/ 16 July 2022

TWO new species of water scavenger beetles were discovered by an undergraduate student of the Ateneo de Manila University and his thesis advisers.

The beetles were discovered by BS Biology student Enrico Gerard Sanchez, his thesis adviser Dr. Emmanuel Delocado, and co-adviser Prof. Dr Hendrik Freitag from the Ateneo Biodiversity Research Laboratory.

One of the new species was named after “Angat Buhay,” the social services program of former Vice President Leni Robredo.

Discovered in Ifugao, Anacaena angatbuhay was named “to honor the program’s outstanding and unparalleled service, especially during the pandemic.”

“The species’ name is a nod to the countless Filipinos working for and with far-flung communities whose efforts were not widely recognized,” the university said.

The second beetle was named Anacaena auxilium, in honor of Mary Help of Christian High School Seminary, which Sanchez attended during his junior high school.

“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,” ADMU said.

“In the scope of Sanchez’s thesis, it was determined that the specimens collected 22 years apart were the same. Before this study, there was only one paper on Philippine Anacaena beetles, which Freitag co-authored,” it added.

Ateneo said the study is noteworthy because it was conducted in the middle of the Covid19 pandemic using an innovative lab-at-home setup.

It added that Sanchez performed sorting and dissection at home, with several virtual walkthroughs and Zoom consultations with Delocado and Freitag.

The authors also also utilized courier services to transport samples and materials among the authors, then later did specimen observations and photo documentation when the campus reopened.

“When the pandemic restrictions became lighter, and the campus reopened, specimen observation and photo documentation using more suitable equipment was performed,” ADMU said.