Overview

Distribution

Range Description

This species is endemic to the Philippines, where it is found in the Palawan faunal region. The species is known from mainland Palawan and adjacent islands (Busuanga, Culion and Calauit), and has also been introduced to Apulit Island (Heaney et al. 1998; Schlitter 2005).
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Geographic Range

Philippine pangolins, Manis culionensis, are endemic to four Phillippine islands: Palawan, Busuanga, Culion, and Calauit. They have also been introduced to the island of Apulit.

Biogeographic Regions: oriental (Introduced , Native )

Other Geographic Terms: island endemic

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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Philippine pangolins, like all pangolins, are arboreal and terrestrial quadrupeds. Resembling armored anteaters, they have an elongated snout, a round body, and a long, prehensile tail. Their body is covered with pointed, overlapping scales that are dark in color and made of keratin. However, their nose, eyes, and underbelly are not armored in this way. They also possess large, sharp claws on their forelimbs and a long, thin tongue coated with adhesive saliva. Infant pangolins have scales that are soft and light in color that harden as they mature. Philippine pangolins on average weigh 1.8 to 2.4 kg and measure 58 to 176 cm in length.

Philippine pangolins are similar in appearance to other Javanese pangolins, but they can be distinguished in the field. Philippine pangolins have 19 to 21 lateral scale rows on their back, which are generally smaller in size than those of Javanese pangolins. The tail of Philippine pangolins is almost equal in length to the combined length of its head and body, whereas the tail of Javanese pangolins is generally two thirds to three fourths the length of its combined head and body length. The palatine bone of Philippine pangolins is relatively small and weak, and they have a shorter zygomatic process. The nuchal scale pattern is also different in these species; nuchal scales are centered along the neck of Philippine pangolins and are off to one side on Javanese pangolins.

Range mass: 1.8 to 2.4 kg.

Range length: 58 to 176 cm.

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike

  • 2005. Assessing the Taxonomic Status of the Palawan Pangolin Manis Culionensis (Philodota) Using Discrete Morphological Characters. Journal of Mammalogy, 86/6: 1068-1074.
  • Zoological Society of San Diego. 2010. "San Diego Zoo's Animal Bytes" (On-line). SanDiegoZoo.org. Accessed November 09, 2010 at http://www.sandiegozoo.org/animalbytes/t-pangolin.html.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species is found in lowland primary and secondary forests, grassland/secondary growth mosaics, mixed mosaics of agricultural lands, and scrubland adjacent to secondary forests (Esselstyn et al. 2004). The upper elevational limit is not known. As with other pangolins, this species feeds on termites and ants.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Philippine pangolins are found in lowland forests, grasslands, agricultural areas, and mosaics thereof. Habitat destruction has also forced them into more developed areas. Because of the solitary, reclusive nature of pangolins as well as limited research on this species, little is known about the preferred habitat of Philippine pangolins.

Habitat Regions: tropical ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland ; forest ; scrub forest

Other Habitat Features: agricultural

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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

Philippine pangolins, like all pangolins are insectivorous, feeding solely on ants and termites. Their anatomy is highly specialized for this task: their large front claws help with breaking open termite mounds and anthills, and their extremely long tongues, which are not anchored to the hyoid bone, are coated with an adhesive saliva by glands in the abdomen. These traits, which are convergent with similar features in anteaters, make them adept insectivores. However, they lack teeth and the ability to chew.

Animal Foods: insects

Primary Diet: carnivore (Insectivore )

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Associations

Ecosystem Roles

Philippine pangolins prey on ants and termites and are preyed upon by pythons and humans. They may help control populations of insects.

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Predation

The keratinous scales of Philippine pangolins protect them from harm. When threatened, pangolins roll into a ball, exposing only their armored surfaces and the sharp points of their scales. They can also emit a noxious chemical to repel predators. Their only known natural predator are Asiatic reticulated pythons. They are also hunted by humans.

