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3 new species found in Bicol

By Mavic Conde

A false gecko, a cricket, and an Amorphophallus are among the new species discovered from the Bicol region, three separate papers published this year revealed.

Their discoveries all tell one thing: further field works are necessary to get a full grasp of their distribution, although they may be already at risk of extinction due to environmental degradation resulting in habitat loss.

The Pseudogekko hungkag, for instance, is classified in the paper published in journal Herpetologica as “data deficient.” In the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) category, this means a lack of information about the species’ range, habitat requirements, and conservation status.

The IUCN is the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it.

The P. hungkag is the 10th Philippine false gecko whose name was derived from the word hollow, because of its preference for tree cavities and similar microhabitats.

The same is true for the six new cricket species described in the paper published in the journal Zootaxa. The Lebinthus magayon, found in Mt. Malinao in Albay province, was one of them.

According to the study, more unknown species from the genus Lebinthus can be discovered if there are more samplings.

Likewise, the Amorphophallus caudatus found in Abasig-Matogdon-Mananap Natural Biotic Area (AMMNBA) in Camarines Norte has only about 250 mature plants observed in the area. Its small population makes it a critically endangered species as per the IUCN category, according to the study published in the Nordic Journal Botany.

Like the poorly documented Amorphophallus luzoniensis, the A. caudatus has a verruculose spadix, a similar leaf shape, and ovary size. However, the latter has larger leaves, and a longer stalk, and an inflated base and caudate upper half that terminates into a long tail-like tip.

Yet despite the limited information available about these new species, it cannot be understated how their identification adds to the knowledge on these species and their range. One of the study authors above hopes that these discoveries inspire greater protection for the wildlife and our planet’s biodiverse landscapes.

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