A new species of Easter Egg beetles has been identified to be endemic to the island province, the Catanduanes Biodiversity group announced recently in its Facebook page.
Belonging to the Pachyrhynchini tribe of true weevils, Metapocyrtus (Artapocyrtus) colonnellii sp. nov. has been described in the northern part of Catanduanes, specifically in Gigmoto, Viga, Pandan and Caramoran.
The new species is similar to Metapocyrtus (Artapocyrtus) sexmaculatus Schultze, 1917 occurring prevalently in the southern part of the island, but easily distinguishable from the latter mainly by differences in scaly markings and endophallic structures.
The Easter Egg beetle is among 226 identified species classified as vulnerable as of July 12, 2019 by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
In DENR Administrative Order 2019-09, vulnerable species refer to a species that is neither critically endangered nor endangered but is under threat from adverse factors throughout its range and is likely to be moved to the endangered category in the future.
Classification of species of wild fauna is determined by internationally-accepted criteria, including: destruction, modification or curtailment of its habitat or range; over-utilization for commercial, recreational, scientific or educational purposes; other natural or man-made factors affecting existence of wildlife; perceived/observed reduction in population side and area of occupancy; and, small population and/or restricted population and continuing decline in such population.
Among the endangered endemic wildlife species in Catanduanes are the Gray’s monitor lizard, Southern Luzon cloud rat, civet cat, Philippine macaque, Luzon bleeding heart pigeon, tarictic hornbills, blue-crowned racket tails, and the Catanduanes narrow-mouthed frog.
The Easter egg beetles belong to the superfamily Curculionoidea, known for their elongated snouts. They are usually small, less than 6 mm (1⁄4 in) in length, and herbivorous, such that some species considered pests because of their ability to damage and kill crops.