University of Alberta professor discovers 2 species of beetles in Philippines

The University of Alberta has unearthed two species of beetles within the weevil family, from the rainforest of the Philippines.

The university confirmed the discovery Wednesday, saying one of the beetles was believed to be extinct for nearly a century.

Tom Terzin, a science professor, made the discovery while analyzing beetle samples found in bushes in Negros Island’s Northern Negros National Park in 2016 and 2017.

Terzin says both species managed to survive clearcutting that led to the rainforest being nearing completely decimated by logging, agriculture, and population growth.

“Nature is amazingly resilient, if we give it a chance for recovery,” said Terzin. 

“It could mean there’s a redirection of the habits of these species, evolutionarily speaking, and being only known from a single specimen, for now, indicates it’s probably a rare species.”

Terzin explained the short-nosed weevil stood out to him, noting the small black bug had a scattering of light scales across its surface instead of the metallic sheen of its relatives.

New weevil metapocyrtus trachycyrtus augustanae (Picture Courtesy: Tom Terzin)

It has been named Metapocyrtus (Trachycyrtus) Augustanae, after the U of A’s Augustana Campus.

The other weevil that was discovered was the Metapocyrtus (Orthocyrtus) Bifoveatus. It is believed it was last seen in the Philippines 100 years ago. The beetle was believed to have only lived in the lowlands of the rainforest, which was removed by deforestation, but was found higher in the forested area of the island.

Rediscovered weevil Metapocyrtus Orthocyrtus bifoveatus. (Picture courtesy: Tom Terzin)

“Somehow this species has managed to survive in higher altitudes of over 1,000 metres, which shows a struggle for life, that they refused to become extinct from deforestation,” said Terzin.

The U of A says both beetles will be housed in the Augustana Tropical Insects Research Studio entomology collection.

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