The UPLB Journal of Natural History

Laksambuhay. Biodiversity.

The name “laksambuhay” coined from the Tagalog words laksa meaning abundant, numerous or multitude (although originally literally referring to ten thousand) and buhay meaning life, refers to the megadiverse nature of our country, the Philippines, which is home to a huge number of plant, animal and microbial species known nowhere else but in this part of the world.

Laksambuhay, is believed to have been coined by environmental advocates in the 90s and at least to our knowledge, one of our former colleagues, Mr. Danilo S. Balete. Through this, we also pay homage to them and to UPLB’s heroes of biodiversity, and pledge that we will keep the torch of the science of systematics burning.

Featured ArticleS

Ophiophagy in the Philippine Endemic Luzon False Coral Snake Hemibungarus calligaster (Wiegmann, 1834) on Gervais' Reed Snake Calamaria gervaisii Dumeril, Bibron, and Dumeril, 1854 and the Importance of the Rabor Collection in Philippine Natural History

The Philippine False Coral Snakes of the genus Hemibungarus are found in northern and central Philippines. Included in this group is the Luzon False Coral Snake Hemibungarus calligaster (Wiegmann, 1834), an elusive but very common coral snake in areas with layers of humus and dense herbaceous vegetation. This enigmatic snake has an unknown natural history. While ophiophagy has been noted in several snakes, it has not been formally documented or captured in the said species. A remarkable and historical documentation of the predation behavior in the species, particularly by its subspecies Hemibungarus calligaster calligaster (Wiegmann, 1834) by Dr. Dioscoro S. Rabor† was recorded during an ongoing inventory of amphibians and reptiles in the Zoological Collections of University of the Philippines Los Baños Museum Natural History (UPLB MNH)

Preliminary Survey of the Diversity and Community Assembly of Macroinvertebrates in the Watershed Streams of Mount Makiling, Laguna, Philippines

Aquatic macroinvertebrates are distributed in varied habitats and one where their diversity is most highly concentrated is in tropical forest streams. Despite their many ecosystem services, limited data are available on their biology and ecology in the Philippines. This study aimed to determine the diversity and community assembly patterns of macroinvertebrates in the watershed streams (Molawin, Cambantoc, and Sipit) of Mount Makiling, Luzon Island, Philippines. A total of 27 2.0 x 5.0 m (10 sq.m.) quadrats were randomly set along the three watersheds divided into three stations (downstream, midstream, and upstream). The physico-chemical and habitat features of the streams were measured. Standardized sampling was performed via direct handpicking, kick and sweep technique, and cascade sieving of substrates. A total of 1,358 individuals (four classes, nine orders and 22 families) were collected from the four streams. Hexapods (16 families) constituted 74% of total abundance, followed by gastropods (14%). Molawin had the highest diversity index (H’=2.06) while Cambantoc had the lowest (H’= 1.20). Both Molawin and Sipit had the high taxon evenness (E=0.52) while Cambantoc had the lowest (E=0.19). Taxon accumulation curve exhibited ß-dominated diversity with Sipit having the highest completeness ratio (0.93). Canonical correspondence analysis revealed taxon-habitat specificity where macroinvertebrate communities were strongly influenced by water pH and water velocity. Family biotic index calculated from consolidated data from all sampled stations revealed a fairly poor water quality. The present study suggested a complex macroinvertebrate diversity across the watersheds of Mt. Makiling reflecting its significance as an important biological refuge.

First Report of Mormolyce Hagenback 1825 (Coleoptera: Carabidae) from the Philippines

Mormolyce Hagenbach 1825, (Coleoptera: Carabidae: Lebiinae), the genus of violin beetles, is reported for the first time from southern Philippines. Mormolyce phyllodes Hagenbach 1825, particularly its subspecies M. p. engeli Lieftinck & Wiebes, 1968, is reported based on a museum specimen from Isabela, Basilan Island. This extends the distribution of the genus and species northeastward.

Survey of Ectoparasitic Arthropods Associated with Bats (Mammalia: Chiroptera) in Cacupangan Cave, Mabini, Pangasinan

A total of 46 bat flies (9 spp.) belonging to families Nycteribiidae and Streblidae, eight mites (2 spp.) from family Spinturnicidae, one ischnopsyllid flea and one ixodid tick were collected on nine species of bats (Pteropodidae, Rhinolophidae, Vespertilionidae and Hipposideridae; n=56) from Cacupangan Cave and its vicinities in Mabini, Pangasinan. Three new occurrences of ectoparasites were recorded for bat flies Phthiridium mindanaense on Miniopterus schreibersii, Brachytarsina amboinensis on Myotis muricola and Raymondia pseudopagodarum on Rhinolophus inops. All ectoparasite species are known to occur in Luzon but may represent the first records for the province. With regard to infracommunities, the most number of co-occurring species was found on R. amplexicaudatus and M. schreibersii. This study contributed to current efforts to comprehensively document the ectoparasite fauna of Philippine bats.

Spatial Structuring of the Macrofaunal Community of a Relatively Undisturbed Seagrass Meadow in Western Philippines

The study is the first to investigate horizontal and vertical distribution of seagrass associated macrofaunal communities in a high diversity seagrass meadow of the Philippines. The study cross compared seagrass macroinvertebrate communities above- and belowground, in sections of the meadows subjected to different wave exposures to determine differences in community structure of associated macrofauna. The results of multivariate analysis and evaluation of community indices showed a highly dissimilar macroinvertebrate community above- and belowground, across exposed and sheltered section of the seagrass meadow. The observed community dissimilarity was attributed to the differential vertical distribution of foraminiferan and gastropod families, across exposed and less exposed sites. Overall, macroinvertebrate richness was higher belowground while evenness was higher aboveground across study stations. Benthic macroinvertebrate diversity, on the other hand, was highest belowground in the more sheltered section of the seagrass meadow. However, in the more exposed part of the meadow, diversity was highest aboveground. At least in the study area, we speculate that the vertical and horizontal distribution of macroinvertebrates in a meadow was influenced by seagrass community structure and relative exposure to wave action.