Known for having the largest mossy-pygmy forest in the country, Mt. Hamiguitan in Davao Oriental is recently lauded for its remarkable ant diversity. Officially named Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary, the mountain as been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014.

MNH researcher David Emmanuel General and his colleague Mr. Perry Archival Buenavente from the Philippine National Museum recently published an updated checklist of ants found in Mt. Hamiguitan. This includes 13 species that are newly recorded in the Philippines. The researchers collected a total of 1,677 ants belonging to 51 genera and 8 subfamilies. Since this was the researchers' first systematic transect study of the locality, most of these records represent the first records for Mt. Hamiguitan.

Despite being limited to the western and southern slopes of the mountain, their surveys documented 122 species of ants including several potentially new species and a number of invasive alien species.

“This number is relatively lower compared to other areas that we have surveyed so far. Mt. Isarog has 185 species accumulated from 2 years of persistent surveys”, General in an interview. General is optimistic that more surveys in Mt. Hamiguitan will yield more species and potential new ones.

An undescribed species that belong to the genus Strumigenys was also collected from leaf litter. “It has an odd patch of secretory tissue that is shared only with only one other species,” General said. He also added that more species are highly likely to be discovered as more areas in the park is surveyed. They are expecting at least 20 species that will be added to the current list.

Their paper is available in the journal Halteres


 


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