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News, events concerning PanayCon and PhilinCon

March - April 2017 - Owl survey started

A survey of nocturnal birds, covering a variety of habitat types starting from Sibaliw station, was started in March 2017 by Brendan Sloan , thanks to financial support provided by the S.C.R.O. (Society for the Conservation and Research of Owls), section Germany, via Ms. Distler. According to first visual and acoustic records, animals audible at night in the forest include birds like the owl Ninox philippensis (Luzon Boobok) and Frogmouths (Batrachostomus septimus), but also amphibians. The survey will be continued in 2018.

Philippine Scops Owl

A Viasayan scops owl, Otus nigorum. Photo: Sherwin Hembra

2017 - Study about impact of an invasive species, the cane toad, Rhinella marina (Linné, 1758) going to be continued by our project manager, Christian Schwarz
Invasive plant and animal species which have established populations outside their natural range are the second most important threat to biodiversity after habitat destruction.The cane toad was introduced to several regions including the Philippines as a pest control, but then got out of control, it is now listed among the 100 most invasive animal species by the IUCN. The toads are generalists preying on all kinds of native species they can overwhelm and even eat dead prey, and they are poisonous and harmful to potential native predators. The  impact of this species on highly endemic island faunas are not well understood yet. Most scientific data have been gathered in Australia where the cane toad is continuously expanding since its introduction in 1935. In the Philippines, an assessment of the threat Rh. marina may pose to the local fauna is urgently needed, in order to decide whether counter measures would become necessary. However, judgement of impact on the local ecosystems would require discrimination of putative effects of the toads from the consequences of deforestation and conversion of natural habitats into agricultural landscapes. Both effects are very likely synergistic. A project started by PhilinCon in 2010 investigates the impact of this invasive anuran on the autochthonous leaf litter fauna of Panay and surrounding islands by means of exclusion experiments. It is the first study worldwide to quantify the true predatory impact of the Cane Toad on a large scale, and will help to assess the potential threat of this invader to insular rainforest environments.

Cane toad

Juvenile cane toad devouring a native locust   
Photo: Christian Schwarz

20 April 2017 - Northern Philippine praying mantis discovered on Panay
Biogeographic connections across Philippine faunal regions unrelated to Pleistocene Island Complexes are being detected on a regular basis since a few years (more information here soon). One such unexpected relationship is the biogeographic connection between Panay and Luzon, most famous in this regard being the monitor lizard subgenus Philippinosaurus, with one species on Panay (Mabitang) and two species on Luzon. A poorly studied praying mantis, Tagalomantis manillensis (Saussure, 1870), known only from three males last collected around a century ago in Laguna Province and Manila, has been discovered by our Project Manager on the NWPP and other areas on Panay. The morphology and life history of the species is now known in detail, aiding in its future recognition. Panay populations are healthy, but confined to closed forests in lowland areas and as such severely threatened by habitat loss. Please contact us if you encounter the species on islands other than Luzon or Panay.

Praying mantis couple . new species

Tagalomantis couple.  
Photo: Christian Schwarz

29 August
2016 - Four species of horsehair worms newly recorded from the Philippines
Horsehair worms (Nematomorpha) are long, slender chitinous worms related to the common roundworms (Nematoda). Pairing adults are known for sometimes assembling in balls reminding of the legendary gordian knot. The adults live freely in streams, where they pair and reproduce. They pass through an aquatic larval state which encysts in water insects. The water insect larva needs to metamorphose into an aerial insect, which, in case it gets captured by an invertebrate predator, allows for a host switch by the parasite to take place. Humans are not affected. The larva then develops into a juvenile worm. When about to molt to adulthood, the worm tricks by a yet unknown mechanism the host into searching for water and begins the aquatic life of adults, leaving the dying host behind.
The Philippine nematomorph fauna is only poorly known. Recent sampling on Panay instantly resulted into four new records for the archipelago, two of which are species new to science. 
Horsehair worm in Bulanao River

Acutogordius finni n. sp. in dry riverbed of Bulanao river      Photo: Christian Schwarz

May 2016 - PanayCon rangers, police and DENR joined in a successful operation against illegal cutting of timber

On May 7-8, 2016, the PhilinCon Forest Rangers / Wildlife Enforcement Officers, in cooperation with Pandan Police and DENR CENRO, Culasi, confiscated 1,107 board feet of assorted naturally grown timbers which had been cut illegally at Sitio Hukhok, Brgy. Duyong, Pandan.
The said timbers were turned over to the police at Pandan and later brought to DENR Culasi for proper custody.

Confiscated illegal
Handing over timber
PhilinCon WEO (ranger / wildlife conservation officer) with apprehended illegally cut timber
WEOs and DENR coworkers handing over the confiscated timber to Pandan Police for scaling and custody by the DENR.
Photos sent by Rhea Santillan

April 2016 - PanayCon coworkers on the 12th Tugbong Festival, Pandan

Tubong festival 2016 

The PanyCon team including four porters / guides took part in the opening parade of the traditional Tugbong festival of the municipality of Pandan, Antique. Mayor Jonathan D. Tan kindly invited the team and took the opportunity to thank for the unwavering support PanayCon provides for the municipality. The forest rangers were unable to join because of an emergency operation.
Photo sent by Rhea Santillan

2016 - Five new species of praying mantids discovered on Panay
The long term assessment of Panay's arthropod diversity, which has already resulted in the discovery of new whipspider and whipscorpion species, and of a new genus and species of talitrid groundhopper (see recent publications), is still ongoing. Its latest achievement is a first census of the praying mantids (Mantodea) occurring on Panay. It turned out that Panay harbors at least five species new to science, all of them confined to the remaining forests. While the mantids known to occur on Panay were briefly introduced in the latest Annual Report, the description of the new taxa is currently being prepared by our Project Manager, a specialist for this group.
See also our page about newly discovered species

