PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Philippines—Scientists have discovered a new species of beetle that dwells in the mountain rivers of Southern Palawan and said the find indicated that the Philippines was the world’s “center of diversity” for beetles.
Dr. Henrick Freitag and and Dr. Michael Balke of the Senckenberg Museum of Zoology Dresden and the Bavarian State Collections of Zoology in Munich described the new species of the Spider Water Beetles (Ancyronyx) as having “extremely long legs, often accompanied by an eye-catching cross-like elytral color pattern, so that they remind of spiders.”
The discovery was disclosed in a news release posted on Oct. 18 by EurekAlert!, an online global news service operated by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world.
According to the two German scientists, the presence of the beetles in undisturbed mountain rivers of Palawan indicated that the river system was in good biological health and strengthened the reputation of Palawan as an important area of biodiversity.
“The new discoveries from the Philippines lead to the assumption that the region is the actual diversity center of the genus. By now, ten of the 18 described species are known solely from the Philippines, of which most are endemic to the country or even to single islands,” Freitag said in the statement published online.
The new beetle species was discovered in a research undertaken early last year in cooperation with the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development and the De La Salle University Manila, the EurekAlert! report said.
The activity that led to the discovery of the new beetle was part of the foreign-funded research program Aqua Palawana that had been exploring the unique freshwater biodiversity of the Philippines and the biosphere reserve of Palawan for more than a decade, the report added.
Other new species of plants and animals, particularly a white orchid and a mountain shrew, have been reported in recent years after scientists surveyed portions of the newly proclaimed Mt. Mantalingahan Protected Landscape, Palawan’s longest mountain range.
The areas described by scientists in surveys as being biologically diverse, including the Anepahan Range in central Palawan, have recently been a point of contention between conservation groups and mining companies eyeing the vast ore resources underneath, particular nickel and cobalt.