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Welcome to Panglao Marine Biodiversity Project 2004 Website!

MARINE SPECIES RICHNESS IN THE CONTEXT OF THE
INDO-PACIFIC BIODIVERSITY GRADIENT

BACKGROUND AND PREPARATIONS
VISITORS UPDATES
GROUP REPORTS AND UPDATES

ARTICLE CONTRIBUTORS:
Mary Rose "Margot" Omega and Ida Rosette Kintanar

MOLLUSCAN NEWS
(Top)

June 6, 2004
NICE ACCIDENT!
This morning one strange and rare gastropod species was accidentally found from samples taken from the yabby pump (see pic) used to collect crustaceans in the intertidal zone. This gastropod ( Phenacolepdidae) looks like a limpet but is dorsally flat with big gills. Not only is it uncommonly red, it is also first to be observed living in an intertidal burrow. There is so far no report of it being collected in Panglao.
-Pierre Lozouet, France-, photographs anything nice and small

A bright green bivalve commonly found in deep waters was found. A Nucinella sp. where few species are known belonging to this genus.
-Anders Warren, Switzerland-

Two gastropods with the same shell body pattern but different protoconchs (or the pointed tip of a shell) were observed. These two specimens may have a great possibility of being separate species because they live close together in the area and may not interbreed.
-Yuri Kantor, Russia-

June 10, 2004
A fascinating bivalve that resembles a nudibranch and one I haven't seen before was something noteworthy for the day...
-Pierre Lozouet, France-

"No! it was mine! it was in my samples..hehehe", teasingly confirms Virginie as she refers to the gastropod speculated to be a new species. This mollusc (see pic) belongs to the Superfamily Cerithioidea and will also be joining the crab of Joelle in the shirt design...
-Virginie Heros, rance-

An interesting specimen of a eulimid Thyca sp., presents the smaller male on honeymoon inside the much bigger female .
-Pierre Lozouet, France-

June 17, 2004

Hand illustration is valuable for taxonomic identification since it refines the presentation and gives the important details that photographs cannot provide. Probably an undescribed species of Skenea, it is here in Panglao that it is first found in the Indo-Pacific region.

Entovalva sp. (Montacutidae), a species found in the gut of a holothurian . Unusual for a bivalve because it has an internal shell. The mantle is used for brooding larvae (trochophore), usually bivalves brood inside the shell. Mantle is bigger than the shell. The byssal gland has little threads to attach itself to the gut. Specialized because they have several micro positionings for example in a specific body part of a host and there would be no competition. -Serge Gofas, Spain-

June 28, 2004

Several species of mollusc settle and easily find a cozy nook in a specific part of a host especially in other invertebrates. We take for example that of a sea cucumber, Holothuria atra, wherein in its cavity these micromolluscs are usually long, and in its tentacles we can find Melanella sp., a very strategic position that they could not be eaten by predator fishes because the host retracts its tentacles thus protecting it. Shells in the body wall are commonly sturdy solid polished shells and more difficult for the bully crabs to pick on them. Other preferred home settlement would be the cloaca, where it has been observed for molluscs to come in pairs. The presence of these micro shells in sea urchins affect the growth of the spine and some even survive inside them thus creating blunt ones.
-Anders Warén, Switzerland-

MOLLUSC ASSOCIATIONS

What this team basically does is to voraciously collect and identify as many existing molluscs and its associated hosts as possible. And the team has hit upon a couple of interesting things ...

June 8, 2004

Some molluscs are commonly associated with soft and hard corals. Incredibly to date, there have been 15 species seen alive for the first time. There’s Rapa rapa which the group has now actually witnessed living in its host coral and have even observed its feeding.
-Marco Oliverio, Italy-

June 13, 2004
NEW... NEW... NEW...
There's a new species record of an ovulid, Dentiovula masaoi living on a gorgonia, Siphonogorgia. This has conclusively confirmed the association of all Deutiovula with its host family Nidaliidae.

A new species of Vermetus, a gastropod that resembles the tube of some serpulid polychaete worms and one that cements itself into or on any hard substratum (coral, rubble etc.) and in this case it was (as it is often) found on a coral Porites.

A new mollusc association between an epitonid gastropod and a particular sea anemone (see pic).
-Stefano Schiaparelli, Itally-

A not so ordinary occurrence was observed today. A Colubraria (gastropod) was seen sucking in blood under a couple of oblivious sleeping parrotfishes. Probably the first time to be noted here in Panglao.
-Marco Oliverio, Italy-

SEA SLUG NEWS (Top)

June 6, 2004
A TWOSOME FIND...
"Sea slugs as they are commonly called is a group of marine animals people find fascinating but know so little about," says Pepe. There are over 5 thousand species in the world and more than 475 species identified in the Philippines, 12 of which are new. Here in Panglao alone, we've collected around 150 species so far… But there may be terrific news as we've found specimens belonging to 2 new genera.