March 2016 - New jumping spider discovered on Panay

A new species of the formerly monotypic genus Gambaquezonia has been discovered on Panay island by Freudenschuss and coworkers. The description has been published in March 2016.
The jumping spider Gambaquezonia itimana  has been considered to be one taxon and endemic to the island of Luzon. The authors Freudenschluss, Grabrolle & Krehenwinkel (2016, Arachnology 17: 25-27) describe a new species, Gambaquezonia curioi, from the Philippine island of Panay, based on genital characters of a male and female specimen. Although the Philippines are long known as a globally important biodiversity hotspot and, according to three criteria, are ranking highest in the world (Myers et al. 2000, Nature 403: 853-858), surprisingly little is known about the spider family and their relatives. Currently, the genus Gambaquezonia is only known from two of the Philippines islands. Further explorations will likely result in the discovery of many more species for the genus alone.
https://doi.org/10.13156/arac.2006.17.1.25    See also Ann. Report No. 19, 2016

2016 - Cane Toad - an invasive species exerts direct and indirect effects on Philippine fauna

Preliminary results of the still ongoing (despite lack of funds) cane toad study revealed a measurable impact of this anuran on the native arthropod fauna. The Shannon-Wiener diversity index was significantly higher in toad-free, undisturbed control plots than in non-treatment forests inhabited by toads. There was also a trend towards higher evenness in toad-free plots, indicating that some taxa are probably more affected by the presence of the toads than others. How the toad’s impact affects conservation efforts will be evaluated after all samples have been processed.

2015 - Some recent results of the forest rangers´ work and wildlife rescue (from our latest annual report)

Law enforcement involves regular patrols in Libertad, Pandan and Sebaste in Antique and the municipality of Buruanga in Aklan province by our team of Forest Rangers who, in recognition of their effectiveness, have been officially deputized as Wildlife Enforcement Officers by the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). During 2014, their work resulted in the confiscation of more than 135 pieces of illegally logged timber which were turned over to the Philippine National Police or the DENR.
The forest rangers’ monitoring activities also resulted in the discovery of a poachers’ camp in the Sibaliw area, and confiscation of arms. The poachers belonged to a well-organized and heavily armed group from Nabas and Cubai. They are known to hunt the highly endangered Warty Pigs, monkeys, hornbills and pigeons for food and for sale to the souvenir tradesmen in Boracay. Sadly, the arrests and confiscations by PhilinCon´s rangers have not led to the illegal loggers, hunters and poachers being brought to justice so far. Law enforcement requires more hard work. As to our wildlife rescue, which contributes to law enforcement by providing care for confiscated animals, two species of hornbills, various raptors, a Grass Owl and a Hawksbill Turtle (/Dermochelys imbricata/, see release report below) were rehabilitated and released upon proper health checks by our veterinarian Dr. Enrique Sanchez. The animals came from Mag-aba, Bulanao and the region around our Station ‘Sibaliw’. Animals classified as ‘unsuitable for release’ were handed over to the Philippine authorities (PAWD DENR Region 6 in Iloilo City).
More details see our annual report

Mid-October 2015 - Start of Sibaliw repair

Sibaliw station will be completely renewed starting October 2015. After 19 years of continuous operation, the tropical climate took its toll on our station. Rotting logs, dripping roofs and an unsafe floor have repeatedly been repaired in the past, without really fixing the problems. Now, a complete overhaul including the replacement of strategic posts and beams, and the refurbishing of roof and walls, assure that the station will offer research, wildlife rehabilitation, student and other visitor accommodation for the next years to come.

July 2015 - New official shirts for the coworkers

New official t-shirts 

Members of the PanyCon team with their new work wear with PhilinCon logo, kindly donated by CS Garment, Inc., a Philippine shirt manufactory committed to fair and responsible production. Such shirts, worn in the field, identify forest rangers and coworkers as conservationists, thus facilitating their work.
Photo by Rhea Santillan

April 21, 2015 - Dulungans released

In April 21, three of the Dulungans housed in the Sibaliw wildlife rehabilitation facility, one male and two females, have been successfully released into the protected area of the North West Panay Peninsula (NWPP-NP). The birds have been under the care of PanayCon since 2000 (females) and 2004 (male), respectively, and have adapted well to their new environment. As of December 2015, all birds are still alive. Aside from a few unconfirmed acoustic records, these birds are the first to re-colonize the NWPP since the species has been considered locally extinct. Another Dulungan male and a Tarictic pair are slated for release in 2016

2014 - Marine turtle release

An exhausted marine turtle, Dermochelys imbricata, was found by local fishermen and kindly reported to PanayCon´s wildlife rescue team. The turtle was treated against infection and dehydration and released after recovery.

Turtle release a    Turtle
                  release b
Photos: Christian Schwarz, © PanayCon 2014

2014 - Measures against tuberculosis

In April 2014, after becoming aware of a tuberculosis infection in one of our coworkers, our new project manager initiated countermeasures, including payment of tuberculosis tests for coworkers and an awareness campaign. Tuberculosis is fairly common in the Philippines and not really taken seriously by some local people, even though appropriate health checks for this disease are funded by the WHO.

2014 - New Project Manager on Panay (PanayCon, PhilinCon)

In August 2014, we are happy to let our supporters know that the new PanayCon / PhilinCon project manager for the Philippines, Christian Schwarz, has arrived on Panay in July 2014 and started work, doing a great job. Christian is already familiar with the project and localities from earlier scientific work and conservation projects. We look forward to provide support of any kind and we hope we will be able to present actual reports about successful project work here soon!

2014 - New mail address for our Panay office (PanayCon, PhilinCon)

In April 2014, we had to set up a new mail account for our Panay office because of technical problems with the old one.
Our new mail address i
s philincon.panaycon@gmail.com.
Via our old mail address, philincon@yahoo.com, we may have problems to check incoming mails. We will keep you informed about any longterm changes.

