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Write up for Pinoycentric.com

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Below is the write up I’ve done for Pinoycentric September, last year. Article can be accessed here.


“Stanley, it’s a Doliops! A Doliops!” A cry of elation emanated from a grove of trees as an avid entomologist (scientists who study insects) discovered a unique creature. Cupped in his big hands, lay a delicate insect feigning death. Doliops multifasciata, a rather uncommon longhorn beetle recently rediscovered after it was described as a new species in the early 1920s. Its golden sheen and exquisite pattern glistening in the mid day sun as me and a companion were in the rugged fastnesses of the Bukidnon hinterlands around four years ago.

Beetles, ubiquitous insects comprise the biggest group of insects, Order Coleoptera. Its varied forms has fascinated generations, helped shape agricultural practices as well as captivated many collectors and scientists through the last few centuries. I started collecting these dazzling insects after a few years of pursuing butterflies not only because of their intriguing forms and jewel like qualities but they are very much understudied as far as the Philippine setting is concerned. The more I have handled these creatures, the more I want to learn about their diversity and the uniqueness of the Philippine coleopteran fauna that sets it apart from the rest of the world.

To date, I have contributed about 10 species new to science with five named after me and several new distribution records for the Philippines and many more that are awaiting study. These have been collected from the northernmost island of Batan to the southern corridor that is Tawitawi and in the major islands and forests in between with majority of the collection coming from Mindanao.

As of now, identification down to the species level in my collection is quite overwhelming as many are still for description. There is still a lot of ground to be covered when it comes to Philippine beetles as not many scientists are studying them. What complicates matters is that most described species are in museums in Europe and the United States and publications are hard to find or no longer available and these were written not only in English but majority are in French, German, Latin and a few in Japanese.

An online resource, Salagubang.net was created to highlight the unique beetle fauna of the Philippines. The site has about 1,200 photos and around a thousand species photographed from my own collection. It also includes a checklist of beetle species that can be found in the country as well as a list of scientific papers/journals that I have amassed over the years with some published in the late 19th century.

It is hoped that this website and my collection will further the study and research of these important group of insects before the last stands of forests are cut down and a valuable scientific knowledge is lost forever.