Lepturinae and Vesperinae, subfamililies of Cerambycidae are a bit understudied in the country. Compared with neighboring areas like Taiwan, Borneo and mainland Southeast Asia where a good number of species have been collected and described, Philippine species from these two subfamilies are so poorly known.
From correspondence with Eduard Vives who drew up a provisional checklist of Cerambycidae, there are only 9 species of Lepturinae belonging to 8 genera and a single species, Philus lumawigi, under Vesperinae. Its a bit puzzling that for a country so rich in fauna, these are the only ones that, so far, are known.
Below are the species of Lepturinae and Vesperinae known in the country:
Philus lumawigi HUDEPOHL, 1990
Asilaris quadrifasciatus SCHWARZER, 1931
Ephies philippinensis SCHWARZER, 1931
Ephies hefferni HAYASHI & NARA, 1996
Metalloleptura prasina HELLER, 1913
Stenoleptura (Philippinostrangalia) apoensis OHBAYASHI & SATO, 1974
Elacomia collaris HELLER, 1916
Leptostrangalia angustolineata GRESSITT, 1935
Heffernia filipina VIVES, 2005
Trypogeus cabigasi VIVES, 2005
Again, there is a need to have a systematic field collection that should be done specifically for these group of longhorns. I’m not really sure if these are found in the lowlands but in my experience collecting in Bukidnon, these are rather abundant during the months of April to May in treetops at rather high altitudes (about 3,000 ft asl). I have also collected a female Stenoleptura apoensis SATO & OHBAYASHI, 1974 on June 2001 hovering around the dried branches of a fallen tree at a forest clearing. For Versperinae, I’ve read a paper before that indicates that these are attracted to lights during the night.
You might want to check the following pages in this site:
It is exactly 20 years ago that Karl Hudepohl first published his landmark series on the Philippines’ cerambycid beetles. His The Longhorn Beetles of the Philippines was a very commendable work that consolidated for the first time the unique cerambycid beetle fauna of the country. Consisting of three parts, he was able to cover the subfamilies Prioninae and majority of Cerambycinae before old age overtook him.
The series was not just a checklist. It was an exhaustive review culled from the diverse body of work that has accumulated over the many decades that Philippine Cerambycidae has been collected and studied not only by him but also those done by other workers. The three papers led to 37 new species, subspecies, combinations and synonyms from the said subfamilies. It covered 145 species from 57 genera. Of the known subfamilies present in the country, Disteninae, Lepturinae, the very large group of Lamiinae and 5 tribes of Cerambycinae are still to be treated.
Part I (Entomologischen Arbeiten aus dem Museum G. Frey, 35/36, 1987) covered subfamily Prioninae. It included 16 species of which four are new belonging to 11 genera from two tribes.
Part II (Entomofauna Zeitschrift fur Entomologie, 11-3, 1990) covered Parandrinae (1 species), Vesperinae (1 species) and 5 tribes of Cerambycinae. It included 50 species from 29 genera. 13 are new species, 1 new subspecies and 3 new synonyms.
Part III (Entomofauna Zeitschrift fur Entomologie, 13-21, 1992) was a continuation of Cerambycinae with 5 tribes. 79 species were included from 17 genera of which 6 are new species, 10 new synonyms and 2 new combinations.
From 1992 until the present, several new species and new records have been described and published and I do hope that someday, Hudepohl’s work will be updated and continued.
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.
When I started out with collecting beetles, I have kept in touch with entomologists (scientists who study insects) who helped me in the identification as well as led to the description of new species for Science. Foremost is Eduard Vives, a Catalan entomologist who has already published several papers on Southeast Asian Cerambycid fauna in European and Japanese scientific journals and he has described many new Philippine species that I have provided. Below are the following species that were described by Eduard Vives in two publications:
- Trypogeus cabigasi VIVES, 2005
- Heffernia filipina VIVES, 2005
- Aliboron bukidnoni VIVES, 2005
- Cereopsius cabigasi VIVES, 2005
- Epipedocera cabigasiana VIVES, 2005
- Nidella stanleyana VIVES, 2005
- Doliops ismaeli VIVES, 2005*
He has also teamed up with Tetsuya Niisato, a Japanese entomologist and have published two other papers with descriptions of three new species in Elytra:
- Schmidtiana boudanti VIVES & NIISATO, 2004*
- Procleomenes cabigasi VIVES & NIISATO, 2005
- Procleomenes philippinensis VIVES and NIISATO, 2005
There is still so much work to done on Philippine Coleoptera and as far as this and succeeding posts are concerned, a focus on the longhorn beetle family, Cerambycidae will be given.
23 July 08 update: I have created a page specifically to highlight species that I have contributed. Check this page out.
*from another collector
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.