2013 - Super typhoon Haiyan / Yolanda devastates Panay

In November 2013, a typhoon approached the Philippines, increasingly gaining strength and finally reaching the Philippine coasts as the most dangerous "super typhoon" ever obesrved to make landfall. The eye of the storm passed right over Panay, leaving a broad trace of devastation. See extra page for details. Any help allowing people there to rebuild their smashed homes is welcome - the world looks at Tacloban city where in addition to the storm a flood wave was driven into coastal areas drowning many people. We try to help in Panay where our friends fortunately seem to have survived, but need support to replace what was destroyed. Right now (on 23 November) the power supply and Internet are still down in the proximity of our project site, at least there is some improvement with regard to mobile phone connection and we have a possibility to send financial aid via Western Union or MoneyGram. Any contribution would be highly appreciated.

2013: help for Panay after Typhoon Yolanda / Haiyan
Or see  our PhilinCon page "How you can help"

A big thanks! who helped so far with generous donations! A report about the success will be published here later - right now the PhilinCon coworkers in the Pandan Emergency Rescue Team (PERT) are still busy with reconstruction and repair and try to help local people.
Help will still be needed for considerable time, any donations in 2014 for the sake of people who lost their homes, for destroyed community facilities or other hardships will be highly appreciated and help affected people a lot.

2013 - DENR´s 26th anniversary celebration - cooperation with PhilinCon acknowledged

In June 2013, the DENR-6 (Department of Environment and Natural Resources,, responsible for the region 6, Western Visayas) celebrated DENR´s 26th anniversary in the DENR activity center in Iloilo City. On this occasion, PhilinCon president Dr. Sanchez Jr. received a plaque of recognition awarded to PhilinCon for partnership and support. Coworkers will continue to do their best and contribute to DENR´s vision of a sustainable development of the region coming true, for "a nation enjoying and sustaining its natural resources and clean and healthy environment." (DENR - mission, vision and priority, thrusts & programs)  

DENR recognition of

2012 - Poaching of threatened species prevented - whistleblowers compensated after being attacked by the poachers

A couple of farmers in the municipality of Pandan had alerted our coworkers to illegal snaring of warty pigs, an endangered and ecologically important Philippine wildlife species. The Forest Rangers found 16 snares in the area and destroyed them all. Unfortunately, this prompted the poachers to retaliate by burning down the farmers' house and their equipment. The vandalism was blottered with the Pandan police and the couple was compensated by PhilinCon for the damage sustained. This case shows vividly that conservation needs our support in the Philippines.

2011 / 2012 - Illegal loggers arrested

Due to the vigilance and brave of PanayCon's Forest Rangers illegal loggers in the southern fringes of Pandan Municipality could be caught red-handed in December 2011. When alerted to the logging a squad of the PNP Pandan could apprehend two of five illegalists while the other three made a narrow escape. The two suspects are in the custody of the police till further legal measures are taken against them. The Forest Rangers deserve to be congratulated for their circumspection after oftentimes merely finding the  traces of the illegalists after they had done their destructive work in the priceless forests of the Panay Mountain Range.

2010 / 2011 - New Board of Directors in our umbrella organisation PhilinCon and additional reshuffling of PanayCon management

There have been elections in 2010 to the Board of Directors (its four Incorporators or Officers) of PhilinCon, the new NGO under the umbrella of which PanayCon is to work since 2010.
Because reshuffling of responsibilities at the top of the project became necessary, in 2011 PhilinCon will appoint a new Filipino management whilst  the PESCP's founder, Prof. Curio, will remain both the project's and the NGO's Scientific Adviser.

See PhilinCon contact page

2010 - NGO PhilConserve needed to be replaced - New umbrella NGO PhilinCon
Our former non-governmental umbrella organisation PhilConserve, erected in 2005 by citizens concerned about the plight of the Philippine environment, was running the PESCP. This project carried out wide-ranging conservation work including help for the local people, the ‘eco-stewards’ of their environment. Anomalies in running the PESCP forced the affected staff to make a new start by leaving behind the causal agents. In the process, a new NGO, the Philippine Initiative for Conservation of Environment and the People, Inc. (PhilinCon) was erected in November 2010. Since then, the two entities PhilinCon and PanayCon replace PhilConserve and PESCP, respectively, with new names, but almost unchanged agenda.
In the course of  'Filipinisation' of the project the foreigners at the top of the organisation had also stepped down from their positions and Filipinos had been taking the helm. 

Our new NGO, PhilinCon, is the functional successor of PhilConserve. It is operating the new project PanayCon (formerly PESCP).

Under PhilinCon´s aegis the PanayCon will be operating with a focus on Panay Island. Its main objective will be the conservation of Philippine biodiversity with the support by local people and their sustainable economic development. We are working hard to be even more efficient than in the past.

2008 - Typhoon ravaged Panay

Typhoon - powerlines downIn June 2008, typhoon 'Frank' ravaged Panay Island, flooding many regions, with 18 dead in Iloilo Province alone. PESCP (now PanayCon) was hit hard as never before, and its domiciliary town of Pandan, Antique Province, was affected equally disastrous (see photos by project aficionado Arnold Demegillo showing damage in Kalibo).
The water in the streets stood chesthigh which not even the oldest inhabitants could remember to have happened before - that is the typhoon was of Tsunami proportions! One PESCP Community Conservationist in Aklan Province was killed by a landslide, another's wife was washed along with the house by the floods into the Aklan River and never seen again. PESCP's office in Tajanlangit Bldg. was damaged along with the bookkeepers' files of piles of receipts, excel sheets for liquidation, PCs, printers, fax machines, frige -  all flooded. On top of these irreplacable losses torrents of water had found their way beneath the iron sheet roof and ravaged the PC + printer in the Manager's office even in the upper floor along with an unknown number of files, reprints, books etc. As a first emergency measure, the needs of a number of co-workers had to be addressed and the office, more precisely its sad remains, be moved to an apartment first floor in the main street of Pandan. Donations enabling PanayCon to cope with this apocalypse still today are highly appreciated.
How you can help
Kalibo streets clogged
House buried

2008 - Central Panay Mountain Range forest to be legally protected!
PESCP (now PanayCon) elected to support the DENR

For a long time the PESCP had advocated legal protection of the priceless forests of the Central Panay Mountain Range and their endemites. Now the Central Office of the DENR, Philippine Government, instructed the Regional DENR Executive Director to designate the area as 'Critical Habitat' under the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act. In living up to this mandate, the DENR Region VI, that encompasses Panay, is advised to collaborate with PESCP. Accordingly PESCP is rightly proud of being elected from among all other 'green' NGOs in the W Visayas  to contribute its knowledge, skills and financial means, as found permissive, to this noble and extremely  timely goal.

