Dr. Archiebald Malaki, project leader, discusses the project status and accomplishments (Image credit: Eirene Grace C. Zaragoza, Forestry and Environment Research Division (FERD), PCAARRD)
The tiniest snail in the world might be located in the mountains of Argao, Cebu.
This possible discovery is one of the accomplishments of the DOST-funded project, "Flora and Fauna Assessment Using Permanent Biodiversity Monitoring System in Cebu Island Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs)," under the Niche Centers in the Regions for R&D (NICER) program.
Headed by Dr. Archiebald Malaki, the team conducted floral, faunal, and malacofaunal diversity assessment in four KBAs in three selected mountains of Cebu: Mt. Lantoy in Argao; Mt. Lanaya in Malabuyoc; and Mt. Kapayas in Catmon.
As part of the biodiversity assessment, the project team identified over 23 species of land snails. They also collected specimen of eight unidentified species of land snails and 17 unidentified species of micro mollusks. A micro mollusk is a very small invertebrate with a soft, unsegmented body with an external shell. According to Dr. Raamah C. Rosales, project staff, it is possible that the team found the tiniest snail in the world from the unidentified species of micro mollusks.
Northern Temple Pit Viper (left) and Itom-itom (right) (Image credit: CTU-Argao project team)
Aside from possible new species of land snails and micro mollusks, the project team discovered a new island record of the Northern Temple Pit Viper (Tropidolaemus subannulatus) and Itom-itom (Diospyros longiciliata Merr). The team also discovered new foraging adaptation for tube-nosed fruit bat. According to Dr. Malaki, this fruit-eating bat turns out to be a leaf-eating bat as well.
The project is expected to end in December 2020 with four faunal and four floral guidebooks (1 guidebook per KBA), database of flora and fauna in their selected study sites, forest land use plan, trainings on biodiversity/mapping/assessment, and policy reports for LGUs.