UPLB scientists discover new spiders
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - January 4, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Two scientists from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) have discovered two new species of spiders in Mt. Makiling.

The two new species – the orb-weaver spider Prolochus junlitjri and the comb-footed spider Chrysso makiling – were discovered by UPLB Museum of Natural History (MNH) entomology section curators Aimee Lynn Barrion-Dupo and Alberto Barrion.

MNH director Ireneo Lit Jr., in an article released on the museum’s website, said the discovery of the spiders fortifies the importance of the Makiling Forest Reserve as a key biodiversity conservation area.

“Spiders also deserve to be conserved and protected, especially because they help farmers maintain the population of pest species below economically damaging levels,” the museum director added.

The father and daughter tandem recently released their discoveries in two separate journals.

Found at the Molawin Creek in Mt. Makiling, the Prolochus junlitjri extended the distribution of the orb weaver’s genus from Burma, where the first species was found and described in 1895, to Luzon island.

With the discovery of the second species in the Philippines, Barrion said the Prolochus could now be identified as a separate genus from other orb-weavers.

Its four principal features are its total absence of posterior median eyes, dorsal abdomen without dorsal humps, shape of abdomen and palpal organ.

Meanwhile, the scientists described the newly-discovered comb-footed spider in the journal Asia Life Sciences.

Known for constructing an irregular web with sticky strands, Chrysso makiling was collected from small trees and shrubs near the mudspring area of the Mt. Makiling Forest Reserve.

It was the seventh species of the Chrysso genus discovered in the country, and the 33rd worldwide.

Dupo is also a professor of the UPLB Institute of Biological Sciences, while Barrion is the adjunct curator of spiders, parasitic hymenoptera and rice arthropods at the MNH.

Leaf insect named after Bonifacio

Earlier last month, Lit and another member of the MNH entomology section, Orlando Eusebio, officially named a leaf insect after revolutionary Andres Bonifacio.

In an article published in the Germany-based journal ARTHROPODA Generalis, the scientists said the newly discovered leaf insect is the tenth species of such kind found in the country.

MNH said the insect was collected during an expedition in northern Luzon by a team led by Rafe Brown of the University of Kansas and Arvin Diesmos of the National Museum of the Philippines.

“They chanced upon an adult female specimen during one of their collection trips and donated it to the museum in 2011,” said Lit.

He noted that they were able to have it lay eggs to produce nine offsprings, which underwent further research.

The name of the new insect was first revealed in 2013, in time for the commemoration of Bonifacio’s 150th birth anniversary.

AIMEE LYNN BARRION-DUPO AND ALBERTO BARRION ANDRES BONIFACIO ASIA LIFE SCIENCES BARRION BONIFACIO CHRYSSO INSTITUTE OF BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES IRENEO LIT JR. MT. MAKILING PROLOCHUS
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