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Mt. Nacolod nestles rare beetles specie

SLT 1235

October 21-27, 2023

Image 1. A–D. (left) Metapocyrtus silago sp. nov.; A. male holotype, dorsal view; B. female, dorsal view; C. ditto, male, lateral view; D. ditto, female, lateral view. Image 2. A–D.(right) Metapocyrtus nacolod sp. nov.; A. male holotype, dorsal view; B. female paratype, dorsal view; C. ditto, male, lateral view; D. ditto, female, lateral view. (Photo from the paper of Dr. Ann Cabras et al. (2023)

SOUTHERN LEYTE – Two beetles specie have recently been discovered in Mt. Nacolod at the forested mountain of Silago town, Southern Leyte; initially during a biological feasibility assessment in 2022. These are named Nacolod Torquoise Beetle, scientific name, Metapocyrtus nacolod; and Silago Blue Beetle, scientific name Metapocyrtus silago. They were named after the place where they were found.
These Silago beetles were revealed by Ann Cabras of Davao Oriental State University, and Tristan Senarillos and Jayson Ibañez of Philippine Eagle Foundation in Ecologica Montenegrina, a known peer-reviewed publication journal in ecology, biodiversity, botany and biogeography. The journal previously stated that there have been more than 260 known Metapocyrtus species in the Philippines.
The study described the Nacolod Torquoise Beetle with having “a broad subtriangular scaly patch of iridescent turquoise round scales with a golden-yellow sheen on each side of discs and three broad transverse bands of similar scales in the elytra;” and the Silago Blue Beetle with the reddish-brown protective layer of its thorax and wing cases.
The Campus Director of Southern Leyte State University-Hinunangan Campus, Wade Lim, said in an interview that those beetles were familiar to him during childhood years in Mt. Tabjon, where he spent his growing up years in Mt. Nacolod Forest Range. He reminisced that he used to play with those beetles as live toys.
“Mt. Nacolod is a key biodiversity area. It shares the same biogeographic region with Mindanao in terms of species distribution. When the ice age was over and continuous shifting of the shelf over thousands of years, Eastern Visayas became a separate region. However, some species remain similar although there were also quite a number of differences due to speciation as a result of natural selection,” Wade Lim said.
“The pristine ecosystem of Mt. Nacolod hosts a number of flora and fauna. As a key biodiversity area (KBA), Nacolod is considered a potential biodiversity hotspot if the government will not push serious protection and conservation measures,” Lim said further. He also plans to schedule an annual scientific expedition in Mt Nacolod. “I know that there is still a lot to be discovered,” he said with much hope.

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