Sea slug 1: Observed for the first time, it has appendages used for walking instead of crawling in the substratum.

Sea Slug 2: Peculiarly with an oral surface looking like an elephant trunk and features both characteristics distinct from two genera. That of Berthella and Tylodina. Gracias!
-Pepe Templado, Spain-

June 10, 2004

Because there are already been around 40 and more unidentified species shouldered by the Opistobranch team, confirmed species updates will perhaps be completed when the sea slug master, Terry Gosliner from the California Academy of Sciences arrives and be joining the project soon.
-Yolanda Camacho, Costa Rica-

June 27, 2004

An amazing number of 120 species of nudibranchs have been discovered that are new records to the Philippines 60 of which are undescribed! It turns out that the opisthobranchs are not that abundant but are found to be very diverse. The astonishing diversity of this group is manifested by the ratio of 370 registered to date in this project to 622 species currently known to the whole Philippines. And the numbers may still be rising, just like the newest finding yesterday of 2 specimens belonging to the order Acochlidiacea. Both of these possibly belong to the genus Acochlidium. Most species in the inventory belong to the order Cephalaspidea.

Apparently, the hotspot for this group of mollusc is Pamilacan Island because it has been observed to be abundant there.
- Manuel Malaquias, U.K.-

CRUSTACEAN NEWS (Top)

June 6, 2004

Here in the project, we are thrilled to obtain samples from other collecting methods ( brushing, hand collecting etc.) besides those samples taken from tangle nets. There are good specimens taken from sponges but not so much from seagrass beds. One odd sample, Pseudomiccipe sp. is a crab with a barnacle endoparasite in its gills…most barnacles of this sort are very much inconspicuous but this one was easy to identify.
-Joelle Lai, Singapore-

June 9, 2004
GUT FEELING…
There's this strange elbow crab (Parthenopidae)…maybe it's a new species…I can feel it in my guts. I will call Swee Hee, who has just finished revising this family of odd crabs, to confirm whether this is something really special.
-Joelle Lai, Singapore-

June 10, 2004
What makes it so exciting is that we are able to discover crustaceans from samples taken from methods we haven't used before like the air lift sampler (it's completely working by the way as updated by Philippe Maestrati).
-Chia Wei Lin, Taiwan-

June 11, 2004
CONFIRMED!
The elbow crab mentioned by Joelle was really a new species (see pic). Swee Hee has confirmed that this crab is an elbow crab (Parthenopidae) and has placed it in the genus Pseudolambrus. This crab is rather odd and atypical of other members in the family because it has shorter arms. This new species strongly resembles a piece of coral rubble and probably serves the crab well as camouflage from its natural predators. But not from the efficient collectors of this expedition! Obtained from a trap placed near the resort, it is hideous (standards vary) but is fortunately chosen as part of the project's official shirt design.
-Tan Swee Hee, Singapore-

June 28, 2004
Hermit crabs are mostly caught from trawling, lumon-lumon or tangle nets. We have found 2 or 3 possible species belonging to the genera Paguristes and Pseudopaguristes.
-Rahayu Dwi Listyu, Indonesia-

July 5, 2004
The last night for most of the crustacean group proved to be nevertheless as exciting as the whole of the expedition. To start the night, the team was taken for a gastronomic sampling to one of the best restaurants in the entire island of Panglao. The feast was opened with a bowl of hot prawn sinigang soup, followed by chicken pork adobo, lechon kawali, crispy pata and the house fisherman’s plate.

Not to lure you away from our real intentions coz carcinologically the night has just begun, we took the trail leading to the in-house cave, the Kambagat cave. This cave is the lair of 5 species of land crabs, including 2 of the endemic land crabs of Bohol - Discoplax gracilepes and Sesamoides boholano, and the Philippine coconut crab Birgus latro, although that night we were unlucky to catch a glimpse of the latter. These crabs were usually abundant and easily caught. They were literally walking all over the site. The two crabs stated above were new records for the expedition. So even on the last night of the team, we still brought in a valuable catch. VIVA LA CRUSTACEA!
-Roxie Diaz, Philippines-

