It’s just amazing how nature can shape insect appendages and forms in the race for cometition. In a New York Times article entitled Extravagant Results of Nature’s Arms Race Nicholas Wade wrote:
Competition among males is often expressed in the form of elaborate weapons made of bone, horn or chitin. The weapons often start off small and then, under the pressure of competition, may evolve to attain gigantic proportions.
This is indeed an interesting article and many samples of beetles, predominantly Scarabs and genus Onthophagus, are shown in the accompanying slideshow.
Dynastinae and several subfamilies of Scarabaeidae and Lucanidae have these armaments. In the Philippines, we also have several species of which Chalcosoma atlas LINNAEUS 1758 is a prime example. Xylotrupes gideon philippinensis ENDROEDI 1957, Theodosia rodriguezi NAGAI 1980 (right) and several species of Onthophagus are just a few other species. And of course, stag beetles, family Lucanidae, are one of the most spectacular.
Note: Thanx to Armand Frasco for sending me the link. Top photo from NY Times website is Onthophagus (Proagoderus) rangifer.
Thanx to my friend Jean Louis Boudant, who I have the pleasure of meeting last month, a female Schmidtiana species was made available to me. It came from Panay Island and I was excited that this might be a new species. However, upon checking my literature, Vives and Niisato described in 2004 S. boudanti. In their paper, the said species occurs in both Negros and Panay. No specific localities were indicated, however.
The genus Schmidtiana consists of six species from various islands representing five of the seven faunal regions in the Philippines. The Luzon region has two species with one occuring in Marinduque: S. sasajii NIISATO 2007 and S. ilocana SCHULTZE 1920 (first described as Pachyteria ilocana) from Luzon. S. gertrudis HUDEPOHL 1983 represents Mindanao; S. palawana SCHULTZE 1922 for Palawan and S. legrandi HUET & MORATI 2003 for Leyte and Samar. No Schmidtiana species have yet been found for the Sulu and Mindoro faunal regions.
Is this S. boudanti? Most likely. Eduard gave me one last year that was collected in Panay, a female, and its just similar to it.
According to Eduard Vives in his paper Cerambicidos nuevos o interesantes de Filipinas (Part II) (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae), the Phoracanthine species that I have previously blogged about is in fact Paraskeletodes gracilis AURIVILLIUS 1927. This is a new record for the Philippines and the second species of the tribe to be found in the country.
Aurivillius described this first as occuring in the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia and according to Vives, hasn’t been collected since. This surprising find further supports the close affinity of the Philippine and Sulawesi fauna. In August 2007, I blogged on a Calomera sp. (Cicindelidae) that has the same case.
At last, the paper of my friend Eduard came out and it is the second installment in his study of Philippine Cerambycidae and entitled Cerambicidos nuevos o interesantes de Filipinas (Part II) (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae). I’ve been waiting this second part as I have contributed many specimens here. These were either new records for the Philippines or new species with some named after me and one on my mother.
This issue from Magellanes features 32 longhorns including 17 new species of which I have contributed 10, 7 of which are new.
The genus Engertia DALLA TORRE 1912 (Melolonthinae, Scarabaeidae) consists of five described species from Sri Lanka to New Guinea. In the Philippines, one is described while two are new and undescribed species. As listed in Denis Keith’s paper Reflexions sur le Genre Engertia et description d’une nouvelle espece des Philippines (Col. Scarabaeoidea Melolonthidae) (Lambillionea, 2006), the genus has the following species:
- maculosa BRENSKE 1896 (Sri Lanka)
- amboinae BRENSKE 1897 (Moluccas)
- papuana MOSER 1913 (New Guinea)
- setifera MOSER 1913 (Moluccas)
- lii KEITH 2006 (Philippines – Leyte and Palawan Islands)
Engertia lii KEITH 2006
This species also occurs in the island of Mindanao where my specimen was collected. Judging from the localities where this species occur, it might be found nationwide as Leyte and Palawan represents two different biogeographical regions (faunal regions) with the latter considered part of Sundaland.
The light colored pubescent markings on the pronotum and elytra are quite delicate and are easily rubbed off and I have collected other specimens where the pronotum is almost bare.