Known Predators:

  • Asiatic reticulated python, Python reticulatus
  • humans Homo sapiens

Anti-predator Adaptations: aposematic

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Communication and Perception

Philippine pangolins use their sense of smell to locate termite mounds and other insect colonies on which they feed. Although the mechanisms of attracting mates are unknown, their highly developed olfactory glands likely contribute to the process. They can also emit a noxious chemical to repel predators.

Communication Channels: chemical

Other Communication Modes: pheromones

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Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

Because Philippine pangolins are not kept in captivity and little research has been performed on wild individuals of this species, little is known regarding their longevity. Some species of pangolins can live up to 20 years.

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Reproduction

Little is known regarding the mating behaviors of Philippine pangolins. Most pangolins mate seasonally. Although it is not known how Philippine pangolins attract a mate, their highly developed olfactory glands likely play a part in mating.

Little information is available regarding the reproductive cycle of Philippine pangolins. Most pangolins breed in the spring and have an average gestation of 120 days. Most pangolin species wean their young at around 4 months, and individuals are independent at around 5 months. Pangolins, on average, have 1 to 3 offspring each season.

Breeding interval: Philippine pangolins breed annually.

Breeding season: Mating usually occurs in the spring.

Range number of offspring: 1 to 3.

Average number of offspring: 1.

Average gestation period: 18 weeks.

Average weaning age: 4 months.

Average time to independence: 5 months.

Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)

Like most arboreal pangolins, Philippine pangolins carry their offspring on their tail and can roll into a ball with its infant in the center if threatened. As with all mammals, young pangolins nurse from their mothers until they are weaned.

Parental Investment: altricial ; female parental care ; pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female)

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
NT
Near Threatened

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Batin, G. & Widmann, P.

Reviewer/s
Stuart, S.N. & Hoffmann, M. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
The species is assessed as Near Threatened as it is close to meeting criteria A3cd for Vulnerable due to a projected population decline approaching 30% over ten years based on habitat destruction and hunting. Further research is required on the population status of this species and also on the current major threats.
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Hunting and habitat destruction are the chief causes of population decline of Philippine pangolins. Deforestation in the Philippine islands has led to a smaller range, especially in the lowland forests. However, assessing the true population size of Philippine pangolins is difficult given their nocturnal and solitary nature. Philippine pangolins, like many Asian pangolins, are hunted for their meat. Their skin and scales are used as a treatment for asthma and as a reagent in traditional East Asian medicine. This species is protected in the province of Palawan, and government agencies across Asia are enforcing restriction of the trade of pangolin and their scales. Philippine pangolins are listed as near threatened by the IUCN and in Appendix II by CITES.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: appendix ii

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: near threatened

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Population

Population
There is very little information available on the population of any species of Asian pangolins. This species is rarely observed due to its secretive, solitary, and nocturnal habits, and there is not enough research on population densities or global population (WCMC et al. 1999; CITES 2000). The species is suspected to be moderately common across its range, with sometimes localized distribution, although it is not often sighted (Hoogstraal, 1951; Esselstyn et al. 2004). According to local hunters, the species population is in decline (Batin pers. comm. 2006).

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
The species is affected by deforestation and it is also hunted for its skin/scales, which are used to treat asthma, and for its meat (Esselstyn et al. 2004). There are reports that the species has been seen for sale in Puerto Princesa, as well as reports that the it is hunted in places on Palawan such as Taytay, in logged lowland forest (Esselstyn et al. 2004). The species is described by locals as fairly common, but under moderate hunting pressure (Esselstyn et al. 2004). The scales are also presumably in the Chinese medicine trade, as part of the shift to market economies among Tagbanua and other ethnic groups on Palawan (Lacerna and Widmann 1999; Esselstyn et al. 2004).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
The species is listed (under Manis javanicus) on CITES Appendix II. This species is protected under a ban on the collection of any form of wildlife in the Province of Palawan, the entire province having been declared a game refuge and bird sanctuary in 1969 (Proclamations 219 and 530-B) (CITES 2000). There is further research needed into population size and trends, as well as the magnitude and types of threats to this species. There is currently no evidence of international trade in this species, but in the future this should be tightly monitored given the declines of other Asian pangolins.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no known adverse effects of Philippine pangolins on humans.

