A new species of leaf insect has been formally described by Dr. Ireneo L. Lit, Jr. and Mr. Orlando L. Eusebio who are members of the UPLB Museum of Natural History Entomology Section. Dr. Lit is also a Professor at the Institute of Biological Sciences in the University of the Philippines Los Banos.

According to Lit and Eusebio, the new species Phyllium bonifacioi is the latest addition to the genus Phyllium, one of the four genera of the family Phylliidae. As of 2009, there are only nine species of Phyllium in the Philippines and Lit and Eusebio's recent description now brings the total to ten.

In an article published in the Germany-based journal ARTHROPODA Generalis last December 19, 2014, Lit and Eusebio wrote that the new species looks very similar to another member of the genus, P. ericoriai.

"Both species have well-developed alae, enlarged angular exterior of fore femora, 9-segmented antennae and parallel lateral margins of V and VI abdominal segments," Lit expounded. 

However, the authors said that the new species differ from P. ericoriai and the other Phyllium species by having the VII abdominal lateral margins with indistinctlobe and posteriorly converging.

P. bonifacioi was collected during an expedition in Northern Luzon in the Philippines by a team jointly led by Dr. Rafe M. Brown of University of Kansas, USA and Dr. Arvin C. Diesmos of the National Museum of the Philippines.

"They chanced upon an adult female specimen during one of their collection trips and donated it to the Museum in 2011," Lit relayed.

"With the able assistance of Mr. Roseller B. Duque, MNH’s all-around technician, we then were able to rear it in the laboratory and have it lay eggs to produce nine offsprings to add to the collection and for more research," he added.

The new species bears the name of Filipino revolutionary hero Andres Bonifacio. It was originally dedicated in commemoration of the hero's 150th birth anniversary on November 30, 2013.

For more technical information on Phyllium bonifacioi Lit & Eusebio, n. sp., download the article: http://sungaya-verlag.de/ARTHROPODA.Generalis.5.pdf

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