Meet Angat Buhay beetle, one of new water scavenger beetles discovered in the PH

Published July 14, 2022, 2:12 PM

by John Legaspi

Ateneo Biodiversity Research Laboratory announced its recent discoveries

The Philippines has such rich biodiversity that is teeming with unknown creatures waiting to be discovered. Today, we get more knowledge about it as new species of water scavenger beetle have been revealed by the Ateneo Biodiversity Research Laboratory. 

Through the thesis of BS Biology student Enrico Gerard Sanchez, with the help of thesis adviser Dr. Emmanuel Delocado and co-adviser Dr. Hendrik Freitag from the Ateneo Biodiversity Research Laboratory of the Department of Biology, comes the discovery of Anacaena angatbuhay and Anacaena auxilium.

Photo from Ateneo de Manila University

The thesis, which was conducted in the middle of the pandemic and defended in April 2022, documents Sanchez’s study on the water scavenger beetles through his lab-at-home set-up. 

According to a news release by the Ateneo de Manila University, Anacaena angatbuhay’s name was hailed from the Angat Buhay, an anti-poverty program led by former Vice President Leni Robredo. Naming it after the program is a way to honor its “outstanding and unparalleled service, especially during the pandemic” and also a nod to “the countless Filipinos working for and with far-flung communities whose efforts were not widely recognized.” Discovered in Ifugao, Anacaena angatbuhay has existed for a while but remained unknown until the publication of the thesis, according to Delocado.

The other species, Anacaena auxilium, is named in homage to Mary Help of Christian High School Seminary in Binmaley, Pangasinan, where Sanchez took his junior high studies. Auxilium, a Latin term meaning “help,” “alludes to the need to pay attention to the vulnerable state of freshwater biodiversity in the Southeast Asian region.”

“The study used A. auxilium samples from Mountain Province in 1997 loaned by entomologist Dr. Wolfram Mey (Museum für Naturkunde Berlin) and from the pre-pandemic Ilocos Sur expedition of the Biodiversity Lab. In the scope of Sanchez’s thesis, it was determined that the specimens collected 22 years apart were the same,” Ateneo de Manila University reported. “Before this study, there was only one paper on Philippine Anacaena beetles, which Freitag co-authored.”

Sanchez’s study is now published online in ZooKeys, an international scientific journal. Read more about the new species of water scavenger beetle here

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