2007 - PESCP (now PanayCon) forest rangers on rescue missions (2007)

PESCP Forest rangers are proud of having gone on recue missions recently. When alerted by local families the Forest rangers swarmed out searching for missing elderly family members that had gone astray in the forest. They could rescue one older man alive and sadly retrieved another man and an elderly woman only after they had fallen dead. The FR Coordinator personally paid her last respects to the dead and brought them home.

2005 - NGO PhilConserve erected (since 2010 PhilinCon, see above)

The PESCP erected a non-governmental organisation, the Philippine Association for Conservation and Development, Inc. (PhilConserve), in March 2005, under the aegis of which it was operating with a focus on Panay Island. Its main objective will be the conservation of Philippine biodiversity with the support of the local people and their sustainable economic development.

2005 - Canopy platform erected
PESCP has mounted the first Philippine canopy observation platform on a huge Almaciga tree in Panay's rain forest, near the project's Research Station Sibaliw, Buruanga, Aklan. The platform consists of a lightweight 1.6 x 1.8 m² fortified aluminum sheet supported by galvanised iron tubes and surrounded by a perlon net balustrade. The platform will allow researchers to document animals and their interactions with rain forest trees. More information.

New Publications:

Curio, E. (2013, volume published with delay in 2017): Avian resource defense against an insect competitor and a cognition problem. Ökol. Vögel (Ecol Birds) 2013, 35: 000-000 (in press)

An account is given on the defense of a food resource by a male of the partially nectar-feeding orange-bellied flowerpecker (Dicaeum trigonostigma australe) against the globally biggest carpenter bee (Xylocopa latipes) on Panay Isld., Philippines. In the process, the bird attacked the bee physically while it was feeding on the inflorescences of the tree Nauclea orientalis (Rubiaceae) also exploited by the defending male and a nearby female. In addition, the defender chased the bee in flight, thus preventing it from landing on the flowers for feeding. The female remained indifferent to the bee, even feeding beside it on the same flower. The underlying cognitive achievement is best understood by assuming an intruder ‘action-based’ threat recognition rather than an intruder ‘identity-based’ threat recognition. It is only through an ‘action-based’ model of cognition that birds (and fish) are thought to utilize the knowledge underlying a species-specific resource defense. An innate ‘identity-based’ object recognition for select community members is known to exist in many cases, but it would probably not accrue the necessary flexibility to resource defense tailored species-specifically to hundreds of species arthropod nectarivores included, as such defense is known to be cutting even across animal phyla and thus exacerbating the cognitive problem for the defender if based on an intruder ‘identity-based’ recognition.

Schwarz, C. J.  (2017): Update on Tagalomantis manillensis (Saussure), with description of the female and comments on its systematic placement and life history (Insecta: Mantodea: Deroplatyinae). Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde A, 10. Jg.:19-39.
See above for information

Schmidt-Raesa, A.
& C. J. Schwarz (2016): Nematomorpha from the Philippines, with description of two new species. Zootaxa 4158 (2): 246-260
See above for information

Freudenschuss, M., A. Grabrolle & H. Krehenwinkel (2016): A new species of  Gambaquezonia from the Philippine Island of Panay (Araneae: Salticidae).  Arachnology 17: 25-27.
See above for information

Silva-Iturriza, A., V. Ketmaier & R. Tiedemann
(2012):  Prevalence of avian haemosporidian parasites and their host fidelity in the central Philippins islands. Parasitol. Intl. 61: 650-657
Sampling blood from 215 birds of 42 species in 23 bird families in the central Philippine islands including Negros and Panay yielded insight into the coevolution of protozoon blood (= haemosporidian) parasites (genera Haemoproteus, Leucocytozoon, Plasmodium) and their bird (= avian) hosts. Genetic analysis of the parasites showed that lineages of the same genus occurred in tandem, for example, Haemoproteus/ Haemoproteus, that were more common than expected by chance. Conversely, mixed infections of, for example, Haemoproteus/ Leucocytozoon, with up to all three genera in one host individual, were rare. There is a well-known vector-specificity, i. e. confinement of the genera mentioned, each to one fly genus serving as vehicle. Accordingly the associations of genera within the same host might mean that host species are differentially susceptible to certain vectors rather than to others but other explanations are possible. Overall, the parasites of the genera Haemoproteus and Leucocytozoon are extant in more bird species and/ or families than are those of Plasmodium (the infectious agent of human malaria though of different species) that, in its evolution,   tends to switch more often between host families.

Silva-Iturriza, A., V. Ketmaier & R. Tiedemann (2012): Profound population structure in the Philippine Bulbul Hypsipetes philippinus (Pycnonotidae, Aves) is not reflected in its Haemoproteus haemosproridian parasite. Infection, Genetics, Evolution 12: 127-136.
Samples of blood from 58 Philippine Bulbuls from seven central Philippine islands gave insight into the coevolution of protozoan blood (= haemosporidian) parasites of three genera (Haemoproteus, Leucocytozoon, Plasmodium) and its avian host. The study was triggered by the prediction that the parasites would diversify geographically more quickly because of their shorter generation time.  Whilst the Bulbul shows genetic diversification across the islands, including a split into two subspecies (one on Semirara vs. another one on all other islands studied), its blood parasite Haemoproteus exhibits very little interisland differentiation, suggesting gene flow among locations. (Haemoproteus occurs in many other bird species of 23 families, see Silva-Iturriza et al. 2012, this NEWS section.)  Hence, the Bulbul is scarcely moving among islands whilst the insect vectors of its parasite are, with infections possibly mediated by other co-occurring host species. Overall, the initial prediction underlying the study of faster evolution of a parasite was not supported.