Balicasag is now proven to be the place of crabs since more and more species have been uncovered for the past years. However, this does not imply of its diversity in the area. It was only when lumon-lumon, a traditional fishing technique was introduced as a sampling method for bringing to light undiscovered species of crabs lurking in the depths of the Balicasag reef wall.
-Peter Ng, Singapore-

COLLECTOR'S NEWS (Top)

June 6, 2004

WHEN WE DO SOME BOTTOM SAMPLING
What's remarkable here is we are able to find species at 80m that are usually collected in deeper areas (400m). "The best explanation so far would be the non-presence of a barrier reef," says Bertrand. An interesting find was a mollusc species under the family Coccolinidae, a group not so well known living in sunken woods and a particular large sponge packed with numerous commensal shrimps.
-Bertrand Richer de Forges, New Caledonia-

OH ME? I ALWAYS DIVE...
“You will never fail to find interesting things when diving,” says good ol’ Patrice, the team leader of Panglao 2004 diving group. The group’s routine work is mainly collecting through brushing rubble during the day and hand picking at the same time looking for good areas as a next possible sampling site during the afternoons.
Patrice was asked to compare sites they have dived so far…in Puntod Island, there were a lot of fishes but not so many molluscs. They’re still having difficulty with the vacuum, sometimes it's working sometimes it's not!
- Patrice Petit de Voize, France-

June 8, 2004
The Pamilacan Island dive was nice….soft corals were splendid (see gallery).
-Jacques Dumas, France-

INTERTIDAL NEWS

June 27, 2004
A possible new species of a littoral crab (Gecarcinidae) was found but so far only one specimen has been collected. Callianassids and Axiids, these organisms are being collected using the yabby pump (only on fine sand).
-Marivene Manuel, Philippines-

SUPRISING TO KNOW...

June 23, 2004
About 25 species of mud shrimps belonging to 5 families i.e. Thalassinidae, Callianassidae, Axiidae, Strahlaxiidae, Upogebiidae have been discovered from different habitats. Most common in beaches is Neocallichirus indicus, a second unidentified species of Neocallichirus and two species of Calliax, one of which is new. The large Glypturus armatus can be found in several habitats specifically in seagrass beds, rubble fields and sublittoral sandy to muddy sediments. Sublittoral sediments are inhabited by several species of Callianassa, Calliax and Neocallichirus; Callianassa was found rarely. Mud shrimps which live at least 30 cm deep are characterized by the funnels and mounds that they create from their burrows. In seagrass beds and coral rubble, Neaxius acanthus is seen often in the burrow opening. However some species like Glypturus armatus, although abundant are hard to catch using ordinary traps. It requires special weighted line traps that are deployed and daily checked in the field. Brushing revealed quite a few small specimens of Axiidae living cryptic within coral rubbles. Trawling from deeper muddy bottoms yielded several species of Upogebia and Axiidae.
-Peter Dworschak, Austria-

OTHERS (Top)

LUCKY WEATHER

June 9, 2004
A typhoon is coming and it’s been raining all day…but still the diving group plunged in as always. And as a result, Jacques Dumas stumbled upon a black opistobranch he believed may be a good find. The creature was then turned over to the scrutiny of the Opistobranch team.

June 15, 2004
There's another typhoon coming... 1,270 kms east of the Visayas and a pretty strong one at 150 kph. It has been a gray and windy day.

July 4, 2004
Today is independence day in the USA...
How fast can a snail travel? It depends on what is chasing it...
-Gregory Miller, Australia-

POINTS TO PONDER!
I was not expecting what kind of project im working with right now
, sooner as days goes by, im learning different things, may it be with sea animals and different species new to me, like crustaceans, molluscs, bivalves, opisthobranchs and etc... But somehow, im learning different languages and cultures from 19 countries involved with this project and im thankful to be part of this. To those person's responsible for this project, im really grateful and honored from learning the value of work, responsibility and survival...
-Ryard Paig, Philippines-

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News and Updates
11.06.04 - T-Shirt Design / "No! it was mine! it was in my samples..hehehe", teasingly confirms Virginie as she refers to the gastropod speculated to be a new species. This mollusc (see pic) belongs to the Superfamily Cerithioidea and will also be joining the crab of Joelle in the shirt design... Read More -Virginie Heros, Paris, France-
10.06.04 - A fascinating bivalve / resembles a nudibranch and one I haven't seen before was something noteworthy for the day...
Read More -Pierre Lozouet, Paris, France-
08.06.04 - Mollusc association / Some molluscs are particularly associated with cnidarians (commonly living in soft and hard corals). Incredibly to date, there have been 15 species seen alive for the first time... Read More
- Marco
Oliverio, Italy-
 
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