In Ifugao, two new water scavenger beetle species were discovered during the pandemic. Ateneo de Manila BS Biology major Enrico Gerard Sanchez, his thesis adviser Dr. Emmanuel Delocado, and co-adviser Prof. Dr. Hendrik Freitag successfully classified and named two new beetles: Anacaena angatbuhay and Anacaena auxilium.
The first species was named after former vice president Leni Robredo’s anti-poverty Angat Buhay program. According to the authors, the naming decision is “a nod to the countless Filipinos working for and with far-flung communities whose efforts were not widely recognized.”
The second species, Anacaena auxilium, was named after the high school Sanchez attended in Pangasinan. According to the published paper, the name is also said to call attention to “the need to pay attention to the vulnerable state of freshwater biodiversity in the Southeast Asian region.”
The feat of discovering a new species is already laudable. But what makes it even more impressive is that the study was conducted using an at-home lab setup during the pandemic. Sanchez used a home lab microscope in order to dissect and sort the beetles at home.
To get samples and other materials back and forth, the team used courier services during the more severe parts of lockdown. Consultations and walkthroughs with his thesis advisers were also carried out via online conferencing. More suitable equipment was used to document the specimens when pandemic restrictions were eased.
The study was published in an international scientific journal, which you can read here.