Lowry, J., K. & C. O.. Coleman (2012):  A new terrestrial talitrid genus from the Philippine Islands (Crustacea, Amphipoda, Talitrida, Talitridae) and the designation of two informal subgroups. Zootaxa 3400: 64-68.
From the upland of the NW Panay Peninsula Javier & Coleman (2010) had described a new species of terrestrial landhopper (Talitrus curioi). The recent reevaluation of the morphology of the species by Lowry & Coleman led to the conclusion that the new species is so different from the rest of the family that a new genus (the systematic level above the species level) Curiotalitrus had to be erected, with the new species being accordingly renamed as Curiotalitrus curioi.

(More details)

A. P. L. & G. S. Miranda (2012): A new species of Sarax Simon, 1892 from the Philippines (Arachnida: Amblypygi: Charinidae). Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências (Annals Brazilian Acad. Sciences) 84: 165-173.
Based on accidental, i. e. unplanned collecting of specimens by PanayCon staff in NW Panay, a new species of whip spider (Sarax curioi) has been described by Brazilian colleagues. The female carrying nine eggs had been found at night on the forest floor near Malumpati, NW Panay Peninsula, Municipality of Pandan. The species is the second of the genus Sarax in the Philippines, aside from S. brachydactylus with a wider distribution across the islands. At the same time it constitutes the third species of a whip spider in the country, with the nocturnal Charon grayi known from a number of places including Panay since long. The new find attests to the paucity of knowledge about these nocturnal animals without backbones in the Philippines. And it shows the value of accidental collecting.

Lourens, J. H. (2011): Six new Philippine species of the genus Cyana Walker, 1854 and a review of the geminipuncta-group, with emphasis on endemic development lines on various islands (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae, Lithosiinae). Nachr. entomol. Ver. Apollo, N. F. 32: 69-96.
Johannes H. Lourens has revised the grouping of 17 Cyana species of the tiger-moth subfamily Lithosiinae and thereby described also six new species including one from Palawan named after  the founder of the PanayCon (formerly PESCP): Cyana curioi. The other new species came from the same island; Luzon; Mindanao: from Mindanao, Leyte and Samar; and finally from Panay and Negros. 

(More details)

Sammler, S., K. Havenstein & R. Tiedemann (2011):  Fourteen new microsatellite markers for the Visayan tarictic hornbill (Penelopides panini) and their cross-species applicability among other endangered Philippine hornbills. Conservation Genet. Resour., DOI 10.1007/s12686-011-9567-4.
In a molecular genetic analysis, 76 individuals of the Visayan Tarictic Hornbill were screened for 14 new microsatellite markers of their DNA. This enabled the authors to assess the genetic variability of this endangered Philippine hornbill endemite. Aside from this part of the markers could be found also in other Penelopides species and the two endemic Writhed-billed hornbills (Aceros waldeni, A. leucocephalus). In combination with the markers known already from two other genera of hornbills (Buceros, Bucorvus), these data allow to genetically analyse the status of these and other related and partly endangered hornbills.
Gaulke, M. (2011): The Herpetofauna of Panay Island, Philippines.
Chimaira Buchhandelsgesellschaft mbH; Frankfurt, email: Frogbook@aol.com;
in the US available at Zoo Book Sales, Lanesboro, MN, USA, email: Zoobooks@acegroup.cc).
A work of love and dedication of one of the foremost students of Philippine herpetology. Panay is the first of the many Philippine islands the herps - amphibians and reptiles - of which have received such detailed and encyclopaedic treatment. The book mirrors the author's painstaking fieldwork and taxonomic efforts  shedding light on these two fascinating groups to whose species counts she has contributed substantially over the last 15 years, with the Mabitang or Panay Monitor Lizard being certainly the most spectacular new discovery. Under the flag of the integrated conservation project PanayCon (formerly PESCP) and the aegis of agreements with the DENR her fieldwork has taken Maren Gaulke to the most significant and promising places both in the Central Panay Mountain Range and the NW Panay Pensinsula. The information is densely packed in this book, that can serve as a field guide, too, yet it is perfectly accessible  to both the layman and the aficionado. Lavishly illustrated by the author's splendid photographs is makes for pleasing reading, its pricing is modest and one wishes it a wide distribution, specially in the Philippines, to disseminate the idea of preserving this unique fauna..
Sammler, S., Bleidorn, Ch. & R. Tiedemann (2011): Struktur des mitochondrialen Genoms zweier philippinischer Hornvogelarten. BMC Genomics 2011, 12: 35     DOI:10.1186/1471-2164-12-35         http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2164/12/35
The first complete mitochondrial genome [entire circular DNA of cell organelles called mitochondria, found in almost all eucaryotic organisms] of the hornbill bird family (Bucerotidae) is presented, i.e., that of two Philippine hornbills, Aceros waldeni and Penelopides panini (Sammler, Bleidorn & Tiedemann 2011, BMC Genomics 12: 35). The mt [= mitochondrial] genomes are characterized by a duplicated region encompassing 2 coding genes, 3 tRNAs, and the control region (non-coding DNA). The duplicated fragments are identical to each other except for a short section in the control region. With around 21,657 base pairs (A. waldeni) and 22,737 base pairs (P. panini), the mt genomes significantly exceed the hitherto longest known avian mt genomes, that of the albatrosses. We discovered concerted evolution between the duplicated fragments within individuals and found evidence (in the short non-identical duplicated part) that recombination must occur frequently, i.e., in every generation.

