Prior to 2005, the occurrence of the cerambycid genus Procleomenes in the Philippines was unknown even if there are already twelve other species described and can be found in East and Southeast Asia stretching from mainland China to the Malay Peninsula and on to Borneo. First described by Rondon and Gressitt in their landmark work Cerambycids of Laos (Pacific Insects Monograph 24: 1-314, December 1970) these are rather small insects usually about a centimeter long from clypeus to abdominal apex and width of usually around 2mm. Like the other related beetles in tribe Cleomenini, these are often encountered during the months of March – May, and in my experience, at elevations 3000 ft above sea level, when many forest trees are abloom and they gather amidst the cluster of mostly little white flowers up in the treetops with other kinds of insects.
In the November 2005 issue of Elytra (Vol. 33 No. 2), the journal of the Japanese Society of Coleopterology, Eduard Vives and Tatsuya Niisato, in their paper
Occurrence of Procleomenes (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae) in the Philippine Islands,with descriptions of Three New Species described for the first time the occurrence of this beetles in the country, three new species in fact with two I have contributed. The species are:
- Procleomenes ebiharai VIVES & NIISATO, 2005
- Procleomenes cabigasi VIVES & NIISATO, 2005
- Procleomenes philippinensis VIVES & NIISATO, 2005
Procleomenes ebiharai (A) was collected in Mt. Halcon by the Japanese Hiroyuki Ebihara in March 1993. Of the two specimens examined by the authors, all are females. One is deposited in the National Science Museum in Tokyo while the other is in the private collection of T Niisato.
P. cabigasi (B) and P. philippinensis (C) were both collected in Bukidnon in April 2002. All are females and are single specimens. These were intended originally for my collection and were already mounted and framed but I sent it to E. Vives for identification and thought that these were of the same species both male and female until he emailed to tell me that these are really two different and new species! As these are holotypes, these are now deposited at the Museu Zoologia Barcelona in Spain.
The authors mentioned that P. ebiharai and P. cabigasi belong to the P. borneensis group (another species that is found in northern Borneo) and thus have a close affinity with the Bornean fauna. P. philippinensis on the other hand have some relationship with P. elongatithorax, Gressit and Rondon’s type specimen for the genus by way of body form. The latter is from Indochina.
It can be said that the two species from Mindanao, coexisting with one another, may have come from different lineages as mentioned above but as of now, it is still hard to establish considering that more material is still needed. If specimens were collected in Mindoro and Mindanao, it is safe to say that with more collecting efforts, much more specimens is still possible to be found in many major islands like Luzon, Palawan, Negros, Samar and Leyte and these will surely be new to science.