Dr. Analyn A. Cabras
PhD in Biology major in Systematics – Central Mindanao University, Philippines
Director, Coleoptera Research Center, University of Mindanao, Philippines
Co-founder, Philippine Coleopterological Network
Pachyrhynchini Systematics; Metapocyrtus Heller; Philippines Coleoptera
My passion for the natural world started very early on as I spent my younger days catching bugs, observing the clouds, climbing trees, and swimming in the pristine rivers in the province of the Philippines. Fast forward more than two decades later, I started my Ph.D. working on Philippine beetles. Although my initial research interest was not on beetles, I was drawn by the taxon not by its beauty and diversity but because of the lack of existing references on Philippine beetles. When I started my work, most literature was very old, and often in a foreign language like German and Spanish. I also had no access to type specimens as our national museum was destroyed during World War II along with the types. Working on beetles was like an uphill battle, but I was very fortunate to have been mentored by colleagues from the Philippines (Dr. Milton Norman Medina and Dr. Reagan Joseph Villanueva) as well as several international coleopterists: Dr. Matthew Van Dam (USA), Dr. Arvids Barsevskis (Latvia), Dr. Hiraku Yoshitake (Japan), Dr. Maurizio Bollino (Italy), Dr. Jurgen Weisner (Germany) among others. As my work on beetles progressed, I realized the importance of my work with the grave threat that our beetles face due to habitat loss, and various anthropogenic activities. What started as a Ph.D. research became a life vocation. Together with my team, we are hoping to establish the golden era of Philippine beetle research in the country, provide the next generation with good literature and reference collection, and train more Filipino coleopterists.
Currently, I am working on the tribe Pachyrhynchini Schönherr, 1826 discovering new taxa and at the same time understanding their evolutionary relationships, especially on the topic of mimicry. To date, I have already discovered 40 new taxa of beetles of which 29 are weevils, and published roughly 50 publications. I am also working to solve the chaotic subgeneric classification and species delineation of the genus Metapocyrtus Heller, 1912 by combining morphology, molecular data, and biogeographic history, which can contribute greatly to understanding their diversification process. My future plans include expanding my work to other weevil groups and providing reliable literature for Philippine weevils, describing more new species, providing high-definition digital images as a reference for young Filipino workers, and helping shape policies for the conservation of these weevils’ habitats. You may check my works in https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Analyn-Cabras, and read more of my story in https://media.nationalgeographic.org/assets/explorermag/trailblazer/2020-12/projectable/0121_TR.pdf.
Metapocyrtus (Orthocyrtus) hirakui