Koch, A, M. Gaulke & W. Böhme (2010): Unravelling the underestimated diversity of Philippine water monitor lizards (Squamata: Varanus salvator complex), with the description of two new species and a new subspecies. Zootaxa 2446: 1–54

Gaulke, M
. (2010) Overview on the present knowledge on Varanus mabitang Gaulke and Curio, 2001, including new morphological and meristic data. Biawak 4: 50-58.
New data on the natural history in addition to measuremens and scale counts of the mabitang (Varanus mabitang), an endemite of Panay's lowland evergreen rainforest, revealed that it differs from its closest relatives on Luzon (V. olivaceus, V. bitatawa) by its larger size, its greater individual variation in scale counts, its colouration and its more herbivorous diet. The mabitang tends to eat more leaves and less animal food. As revealed by radio-telemetry of some individuals they used  up to 70 different, preferably tall trees for feeding and resting within two years. The future existence of this endangered monitor lizard is directly dependent on the further maintenance of its rainforest habitat.

Marek, C., N. Bissantz, E. Curio, A. Siegert, B. Tacud & D. Ziggel (2010): Spatial orientation of the Philippine bent-toed gecko (Cyrtodactylus philippinicus) in relation to its home range. Salamandra 46: 92-96.
A number of animals have been shown to use the earth’s magnetic field for their orientation on migration or in relation to their home range. The study shows for the first time a squamate reptile (as represented by, e. g., snakes and lizards), the Bent-toed Gecko (Cyrtodactylus philippinicus) of Panay,  to be able to return back to its home range upon displacement 100 to 150 m away from it. The animal is also shown experimentally to be able to perceive the earth’s magnetic field. The authors (Marek, Bissantz, Curio, Siegert, Tacud & Ziggel 2010, Salamandra 46: 92-96) suggest that cues from the earth’s magnetic field may aid the gecko in its homeward orientation when homing from unfamiliar ground.
Silva-Iturriza, A., V. Ketmaier & R. Tiedemann (2010): Mitochondrial DNA suggests multiple colonizations of central Philippine islands (Boracay, Negros) by the sedentary Philippine bulbul Hypsipetes philippinus guimarasensis (Aves). J. Zool. Syst. Evol. Res. 48: 269-278.  DOI: 10.1111/j.1439-0469.2010.00566.x
A genetic analysis of a small part of mt-DNA of seven Philippine bulbul populations of two of the five subspecies (Hypsipetes philippinus guimarasensis, H. p. mindorensis) revealed a complex picture of colonization of these seven islands including Semirara with subspecies H. p. mindorensis (Silva-Iturriza et al. 2010). Whilst the two genetic lineages found in the Greater Negros-Panay region and on Semirara, respectively, correspond to the morphological differentiation of the two subspecies involved the genetic variation among the guimarasensis populations of Greater Negros-Panay suggest a more complex history of multiple  colonizations during the (pleistocene) period of glaciation when islands isolated today were forming larger island land masses.

Javier, S. N. &  C. O. Coleman (2010): Talitrus curioi (Crustacea, Amphipoda, Talitridae), a new species of landhopper from the rainforests of the Philippines. Zoosyst. Evol. 86: 41-48.

(More details).

Krehenwinkel, H., E. Curio, J. Tacud & J. Haupt (2009): On Telyphonoides panayensis gen. et sp. nov. (Arachnida: Uropygi: Telyphonidae), a new genus and a new species of whip scorpions from Panay Island (Philippines). Arthropoda Selecta 18: 139-143.

(More details and photo).

Curio, E. & J. Tacud (2009): ‘Body morphing’ enables forest dwelling birds to master dense foliage with impunity: a novel avian flight performance. Ecology of Birds 31: 1-12.
When maneuvering through the dense tangle of foliage forest forest-dwelling birds have long been admired by naturalists. The flight performance saving time and energy most is ‘body morphing’, i. e. sleeking the wings to the body at the right moment when passing through small openings in the tangle to minimize the cross-section of the body. (This flight posture occurs periodically in the undulating flight of many small and medium-sized birds.) Observations of the Philippine bulbul (Hypsipetes philippinus) at a customized mist net show ‘body morphing’ to be used rather than following a course of flight along a planned trajectory with detours.
Curio, E. (2008) Gehen oder Bleiben? Der kluge Naturschützer und der Concorde-Fehler. ZGF Gorilla, 3/2008, 18-19. [Stay or leave? The clever conservationist and the Concorde Fallacy. German] ZGF Gorilla 3: 18-19.
In conservation, decision-makers are oftentimes confronted with the problem of carrying on with a particular agenda or giving it up to the benefit of a new, more profitable one. Humans are prone to commit the 'Concorde Fallacy': When faced with two options they often chose the one into which they have invested in the past though the wise decision would be to invest into the option with the higher net gain in the future, regardless of what has been invested in the past. Applying this insight to conservation decision-making may well lead to protecting, for example, an area with e. g. a higher biodiversity at the expense of a protected area with a lower biodiversity if the former can be maintained with the same funding or even less funding.
Similarly, if a species thought to teeter at the brink of extinction is found to be much more common all resources should flow into in situ conservation and no longer into conservation breeding no matter how much has been invested in it previously.
Gaulke, M., I. Frank & B. Tacud (2008) On the colour variability and breeding biology of some Philippine anurans. [Zur Farbvariabilität und Brutbiologie einiger philippinischer Anuren. German with Engl. Summary] SAURIA 30: 11-21.
The findings fill important gaps in our knowledge of the species-rich amphibian fauna of the Philippines. There are detailed accounts, lushly illustrated with colour images, of the intraspecific variation of colouration, breeding biology, ecology and sexual dimorphism of some frog species of Panay Island. The first description of the female of the recently discovered Platymantis paengi (see NEWS of May 2008) as well as an account of the ecology and physiological colour change of the related P. negrosensis are given in addition to the description of up to seven (!) colour forms of P. panayensis and one more frog species.  Remarkably, a second case of parental care in the Philippines,  of a (male?) P. panayensis,  i. e. by covering the eggs on a leaf with the body, is described.
Hembra, S.S., E. Curio & J. Jamangal (2008): Brutnachweis eines Philippinen-Fledermauspapageis. Papageien 21: 173-174.   (German)
(More details).
Hutterer, R. (2007). Records of shrews from Panay  and Palawan, Philippines, with the description of two new species of Crocidura (Mammalia: Soricidae). Lynx  N.S., 38: 5-20 (two colour plates).
(More details).

