New beetle species discovered in Mindoro
MANILA, Philippines — Two recently-discovered species of spider water beetles have shown potential for use in water quality monitoring, a study published Tuesday, August 6, said.
The 2 new species, under the genus Ancyronyx, were both discovered in Oriental Mindoro by researchers from the Ateneo de Manila University's Department of Biology, led by Dr Hendrik Freitag.
The first one, Ancyronyx buhid, was discovered by researchers in the ancestral lands of the Buhid tribe in Roxas, Oriental Mindoro. The second one, Ancyronyx tamaraw, was identified among older collections of unidentified specimens, and was determined to live in the waters of the Tamaraw Falls in Puerto Galera.
Both species were found by the researchers, who initially intended to study the larvae of known Ancyronyx species, in clean water bodies in Mindoro.
The researchers said the Buhid Spider Water Beetle (A. buhid) is a potential bioindicator species, or an organism that can help check the health of an ecosystem.
It fulfills the criteria of bioindicators, the researchers said: A. buhid is only found in clean water ecosystems, and absent in polluted streams. It is also easily identifiable.
"The vivid and specific color patterns of adult Ancyronyx species enabling an easy identification, as well as the availability of regional identification keys for both, larvae and adults, allow their potential use as bioindicators," the paper said.
A. tamaraw, on the other hand, is "too rare to serve as a good bioindicator," they noted.
Of the 20 known species of spider water beetles, "11 of them are endemic to the Philippines and cannot be found anywhere else, indicating that the country is the diversity center of this genus," the researchers said in a media release.
"It emphasizes the importance of the country as a biodiversity hotspot at global scale," they added.
The area where the new beetle species were found is of "very high biological importance and extremely high critical conservation priority," but is facing "high socioeconomic pressure" and only subject to moderate conservation efforts.
The paper was published in the open-access journal Zookeys. - Rappler.com
Freitag H (2013) Ancyronyx Erichson, 1847 (Coleoptera, Elmidae) from Mindoro, Philippines, with description of the larvae and two new species using DNA sequences for the assignment of the developmental stages. ZooKeys 321: 35–64. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.321.5395