Overview

Distribution

Range Description

This species is endemic to the Philippines, where it is found in the Palawan faunal region. It is known from mainland Palawan and adjacent islands; Busuanga Island (including the municipalities of Calauit and Coron), Coron Island, Culion Island (Heaney et al. 1998), and Dumaran Island (Widmann et al. 2004). It has also been introduced to Apulit Island (Schlitter 2005) while recent interview surveys by Schoppe in 2013 (unpublished) suggest it also occurs on Balabac Island (S. Schoppe pers. comms. 2013). It is considered to be more abundant in the northern and central parts of Palawan Island and much rarer in the south (Schoppe and Cruz 2009). This species was described as uncommon by Heaney et al. (1998) and though local informants considered it fairly common, as reported by Esselstyn in 2004, it is subject to heavy hunting. It is found in primary and secondary lowland forest (Allen 1910, Hoogstraal 1951, Sanborn 1952, Taylor 1934, Heaney et al. 1998), lowland grassland/forest mosaic (Esselstyn et al. 2004), including near human habitation, providing there is suitable vegetative cover i.e. abundant trees and logs (Schoppe and Cruz 2009).


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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, Heaney et al. 1998). The upper elevational limit recorded by Lagrada (2012) is 2,015 m asl. As with other pangolins, this species feeds on termites and ants. An affinity of the Philippine Pangolin to fig trees (Ficus spp.) has been reported, probably because these trees provide tree hollows and attract ants, primary prey species (Schoppe and Cruz 2009).

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
EN
Endangered

Red List Criteria
A2d+3d+4d

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2014

Assessor/s
Lagrada, L., Schoppe, S. & Challender, D.

Reviewer/s
Duckworth, J.W.

Contributor/s
Martelli, P., Martelli, K., Khan, S. & Oi Ching, O.

Justification
This species is listed as Endangered A2d+3d+4d due to suspected populations declines of >50% over a period of 21 years (three generations, generation length estimated at seven years), based on potential levels of exploitation for trade, including national and international trade, and which is exacerbated by subsistence hunting and habitat loss and alteration. However, further research is required into the population status of this species and its 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 populations of any species of Asian Pangolin. This species is infrequently observed due, partly to its increasing rarity, but also because of its elusive, solitary and nocturnal habits, and there is a lack of research on population densities or abundance (WCMC et al. 1999, CITES 2000, Hoogstraal 1951, Esselstyn et al. 2004). It is suspected it is more common in northern and central Palawan and relatively rare in the south (Schoppe and Cruz 2009). According to local hunters, populations are declining as a result of hunting both for subsistence use, and increasingly international trade, and which is exacerbated by habitat loss (S. Schoppe pers comms. 2012, Lagrada 2012).

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
This species is threatened by local hunting for its meat, scales and skin, the latter being used to treat asthma (Esselstyn et al. 2004), and international trade, which involves meat, scales, skins and whole animals (Schoppe and Cruz 2009, Challender et al. in prep). Deforestation and loss of suitable habitat also pose an additional threat. There is evidence that this species can be found for sale in Puerto Princesa, and reports that it is hunted on Palawan, for example, in logged lowland forest in Taytay (Esselstyn et al. 2004). Esselstyn et al. (2004) report it was described by locals as fairly common in c. 2004, though subject to moderately heavy hunting pressure, while Heaney et al. (1998) reported in the late 1990s that it was subject to heavy hunting pressure. It is reported as rare in Southern Palawan, namely Rizal, Quezon and Bataraza (Schoppe and Cruz 2009), Brookes Point (Lagrada 2012), and Balabac (Schoppe unpubl. data).

The scales are also presumably in trade for Traditional Chinese Medicine, as part of the shift to market economies among the Tagbanua and other ethnic groups on Palawan (Lacerna and Widmann 1999, Esselstyn et al. 2004). Evidence from the last seven years also demonstrates there is a tangible illicit international trade involving Manis culionensis, the full extent of which is unknown (Cruz et al. 2007, Schoppe and Cruz 2009, Pantel and Anak 2010, Challender et al. in prep). However, catch per unit effort has decreased based on hunters from Brookes Point (Lagrada 2012), but an increase in the number of confiscations and number of confiscated animals from 1999 to 2012 indicate either an increase in demand and/or trade or improved law enforcement (KFI, 2013). Between 1999 and 2009 only 47 animals were seized according to KFI (2013), but between 2010 and 2012, confiscations involved 369 animals. Currently scales are sold at USD250 (PHP10,000) per kilogram and meat at USD15/kg (PHP600.00). An increase in price and a shift from meat/live to scales was noticeable from 2006-2013 (Schoppe unpubl. data).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species is listed in CITES Appendix II and zero export quotas for wild-caught animals traded for primarily commercial purposes were established in 2000 (CoP11). It is classified as 'Endangered' under the Philippine Wildlife Act 9147 (2001), which bans the collection of any form of wildlife in the Province of Palawan without a permit. The entirety of this province was declared a game refuge and bird sanctuary in 1969 (Proclamations 219 and 530-B). However, further research is needed into populations of this species and the magnitude and types of threats it faces.
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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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