Gaulke, M., H. Roesler & R. M. Brown (2007), A new species of Luperosaurus (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from Panay Island, Philippines, with comments on the taxonomic status of Luperosaurus cumingii (Gray, 1845). Copeia 2007/2: 413-425.

Luperosaurus corfieldi, a stout forest-dweller found in tree holes and under bark, is the only gecko of the genus Luperosaurus on Panay and an endemite of this island, as known so far, while another species  L.  cumingii,  comprising possibly several new species,  had long been known to occur on  other Philippine islands.  Other Luperosaurus species are known from other parts of the Oriental Faunal Region. (More details and photo).

Rösler, H., C.D. Siler, R.M. Brown, A.D. Demegillo & M. Gaulke 2007, Gekko ernstkelleri sp. n. - a new gekkonid lizard from Panay Island, Philippines. Salamandra 42: 197-211.

Gekko ernstkelleri, a cave-dweller,  is the third species of the genus Gekko on Panay and the only endemite of its genus there.  (More details and photo).

Siegert, A., & E. Curio (2006). Pitfall traps misrepresent the terricoline fauna in a tropical forest: a novel evaluation. Silliman J. 47: 86-94.

Barber pitfall traps are widely used the world over by zoologists and ecologists studying the soil invertebrate fauna (animals without backbones). Sampling with these traps  in both primary and secondary forest in the upland of the NW Panay Peninsula, Philippines,  in conjunction with directly observing the events at the traps revealed that a mere 21% of all individuals walking up to the opening of the  trap were caught.  This occurred  despite applying the first time a combination  of  dry trapping  (no odour from  any preservative deterring or attracting animals),  maximum retaining power and non-depletion of the surrounding fauna, factors conducive to maximising capture success. Pitfall trapping fails to represent the soil fauna both quantitatively and qualitatively.
Haupt, J. (2007). The Whipscorpion Minbosius manilanus (C. L. Koch 1843) on Panay Island (Philippines) (Arachnida, Uropygi, Thelyphonidae). Senckenbergiana biologica 87: 135-136.
(More details).
Siler, C.D., C. W. Linkem, A. C. Diesmos & A. C. Alcala (2007). A new species of Platymantis (Amphibia: Anura: Ranidae) from Panay Island, Philippines. Herpetologica 63: 351-364.
  (More details and photo).

Gaulke, M., A. V. Altenbach, A. Demegillo & U. Struck (2007). On the diet of Varanus mabitang. Mertensiella 16: 228-239.
The diet of the Panay Monitor Lizard (Varanus mabitang) was studied in NW Panay with the help of field observations, the analysis of feces and of stable isotopes in body tissue (dead claw tips). Accordingly the species is predominately a vegetarian feeding on the fruits of screw palms and some palm trees, aside from an admixture of leaves. Animal food such as crabs, insects and snails is consumed to a much lesser degree. Thus, the Panay Monitor is largely a vegetarian like its closest relative, Gray's Monitor on Luzon.
For a figure of this impressing species see our page about threatened treasures
Villanueva, J. F., E. M. Slade & E. Curio (2006): The first observations of the breeding biology of the elegant tit Parus elegans in the Philippines. Ecol. Birds (Ökol. Vögel) 28: 31-46.
The breeding biology of the elegant tit, an endemite of the Philippines, was studied for the first time in NW Panay yielding insight into the location of the under ground nest, the division of labour among the sexes, the type of arthropod food for the brood, the lack of nest defence against brood predators and the daily routines of breeding and feeding. While there are many similarities to the yellow-bellied tit of China and the coal tit of the Palearctic differences appear dictated more by climate and predation than by food supply.
van der Aa, P. J. H., R. P. Lorica & J. Komdeur (2006) The hormonal and behavioral response to the presence and activities of humans in three co-roosting flying fox species (Acerodon jubatus, Pteropus vampyrus and P. hypomelanus) in Boracay and Mambukal in the Philippines. Acta Zoologica Sinica 52: 827-837.
Behavioural responses and hormonally measured (glucocorticoid metabolites) responses of three flying fox species including a critically endangered one (Acerodon jubatus) were assessed in two roosts in the Philippines that differed markedly in human caused disturbance. There was no behavioural indication of stress due to human activities near the roost. However, stress hormones were screened only in one of the two roosts, so the jury is still out as to the question of human impact on the well-being of these flying foxes.
Gewers, G., E. Curio & S. H. Hembra (2006): First observations of an advertisement display flight of 'Steere's Honey-buzzard' Pernis (celebensis) steerei on Panay, Philippines. Forktail 22: 163-165
Steere's honeybuzzard, one of two species of honey-buzzard occurring in the Philippines,  has been observed for the first time on Panay Island while giving a display flight near Mt. Banderahan of the NW Panay Peninsula. The flight serving a nuptial and/ or territorial function is described with illustrations for the first time, and its distinctiveness from that of its  Eurasian counterpart (P. apivorus) highlighted.
Gaulke, M., & A. D. Demegillo (2006). A forked tail in a Philippine Sail-Fin Lizard (Hydrosaurus pustulatus [Eschscholtz, 1829]). Sauria 69: 4.
2006: A Philippine sail-fin lizard Hydrosaurus pustulatus with a forked tail, originating from a broken tail with a regrowing larger end (regeneration) was observed in Panay Island, thus confirming that also agamid lizards can regenerate their tail upon injury (colour pictures, Gaulke & Demegillo 2006, Sauria, 2006: 4).
Hembra, S. S., B. Tacud, E. Geronimo, J. Villanueva, J. Jamangal, E. Sanchez, N. Bagac & E. Curio (2006): Saving Philippine Hornbills on Panay Island.  Re-introduction News, No. 25: 45-46
Progress has been made with the radio telemetry of rehabilitated tarictic hornbills that have been released by PESCP (now PanayCon) at Research Station Sibaliw and that have been found reproducing with wild partners near their site of release. To follow Tarictics over longer distances and, by default, over longer time scales, the equipment needs to be improved.
Silva, A., V. Ketmaier, E. Curio & R. Tiedemann (2006): Co-evolution between avian malaria parasites and their host, the Philippine Bulbul (Hypsipetes philippinus). Abstract  Graduate Student Conference of the German Zoological Society, New Markers and new Theories, Potsdam, 24-26 February, 2006
The analysis of mtDNA of Philippine bulbuls from NW Panay and Boracay alongside that of their malaria parasites (Haemoproteus, Leucocytozoon) revealed distinct genetic isolation of the bulbul on the two islands as compared to a lower degree of genetic differentiation of its malaria parasites: Also multiple infection by the mosquitoes of the same host birds could be inferred from sequencing mtDNA.
Reiter, J., E. Curio, B. Tacud, H. Urbina & F. Geronimo (2006): Tracking bat-dispersed seeds using fluorescent pigment. Biotropica 38: 64-68.
Fig fruits of two species on Panay Island, Philippines, were marked on their trees, using a fluorescent pigment; this is a dye that becomes visible under ultraviolet light in the dark. Marking the fruits this way allowed to follow their dispersal by fruit bats feeding on them.  Accordingly the remains scattered around the trees under study allowed to assess the 'seed shadow' in the order of a few hectares surrounding the area under the crown, mainly created by one species, the musky fruit bat.
See also general alphabetic publication list, list of publications about study species and selected topics and publication list of Maren Gaulke


