at height up to 3 meters. Horns are reduced, as for such fragile long-necked animal competition with each other by butting had became unsafe for life. Saigochenias establish superiority, pushing by necks and shoulders. Shoulders of males are covered with long hair like lion's mane. Sometimes such mane grows on chest and mounts to the stomach. The size of mane correspond to the level of the contents of sexual hormones in organism of the male, therefore females prefer to be coupled to more mature "long-manned" males. Also contending males estimate each other the size of mane before the possible breeding fight. The dominant "long-manned" male gathers harem of several females and protects it from contenders. It declares the right on a harem, uttering loud low through the proboscis. Usual voice of the saigochenia is the silent snort similar on horse’s one.
The rut occurs at the end of summer when berries ripen and it is possible to food by many kinds of forages. At this time males search for the bulbs of bush lily containing stimulating substance. In spring the female gives rise to pair of cubs which stay with it up to new season of pairing. Cubs are born well-developed, in some hours after birth are capable to follow mother. Sexual maturity comes at 3-rd year of life, life duration is till 30 years.
Bush lily (Leucolilium stimulatum)
This seasonally green plant is the species of bulbous plants
of family Liliaceae. It grows among thickets of bushes in woodlands of Central
Asia. Plant prefers damp habitats, growing more often near reservoirs. Stem
is high, upright, leaves grow by whorls of 7 - 8 ones. Flowers are clear white,
gathered in cluster of 4 - 6 floscules. Inflorescences grow at top of the stalk
and in axils of top leaves. Flowers emit the strong smell involving pollinating
insects at night. This species blooms in the beginning of spring, seeds ripen
to the middle of summer. By the end of summer the elevated part dries out.
The bulb of bush lily contains substances, by the chemical structure similar to sexual hormones of the saigochenia, therefore in breeding season these herbivores search by smell and dig out its bulbs. Now the similar way maral deer in Siberia search for the plant leuzea (Leuzea (Rhaponticum) carthamoides), or "maral root", rich in stimulating substances.
Fragile scales of lily bulb is the guaranty that the animal will not destroy all plant entirely. If in ground even a little of bulb scales will remain, each of them will grow to new bulb after two or three years.