The National List of Threatened Terrestrial Fauna of the Philippines, commonly known as the “Red List”, was recently updated to include insects, arachnids and land snails.
This is the first time invertebrates have been assessed and added to the list. They now make up 70% of species listed with 784 different species of cockroaches, beetles, true bugs, wasps, butterflies, moths, dragonflies, damselflies, leaf insects, stick insects, spiders and land snails. The review was led and created by the Philippine Red List Committee (PRLC).
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From a total of nearly 2,000 assessed species there were 1,105 or 55 percent that were found to be threatened. They fell under a total of 4 categories: critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable and other threatened species. Of the 784 invertebrates, 13 of them are considered critically endangered, 3 are endangered, 321 species are vulnerable status, while the remaining are considered other threatened species.
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A couple of the species from the endangered category are the the Antipolo blind cave cockroach (Nocticola caeca) and Simon’s cave cockroach (Nocticola simoni). 5 more cockroach species are also considered vulnerable, reportedly due to being sold as pets or used in Chinese medicine. Meanwhile, spider species are usually threatened by poaching for either pet trade or spider wrestling. Beetles, wasps, and stick insects are similarly illegally traded to collectors.
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Many who fear these species may be heaving a sigh of relief at this news but PRLC chair Juan Carlos Gonzalez, a professor at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, warns against this. “You remove one member of the food chain, that affects another,” Gonzalez explains. “That may be just a moth or a caterpillar, but they are food for certain birds. The birds’ survival may change by just removing them [from the chain].”
What do you think about this?