Recent discoveries - a review

New species discovered in the area
For details see our page about  new species


2002: A new species of Wolf Snake (Lycodon fausti sp. nov.) endemic to the West Visayas, described by M. Gaulke. (More details and photo).
2003 / 2004: A new endemic Panay Island race of the Mangrove Cat Snake (Boiga dendrophila levitoni) was recently described. This exquisitely beautiful snake was discovered by PanayCon's able Filipino scouts (More details and photos).

Geckos (2006 and 2007)

Two  new geckos, Gekko ernstkelleri (More details and photo) and Luperosaurus corfieldi (More details and photo),  have been described by the project's herpetologist, Dr. Maren Gaulke, and her colleagues, thus adding two new endemites to the herpetofauna of Panay Island:    


2007: A new frog species Platymantis paengi sp. nov., the Panay limestone frog.  (More details and photo).


2009: A new giant whip scorpion, Telyphonoides panayensis gen. et sp. nov.  (More details and photo).
2011-12: a new landhopper species and genus, Curiotalitrus curioi gen. nov.   (More details)
2012: A new whip spider, Sarax curioi sp. nov.  (More details).
2016 - a new species of jumping spider has been discovered on Panay island by Freudenschuss and coworkers - in press. More details will be included in our page about new species after publication.
2016 - Five new species of praying mantids discovered on Panay - in preparation. See our 18th annual report for information about some mantid species of Panay already known to science.


New distributional records for the following species:

2002: first evidence of the King Cobra, Opiophagus hannah, on Panay

2004 (published 2007): Steere's honey-buzzard (Pernis steerei, formerly 'barred honey-buzzard P. celebensis) (Gewers et al. 2006, Forktail 22: 163-165)

2006: the large Chinese bullfrog Hoplobatrachus rugulosus, a likely invasor (= alien species) of the Philippines  (Gaulke & Operiano 2006, Sauria 2006: 51)

2006: a banded Philippine burrowing snake, Oxyrhabdion leporinum visayanum

2006: a whipscorpion (Minbosius manilanus, Arachnida, Uropygi), a Philippine endemite described for Manila, Luzon  (Haupt 2007, Senckenbergiana biologica 87: 135-136).
   Annotation: specimens meanwhile found to be immature stages of the new species Telyphonoides panayensis described in 2009.     (Details)

2008: first breeding record of the Colasisi in the wild, one of the two Philippine endemic hanging parrot species (Loriculus philippensis regulus), on Panay (Hembra, S.S., E. Curio & J. Jamangal 2008: Papageien 21: 173-174. German)

For more details see section "New distributional records of known taxa" in our New Species page

Latest awards:

2011: Prof. Dr. E. Curio, Scientific Advisor of both the new NGO PhilinCon and  of its project PanayCon, has been awarded the Albert Einstein Award of Excellence for 2010 for having 'demonstrated effectiveness and distinction' in his field by the American Biographical Institute (Raleigh, North Carolina).  Like him, less than 100 honourees  from among  75 countries around the world have been honoured this way.

2007: Election of Professor Curio as "Man of the Year for 2007", by the American Biographical Institute (Raleigh, North Carolina, USA).

2004: Election of Professor Curio as "International Educator of the Year" for 2004, by the International Biographical Centre (Cambridge, UK).

Earlier awards

Latest updates in our web pages:

Recent minor updates in the contact web pages of PanayCon and PhilinCon, new head office postal address

The hornbill conservation page has been improved, information about the importance of seed dispersing animals has been added.

Change of names of our project (PanayCon, formerly PESCP) and our umbrella NGO (PhilinCon, formerly PhilConserve) - all pages and domain names adapted

Regular updates in:

our page about newly discovered taxa and new distributional records and 

our publications list

New pages: 

Personal page for our new project manager

Page about devastation by super typhoon Haiyan / Yolanda on Panay

Page about the value of ecosystems for the people and PanayCon´s work for its protection

Page about our PhilinCon secretary and PanayConbookkeeper, Rhea A. Santillan

Page about our veterinary consultant and president of PhilinCon, Dr. Enrique Sanchez

Page about our wildlife rescue work

Page about hornbill conservation

Download option for our fifteenth annual project report (2009)

First canopy observation platform in the Philippines (12 July 2005)



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Panay Eco-Social Conservation Project  -  Conservation Biology Unit, Ruhr-University Bochum
Last amendment: 30 June 2017