A new species of web spinner (Embioptera) was recently discovered from foothills of Mt. Makiling and is named Aposthonia merdelynae. The species was named after Dr. Merdelyn Cassi-Lit, wife of the former MNH Director Dr. Ireneo L. Lit, Jr, for “her contributions to the knowledge of insect-plant interactions”.
Embioptera are small insects with silk glands in their front legs for creating silken galleries where they live in. “In Mt. Makiling, they are commonly found nesting on bark trees”, Lucanas described. A. merdelynae is the third member of the genus that is native to the Philippines.
“The species was named after Dr. Caasi-Lit for her unwavering support to budding taxonomists and whole-hearted commitment to train young entomologists”, said Lucanas. Dr. Cassi-Lit is a University Researcher II at the UPLB Institute of Plant Breeding and is a Scientist I under the DOST Scientific Career System. She was selected by the Philippine National Academy of Science and Technology as one of the country’s Outstanding Young Scientists in 1999 for her contribution on entomology and plant-insect interactions.
“The release of this publication is very timely as she celebrates her birthday on 29 April”, Lucanas added.
Three other species have been recorded in Mt. Makiling, namely, Aposthonia borneensis, Oligotoma humbertiana and O. saundersii. The article is published in the journal Zootaxa (DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4415.1.9).