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New species of weevil named after a family of Gingoog Citizen Scientist

One of the two newly discovered weevil species in the hinterland forests of Gingoog City in Misamis Oriental and Misamis Occidental was named after a citizen scientist from Gingoog City, Melbert James G. Baul, a community nurse of the Department of Health (DOH).

In its published scientific journal, Acta Biologica Universitatis Daugavpiliensis, Volume 22, No. 1 this month said that species belonging to the Metapocyrtus (Dolichocephalocyrtus) malindangensis and Metapocyrtus (Dolichocephalocyrtus) baulorum and are considered to be “novum” or new to science. According to the journal penned by scientists Analyn Cabras, Efrhain Loidge Pajota, Rodrin Rivera and Milton Norman Medina, the “discovery of the numerous novel species throughout the least explored habitats on the different islands of the Philippines, especially in Mindanao Island, just shows that there are still more species of weevils unknown to science that are yet to be discovered.”

“During my elementary and high school years, my favorite subject was Science that is why I took up Nursing because it’s more of Science and Biology. When I got hired as a Community Health Nurse of the DOH last 2017, this allowed me to explore my hobby in wildlife photography further,” Baul said. Baul added that it has been his passion to take pictures of flora and fauna in the forests.

In 2021 Baul captured a photo of a weevil somewhere in Gingoog City, which he then posted on social media to get help from experts in identifying the species. Since then, he has often posted different photos of flora and fauna on Facebook with the aim to get the experts to identify them.

The new species was discovered by Baul together with his sibling, Buddy Baul, and the scientists Analyn Cabras and Milton Norman Medina who further conducted the study. Both scientists represent the Coleoptera Research Center University of Mindanao.

Photo by Melbert Baul

Figure 1. Metapocyrtus (Dolichocephalocyrtus) baulorum sp. nov. – A–C, Holotype male; A. dorsal view, B. lateral view, C rostrum (dorsal view). D–F, Paratype female; D. dorsal view, E. lateral view, and F. rostrum (dorsal view).

Photo by Melbert Baul

Figure 2. Species of plants associated with Metapocyrtus (Dolichocephalocyrtus) baulorum sp. nov.: A– Philippine oak tree, Lithocarpus sulithi (Soepadmo 1970); B– leaves of a Philippine oak tree with visible chew marks; C– M. (D.) baulorum sp. nov. perching on its natural habitat.

In recognition of Baul, who first discovered the weevil, the team of Dr. Cabras decided to name the species after him in grateful recognition of his passion for science. “My passion for wildlife is for me to discover and know the wildlife around us as much as for the public also to be aware of this wildlife such that it will encourage us more to protect and conserve our environment, which is not only our home but home to a lot of wildlife out there,” Baul candidly said.

Currently, Baul is still into his hobby and hoping to discover more amazing things in wildlife.

Photo by Melbert Baul

“Our planet has fed us, given us a habitat, and provided for our every need, but we have not treated it the way it has treated us. Sometimes we forget Mother Nature doesn't need us the way we need her.

It is time to prove that we are worthy caretakers of this beautiful planet, and I think our youth have the force to lead this change. We as youth may not hold all the power or money in the world, but we have something more valuable in my opinion, and that is Passion.” - Melbert James G. Baul in one of his explorations in the wildlife.


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