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Young scientists discover new species, push teaching of endemic flora and fauna


By Philippine News Agency

Two young scientists from the University of Mindanao urged schools to teach students the species of flora and fauna endemic in the Philippines instead of those found in other countries, after they discovered new species.

Philippine Flora and Fauna (Credits: Flickr | Manila Bulletin)

Philippine Flora and Fauna (Credits: Flickr | Manila Bulletin)

Milton Medina and Analyn Cabras made the call as they presented their newly-discovered endemic species of flora and fauna during the regular Habi at Kape press conference at the Abreeza Mall in Davao City on Wednesday.

Both researchers also called on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to establish critical habitats and protected areas for endemic species in the country, especially those considered endangered.

Moisture, they added, is part of the ecosystem and biodiversity that supports endemic flora and fauna species in the country.

Destruction of forests will destroy the ecosystem that will endanger these endemic species and eventually cause their extinction, the researchers added.

Cabras presented to the media new species of Pachyrhynchus belonging to a hyper-diverse family of beetles called weevils.

The new species, Pachyrhynchus miltoni, were found in the hinterlands of Marilog District in Davao City.

“The new discovered species was named after young researcher Milton Medina, who obtained the material for identification from Barangay Baganihan, Marilog District,” Cabras said.

Pachyrhynchus miltoni, she added, is closely related to Pachyrhynchus speciosus samarensis and P. Kraslavae but differs in the shape of aedeagus (male genitals) and features of the coloration of the body.

Cabras said there are approximately 51,000 species of weevils under 4,600 genera in the world – and in the Philippines, one of the most conspicuous weevils is a member of the genus Pachyrhynchus.

Medina, on the other hand, presented the new species Hoya (Apocynaceae) that was found in Valencia City, Bukidnon province.

“Recently, a new species was added to the Genus Hoya in the Philippines and named Hoya reyesii in honor to Dr. Ricardo Reyes, a plant grower and hobbyist who collected the plant sometime in 2014,” Medina said.

Dr. Reyes personally handed the plant species to Medina for detailed examination.

The examination ran for three months and included the description of both the vegetative and reproductive characters using stereomicroscope procedures in accordance with the rules of International Code for Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN), Medina said.

The newly-discovered species was closely associated with Hoya amorosoae species that can be found in Mt. Hamiguitan in Davao Oriental, he added.

“The size of the flower is as small as the head of the common matchstick, hence making the species one of the smallest in the section of Acanthostemma,” Medina described.

He said the morphological descriptions of the new species were validated and confirmed by Robert Dale Kloppenburg in Fresno, California, USA. Kloppenburg is a world leading expert in Hoya.

Both scientists said they are now reviewing the inventory of fauna and flora species that are endemic in the country.

The result of the inventory will be transformed into reading and learning materials that can be used in schools to help educate schoolchildren about the country’s endemic species.

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