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    MOSCOW, JANUARY 6, 2004. /RIA Novosti/ -- An exhibition featuring rare and little-known butterfly species, which inhabit Moscow and the Moscow region, opened at the State Darwin Museum in Moscow on Tuesday. The museum thus continues to acquaint its visitors with endangered animal species.

    Moscow still boasts ambrax butterflies, nymphalids (i.e. brush-footed butterflies), brown argus butterflies, peacock butterflies, elephant butterflies, as well as hawk butterflies and some others. 150,000 butterfly species roam the world, with Russia accounting for more than 10,000 of the grand total.

    Talking to RIA Novosti, museum officials noted that at least 620 butterfly species lived in the Moscow region alone. As a matter of fact, butterflies make their appearance each spring together with the first resurgent insects. Meanwhile some butterflies, such as mourning-cloak butterflies, peacock butterflies, etc., can be seen already during winter-time thaws because they hibernate, after reaching adulthood. They can rightfully be called centenarians among other Russian butterflies because they live for more than 10 consecutive months. At the same time, most other species last for several days and even hours.

    People usually think that butterflies are bright, multi-colored and fairly large insects fluttering over flowers in broad daylight. Well, this is not so because most butterflies are tiny, unobtrusive and nocturnal insects, which can hardly be called beautiful. However, some really attractive species do exist; their list includes Moscow's largest blue ribbon butterfly with an 11-centimeter wingspan.

    More than 25 percent of all butterfly species (76 species, all told) are considered rare all over the city.

    The Moscow municipal government's nature-use and environmental-protection department instituted the Moscow Red Data Book in 2001.

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