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

The meat of pangolins is prized as a delicacy in Asia, particularly in China. The scales of Philippine pangolins are used as a reagent in traditional East Asian medicine and have been used to treat asthma. Many individuals in the Philippines trap and sell pangolins, and the demand for pangolin meat and scales is increasing.

Positive Impacts: food ; body parts are source of valuable material; source of medicine or drug

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Wikipedia

Philippine pangolin

The Philippine pangolin or Palawan pangolin, also known as the malintong (Manis culionensis), is a pangolin species endemic to the Palawan province of the Philippines. Like all pangolins, the Philippine pangolin is a mammal. Its habitat includes primary and secondary forests, as well as surrounding grasslands. This species is moderately common within its limited range, but is at risk due to heavy hunting, because of its valued scales and meat.[2] This species can be set apart from the very closely related Sunda pangolin by its smaller body to tail ratio. Compared to the Sunda pangolin, the Philippine pangolin has smaller scales and a shorter head.[3]

Taxonomy[edit]

The species was first described by Casto de Elera in 1915; it was also mentioned by de Elera in an 1895 work.[4][5] In the past, this species has been included with the Sunda pangolin, Manis javanica, but has been considered a distinct species since 1998.[6] Five distinct morphological characteristics involving the skull and the scales have been identified which separate it from the closely related M. javanica. Both M. javanica and M. culionensis are grouped in subgenus Paramanis.[7] Genetic isolation leading to the speciation between these species is hypothesized to have been caused by rising sea levels severing a land bridge from Borneo in the Early Pleistocene.[8]

Diet[edit]

The Philippine pangolin has a diet manly of ants and termites. It uses its long tongue with a coating of adhesive saliva, that sticks the ants then pulls them into the mouth for consumption. They forage for their food with their long snouts for insects. They have no teeth to grind the insects, so they consume sand and small stones to help crush their meal.[9]

Behavior[edit]

The Philippine pangolin is nocturnal and reclusive. They tend to be solitary creatures and don't travel in packs. While some of their time is spent on the ground foraging, Philippine pangolins tend to stay in trees. Like all pangolins, when threatened Philippine pangolins roll into a ball and are protected by their scales

Reproduction[edit]

While not everything is know about the reproduction of the Philippine pangolin, it is theorized that their mating habits and how they attract mates, are similar to that of the Sunda pangolin. Like almost all pangolins, Philippine pangolins, they mate in the spring. The gestation of a Philippine pangolin is close to 18 weeks. After the pangolin is born, it is weaned, or fed milk by the mother, usually around four months after birth.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lagrada, L., Schoppe, S. & Challender, D. (2014). "Manis culionensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2014-07-29. 
  2. ^ Manis culionensis in A synopsis of the mammilian fauna of the Philippine Islands. The Field Museum.
  3. ^ "Philippine Pangolin"
  4. ^ Schlitter, D. A. (2005). "Order Pholidota". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 530. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  5. ^ Catálogo sistemático de toda la fauna de Filipinas: conocida hasta el presente, y á la vez el de la colección zoológica del Museo de PP. Dominicos del Colegio-universidad de Sto. Tomás de Manila, escrito con motivo de la Exposición Regional Filipina Imprenta del Colegio de Santo Tomás, 1895
  6. ^ ITIS Standard Report for Manis culionensis Taxonomic Serial No.: 727709
  7. ^ Paramanis in Wilson and Reeder's Mammal Species of the world: 3rd Edition
  8. ^ ASSESSING THE TAXONOMIC STATUS OF THE PALAWAN PANGOLIN MANIS CULIONENSIS (PHOLIDOTA) USING DISCRETE MORPHOLOGICAL CHARACTERS P. Gaubert and A. Antunes. Journal of Mammalogy Volume 86, Issue 6 (December 2005) Article: pp. 1068–1074
  9. ^ http://www.theanimalfiles.com/mammals/pangolins/philippine_pangolin.html
  10. ^ Helmsworth, A. 2011. "Manis culionensis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed May 16, 2014 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Manis_culionensis/
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